1991 NFL season
The 1991 NFL season was the 72nd regular season of the National Football League. 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.
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.
- 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).
|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|