1991 NFL season

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1991 National Football League season
Regular 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
Champions Washington Redskins
Pro Bowl
Date February 2, 1992
Site Aloha 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 consecutive 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


  • 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  6 AFC 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  17 Super 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  27 NFC Championship
 6  Atlanta  7
 3  New Orleans  20  
 1  Washington  24  

Coaching changes



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, Cincinnati
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.


American Football Conference

National Football Conference

External links

  • Football Outsiders: DVOA 1991


  • NFL Record and Fact Book ( ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • NFL History 1991–2000
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League ( ISBN 0-06-270174-6)
  • 1991 NFL season at Pro Football Reference
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