2004 NFL season

2004 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 9, 2004 – January 2, 2005
Start date January 8, 2005
AFC Champions New England Patriots
NFC Champions Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl XXXIX
Date February 6, 2005
Site ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
Champions New England Patriots
Pro Bowl
Date February 13, 2005
Site Aloha Stadium

The 2004 NFL season was the 85th regular season of the National Football League.

With the New England Patriots as the defending league champions, regular season play was held from September 9, 2004 to January 2, 2005. Hurricanes forced the rescheduling of two Miami Dolphins home games: the game against the Tennessee Titans was moved up one day to Saturday, September 11 to avoid oncoming Hurricane Ivan, while the game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 26 was moved back 7½ hours to miss the eye of Hurricane Jeanne.

The playoffs began on January 8, and eventually New England repeated as NFL champions when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Super Bowl championship game, at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on February 6.

Major rule changes

2004 NFL Changes

The NFC West champions Seattle on offense against San Francisco, week 3

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
(2) New England Patriots 142.875437260
(5) New York Jets [b] 106.625333261
Buffalo Bills 97.563395284
Miami Dolphins 412.250275354
AFC North
(1) Pittsburgh Steelers 151.938372251
Baltimore Ravens 97.563317268
Cincinnati Bengals 88.500374372
Cleveland Browns 412.250276390
AFC South
(3) Indianapolis Colts [a] 124.750522351
Jacksonville Jaguars 97.563261280
Houston Texans 79.438309339
Tennessee Titans 511.312344439
AFC West
(4) San Diego Chargers 124.750446313
(6) Denver Broncos 106.625381304
Kansas City Chiefs 79.438483435
Oakland Raiders 511.312320442
NFC East
(1) Philadelphia Eagles 133.813386260
New York Giants [e] 610.375303347
Dallas Cowboys [f] 610.375293405
Washington Redskins 610.375240265
NFC North
(3) Green Bay Packers 106.625424380
(6) Minnesota Vikings [d] 88.500405395
Detroit Lions 610.375296350
Chicago Bears 511.312231331
NFC South
(2) Atlanta Falcons 115.688340337
New Orleans Saints 88.500348405
Carolina Panthers 79.438355339
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 511.312301304
NFC West
(4) Seattle Seahawks 97.563371373
(5) St. Louis Rams [c] 88.500319392
Arizona Cardinals 610.375284322
San Francisco 49ers 214.125259452


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 Pittsburgh Steelers (North winner) Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)
2 New England Patriots (East winner) Atlanta Falcons (South winner)
3 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Green Bay Packers (North winner)
4 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
5 New York Jets (wild card) St. Louis Rams (wild card)
6 Denver Broncos (wild card) Minnesota Vikings (wild card)

The Miami Dolphins were the first team to be eliminated from the playoff race, having reached a 1-9 record by week 11.[1]


Jan. 9 – RCA Dome   Jan. 16 – Gillette Stadium          
 A6  Denver  24
 A3  Indianapolis  3
 A3  Indianapolis  49     Jan. 23 – Heinz Field
 A2  New England  20  
Jan. 8 – Qualcomm Stadium  A2  New England  41
Jan. 15 – Heinz Field
   A1  Pittsburgh  27  
 A5  NY Jets  20* AFC Championship
 A5  NY Jets  17
 A4  San Diego  17   Feb. 6 – Alltel Stadium
 A1  Pittsburgh  20*  
Jan. 8 – Qwest Field  A2  New England  24
Jan. 15 – Georgia Dome
   N1  Philadelphia  21
 N5  St. Louis  27 Super Bowl XXXIX
 N5  St. Louis  17
 N4  Seattle  20     Jan. 23 – Lincoln Financial Field
 N2  Atlanta  47  
Jan. 9 – Lambeau Field  N2  Atlanta  10
Jan. 16 – Lincoln Financial Field
   N1  Philadelphia  27  
 N6  Minnesota  31 NFC Championship
 N6  Minnesota  14
 N3  Green Bay  17  
 N1  Philadelphia  27  
* Indicates overtime victory


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

Record Player/Team Date/Opponent Previous Record Holder[2]
Longest Interception Return Ed Reed, Baltimore (106 yards) November 7, at Cleveland Tied by 2 players (103)
Most Touchdown Passes, Season Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (49) N/A Dan Marino, Miami, 1984 (48)
Highest Passer Rating, Season Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (121.1) Steve Young, San Francisco, 1994 (112.8)
Most Interception Return Yards Gained, Season Ed Reed, Baltimore (358) Charlie McNeil, San Diego, 1961 (349)
Most First Downs by a Team, Season Kansas City (398) Miami, 1994 (387)
Most Consecutive Games Won New England October 24, vs. N.Y. Jets Chicago, 1933–34 (17)
Most Passing Touchdowns by a Team, Season Indianapolis (51) N/A Miami, 1984 (49)

The Colts led the NFL with 522 points scored. The Colts tallied more points in the first half of each of their games of the 2004 NFL season (277 points) than seven other NFL teams managed in the entire season.[3] Despite throwing for 49 touchdown passes, Peyton Manning attempted fewer than 500 passes for the first time in his NFL career.[4] The San Francisco 49ers record 420 consecutive scoring games that had started in Week 5 of the 1977 season ended in Week 2 of the season.

Statistical leaders


Points scoredIndianapolis Colts (522)
Total yards gainedKansas City Chiefs (6,695)
Yards rushingAtlanta Falcons (2,672)
Yards passingIndianapolis Colts (4,623)
Fewest points allowedPittsburgh Steelers (251)
Fewest total yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (4,134)
Fewest rushing yards allowedPittsburgh Steelers (1,299)
Fewest passing yards allowedTampa Bay Buccaneers (2,579)
Playoff chasers the New York Jets against Miami in 2004, week 8 MNF


ScoringAdam Vinatieri, New England (141 points)
TouchdownsShaun Alexander, Seattle (20 TDs)
Most field goals madeAdam Vinatieri, New England (31 FGs)
PassingDaunte Culpepper, Minnesota (4717 yards)
Passing TouchdownsPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (49 TDs)
Passer RatingPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (121.1 rating)
RushingCurtis Martin, New York Jets (1,697 yards)
Rushing TouchdownsLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (17 TDs)
ReceptionsTony Gonzalez, Kansas City (102)
Receiving yardsMuhsin Muhammad, Carolina (1,405)
Punt returnsEddie Drummond, Detroit (13.2 average yards)
Kickoff returnsWillie Ponder, New York Giants (26.9 average yards)
InterceptionsEd Reed, Baltimore (9)
PuntingShane Lechler, Oakland (46.7 average yards)
SacksDwight Freeney, Indianapolis (16)


Most Valuable PlayerPeyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis
Coach of the YearMarty Schottenheimer, San Diego
Offensive Player of the YearPeyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis
Defensive Player of the YearEd Reed, Safety, Baltimore
Offensive Rookie of the YearBen Roethlisberger, Quarterback, Pittsburgh
Defensive Rookie of the YearJonathan Vilma, Linebacker, New York Jets
NFL Comeback Player of the YearDrew Brees, Quarterback, San Diego

External links


  1. "An 0-10 start will do that to you". USA Today.
  2. "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 978-1-932994-36-0.
  3. Numbelivable!, p.35, Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano, Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, 2007, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0
  4. Numbelivable!, p.146, Michael X. Ferraro and John Veneziano, Triumph Books, Chicago, Illinois, 2007, ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0


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