2003 NFL season

2003 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 4 – December 28, 2003
Start date January 3, 2004
AFC Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions Carolina Panthers
Super Bowl XXXVIII
Date February 1, 2004
Site Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
Champions New England Patriots
Pro Bowl
Date February 8, 2004
Site Aloha Stadium

The 2003 NFL season was the 84th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).

The Philadelphia Eagles opened Lincoln Financial Field.

Regular season play was held from September 4, 2003 to December 28, 2003. Due to damage caused by the Cedar Fire, Qualcomm Stadium was used as an emergency shelter, and thus the Miami DolphinsSan Diego Chargers regular season match on October 27 was instead played at Sun Devil Stadium, the home field of the Arizona Cardinals.

The playoffs began on January 3, 2004. The NFL title was eventually won by the New England Patriots when they narrowly defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas on February 1.

Major rule changes

"NFL Kickoff" event on September 4, 2003: Joe Theismann (L) and Joe Namath (R) at a military tribute

Coaching changes

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 year.

AFC East
(1) New England Patriots 142.875348238
Miami Dolphins 106.625311261
Buffalo Bills [c] 610.375243279
New York Jets 610.375283299
AFC North
(4) Baltimore Ravens 106.625391281
Cincinnati Bengals 88.500346384
Pittsburgh Steelers 610.375300327
Cleveland Browns 511.313254322
AFC South
(3) Indianapolis Colts [a] 124.750447336
(5) Tennessee Titans 124.750435324
Jacksonville Jaguars [d] 511.313276331
Houston Texans 511.313255380
AFC West
(2) Kansas City Chiefs 133.813484332
(6) Denver Broncos [b] 106.625381301
Oakland Raiders [e] 412.250270379
San Diego Chargers 412.250313441
NFC East
(1) Philadelphia Eagles[f] 124.750374287
(6) Dallas Cowboys 106.625289260
Washington Redskins 511.313287372
New York Giants 412.250243387
NFC North
(4) Green Bay Packers 106.625442307
Minnesota Vikings 97.563416353
Chicago Bears 79.438283346
Detroit Lions 511.313270379
NFC South
(3) Carolina Panthers 115.688325304
New Orleans Saints 88.500340326
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 79.438301264
Atlanta Falcons 511.313299422
NFC West
(2) St. Louis Rams 124.750447328
(5) Seattle Seahawks [g] 106.625404327
San Francisco 49ers 79.438384337
Arizona Cardinals 412.250225452


2003 Changes

Tennessee at Green Bay in the preseason; both teams made the playoffs


Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams (the top two non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) qualified for the playoffs. The four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, and the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, and there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, and the fourth seed hosts the fifth. The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference then receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round (seed 4, 5 or 6), while the number 2 seed will play the other team (seed 3, 4 or 5). The two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games then meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference.

Playoff seeds
1 New England Patriots (East winner) Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)
2 Kansas City Chiefs (West winner) St. Louis Rams (West winner)
3 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Carolina Panthers (South winner)
4 Baltimore Ravens (North winner) Green Bay Packers (North winner)
5 Tennessee Titans (wild card) Seattle Seahawks (wild card)
6 Denver Broncos (wild card) Dallas Cowboys (wild card)


Jan. 3 – Bank of America Stadium   Jan. 10 – Edward Jones Dome          
 6  Dallas  10
 3  Carolina  29**
 3  Carolina  29     Jan. 18 – Lincoln Financial Field
 2  St. Louis  23  
Jan. 4 – Lambeau Field  3  Carolina  14
Jan. 11 – Lincoln Financial Field
   1  Philadelphia  3  
 5  Seattle  27 AFC Championship
 4  Green Bay  17
 4  Green Bay  33*   Feb. 1 – Reliant Stadium
 1  Philadelphia  20*  
Jan. 4 – RCA Dome  N3  Carolina  29
Jan. 11 – Arrowhead Stadium
   A1  New England  32
 6  Denver  10 Super Bowl XXXVIII
 3  Indianapolis  38
 3  Indianapolis  41     Jan. 18 – Gillette Stadium
 2  Kansas City  31  
Jan. 3 – M&T Bank Stadium  3  Indianapolis  14
Jan. 10 – Gillette Stadium
   1  New England  24  
 5  Tennessee  20 NFC Championship
 5  Tennessee  14
 4  Baltimore  17  
 1  New England  17  
* Indicates overtime victory
** Indicates double overtime victory


The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season:

Record Player/Team Date/Opponent Previous Record Holder[1]
Most Touchdowns, Season Priest Holmes, Kansas City (27) December 28, vs. Chicago Marshall Faulk, St. Louis, 2000 (26)
Most Rushing Yards Gained, Game Jamal Lewis, Baltimore (295) September 14, vs. Cleveland Corey Dillon, Cincinnati vs. Denver, October 22, 2000 (278)
Most Consecutive Field Goals Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis December 28, at Houston Gary Anderson, 1997–98 (40)
Most Consecutive Road Games Lost Detroit Lions December 21, vs. Carolina Houston Oilers, 1981–84 (23)
Most Consecutive Games with a Sack Tampa Bay Buccaneers (69) November 9, 2003 Dallas Cowboys (68)

Statistical leaders


Points scoredKansas City Chiefs (484)
Total yards gainedMinnesota Vikings (6,294)
Yards rushingBaltimore Ravens (2,674)
Yards passingIndianapolis Colts (4,179)
Fewest points allowedNew England Patriots (238)
Fewest total yards allowedDallas Cowboys (4,056)
Fewest rushing yards allowedTennessee Titans (1,295)
Fewest passing yards allowedDallas Cowboys (2,631)


ScoringJeff Wilkins, St. Louis (163 points)
TouchdownsPriest Holmes, Kansas City (27 TDs)
Most field goals madeJeff Wilkins, St. Louis (39 FGs)
RushingJamal Lewis, Baltimore (2,066 yards)
PassingSteve McNair, Tennessee (100.4 rating)
Passing touchdownsBrett Favre, Green Bay (32 TDs)
Pass receivingTorry Holt, St. Louis (117 catches)
Pass receiving yardsTorry Holt, St. Louis (1,696)
Punt returnsDante Hall, Kansas City (16.3 average yards)
Kickoff returnsJerry Azumah, Chicago (29.0 average yards)
InterceptionsBrian Russell, Minnesota and Tony Parrish, San Francisco (9)
PuntingShane Lechler, Oakland (46.9 average yards)
SacksMichael Strahan, New York Giants (18.5)


Most Valuable PlayerPeyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis and Steve McNair, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Coach of the YearBill Belichick, New England
Offensive Player of the YearJamal Lewis, Running back, Baltimore
Defensive Player of the YearRay Lewis, Linebacker, Baltimore
Offensive Rookie of the YearAnquan Boldin, Wide Receiver, Arizona
Defensive Rookie of the YearTerrell Suggs, Linebacker, Baltimore
NFL Comeback Player of the YearJon Kitna, Quarterback, Cincinnati

External links


  1. "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 978-1-932994-36-0.


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