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1991 NFL season

Updated: 2017-08-04T08:06Z
1991 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 1 – December 23, 1991
Start dateDecember 28, 1991
AFC ChampionsBuffalo Bills
NFC ChampionsWashington Redskins
Super Bowl XXVI
DateJanuary 26, 1992
SiteMetrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota
ChampionsWashington Redskins
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 2, 1992
SiteAloha Stadium

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.

Uniform changes

  • 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.

AFC East
(1) Buffalo Bills133.813458318
(6) New York Jets88.500314293
Miami Dolphins88.500343349
New England Patriots610.375211305
Indianapolis Colts115.063143381
AFC Central
(3) Houston Oilers115.688386251
Pittsburgh Steelers79.438292344
Cleveland Browns610.375293298
Cincinnati Bengals313.188263435
AFC West
(2) Denver Broncos124.750304235
(4) Kansas City Chiefs106.625322252
(5) Los Angeles Raiders97.563298297
Seattle Seahawks79.438276261
San Diego Chargers412.250274342
NFC East
(1) Washington Redskins142.875485224
(5) Dallas Cowboys115.688342310
Philadelphia Eagles106.625285244
New York Giants88.500281297
Phoenix Cardinals412.250196344
NFC Central
(2) Detroit Lions124.750339295
(4) Chicago Bears115.688299269
Minnesota Vikings88.500301306
Green Bay Packers412.250273313
Tampa Bay Buccaneers313.188199365
NFC West
(3) New Orleans Saints115.688341211
(6) Atlanta Falcons106.625361338
San Francisco 49ers106.625393239
Los Angeles Rams313.188234390


  • 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     
 6 NY Jets 10
 3 Houston 24
 3 Houston 17  Jan. 12 – Rich Stadium
 2 Denver 26 
Dec. 28 – Arrowhead Stadium 2 Denver 7
Jan. 5 – Rich Stadium
  1 Buffalo 10 
 5 LA Raiders 6AFC Championship
 4 Kansas City 14
 4 Kansas City 10 Jan. 26 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
 1 Buffalo 37 
Wild card playoffs 
Divisional playoffs
Dec. 29 – Soldier Field A1 Buffalo 24
Jan. 5 – Pontiac Silverdome
  N1 Washington 37
 5 Dallas 17Super Bowl XXVI
 5 Dallas 6
 4 Chicago 13  Jan. 12 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
 2 Detroit 38 
Dec. 28 – Louisiana Superdome 2 Detroit 10
Jan. 4 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium
  1 Washington 41 
 6 Atlanta 27NFC Championship
 6 Atlanta 7
 3 New Orleans 20 
 1 Washington 24 


Most Valuable PlayerThurman Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo
Coach of the YearWayne Fontes, Detroit
Offensive Player of the YearThurman Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo
Defensive Player of the YearPat Swilling, Linebacker, New Orleans
Offensive Rookie of the YearLeonard Russell, Running Back, New England
Defensive Rookie of the YearMike Croel, Linebacker, Denver

External links


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