1991 NFL season
|Duration||September 1 – December 23, 1991|
|Start date||December 28, 1991|
|AFC Champions||Buffalo Bills|
|NFC Champions||Washington Redskins|
|Super Bowl XXVI|
|Date||January 26, 1992|
|Site||Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Date||February 2, 1992|
The 1991 NFL season was the 72nd regular season of the National Football League. It was the final season for legendary coach Chuck Noll. The season ended with Super Bowl XXVI when the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24 at the Metrodome in Minnesota. This was the second of four Super Bowl losses for Buffalo.
Major rule changes
- Source: Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6). pp 1583–1592.
- The definition of a drop kick, field goal, and punt is modified: all three can only be attempted from behind the line of scrimmage.
- If a foul by a player causes an injury to an opponent, a team time out will not be charged to the penalized team anytime during the game instead of only during the last two minutes of a half.
- The game clock will not start until the next snap following any change of possession, even if the player went out of bounds.
- Officials will immediately blow the play dead when a defensive player is offsides before the snap and clearly rushes beyond the offensive line in such a way that he becomes an unabated threat to the quarterback.
- A touchback will be ruled when a player fumbles the ball in the field of play and it goes out of bounds in the opponent's end zone.
- A touchback, not a safety, will also be ruled when a player fumbles the ball in his own end zone and the opponent is the one that knocks the fumble out of bounds in the end zone.
- An offensive player cannot deliberately bat a backward pass forward.
- The NFL shield was added to the yoke of the jerseys and the left thigh of the pants. The NFL shield was also added to the right breast of the officiating uniforms.
Final regular season standings
W = Wins, L = Losses, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green. No ties occurred this season.
|(1) Buffalo Bills||13||3||.813||458||318|
|(6) New York Jets||8||8||.500||314||293|
|New England Patriots||6||10||.375||211||305|
|(3) Houston Oilers||11||5||.688||386||251|
|(2) Denver Broncos||12||4||.750||304||235|
|(4) Kansas City Chiefs||10||6||.625||322||252|
|(5) Los Angeles Raiders||9||7||.563||298||297|
|San Diego Chargers||4||12||.250||274||342|
|(1) Washington Redskins||14||2||.875||485||224|
|(5) Dallas Cowboys||11||5||.688||342||310|
|New York Giants||8||8||.500||281||297|
|(2) Detroit Lions||12||4||.750||339||295|
|(4) Chicago Bears||11||5||.688||299||269|
|Green Bay Packers||4||12||.250||273||313|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||3||13||.188||199||365|
|(3) New Orleans Saints||11||5||.688||341||211|
|(6) Atlanta Falcons||10||6||.625||361||338|
|San Francisco 49ers||10||6||.625||393||239|
|Los Angeles Rams||3||13||.188||234||390|
- N.Y. Jets finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Chicago was the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record than Dallas (9–3 to Cowboys' 8–4).
- Atlanta finished ahead of San Francisco in the NFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0), and was the third NFC Wild Card ahead of Philadelphia based on better conference record (7–5 to Eagles' 6–6).
|Dec. 29 – Astrodome||Jan. 4 – Mile High Stadium|
|3||Houston||17||Jan. 12 – Rich Stadium|
|Dec. 28 – Arrowhead Stadium||2||Denver||7|
|Jan. 5 – Rich Stadium|
|5||LA Raiders||6||AFC Championship|
|4||Kansas City||10||Jan. 26 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome|
|Wild card playoffs|
|Dec. 29 – Soldier Field||A1||Buffalo||24|
|Jan. 5 – Pontiac Silverdome|
|5||Dallas||17||Super Bowl XXVI|
|4||Chicago||13||Jan. 12 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium|
|Dec. 28 – Louisiana Superdome||2||Detroit||10|
|Jan. 4 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium|
- Cleveland Browns: Bill Belichick was named the permanent replacement, after Bud Carson was fired after the first nine games of 1990, and Jim Shofner served as interim for the final seven games.
- New England Patriots: Dick MacPherson replaced the fired Rod Rust.
- New York Giants: Bill Parcells resigned following the team's Super Bowl XXV victory, and was replaced by Ray Handley.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Rich Kotite was hired after the team opted to not renew Buddy Ryan's contract.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Richard Williamson became the permanent head coach, after serving as interim for the final three games of 1990 following the firing of Ray Perkins.
- Indianapolis Colts: Ron Meyer was fired after five games, and Rick Venturi then served as interim for the final 11 games.
|Most Valuable Player||Thurman Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo|
|Coach of the Year||Wayne Fontes, Detroit|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Thurman Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Pat Swilling, Linebacker, New Orleans|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Leonard Russell, Running Back, New England|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Mike Croel, Linebacker, Denver|
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year||Jim McMahon, Quarterback, Philadelphia|
|NFL Man of the Year||Anthony Munoz, Offensive Tackle, Cincinatti|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Mark Rypien, Quarterback, Washington|
The 1991 NFL Draft was held from April 21 to 22, 1991 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Dallas Cowboys selected defensive tackle Russell Maryland from the University of Miami.