2006 NFL season

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2006 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7, 2006 (2006-09-07) – December 31, 2006
Start dateJanuary 6, 2007
AFC ChampionsIndianapolis Colts
NFC ChampionsChicago Bears
Super Bowl XLI
DateFebruary 4, 2007
SiteDolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
ChampionsIndianapolis Colts
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 10, 2007 (2007-02-10)
SiteAloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 20052007 > 
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2006 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7, 2006 (2006-09-07) – December 31, 2006
Start dateJanuary 6, 2007
AFC ChampionsIndianapolis Colts
NFC ChampionsChicago Bears
Super Bowl XLI
DateFebruary 4, 2007
SiteDolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
ChampionsIndianapolis Colts
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 10, 2007 (2007-02-10)
SiteAloha Stadium
National Football League seasons
 < 20052007 > 

The 2006 NFL season was the 87th regular season of the National Football League.

Regular season play was held from September 7 to December 31, 2006. The NFL title was eventually won by the Indianapolis Colts when they defeated the Chicago Bears; the Super Bowl championship game, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on February 4.


This was the first season that the NFL used a "flexible-scheduling" for the last few weeks of the season, allowing the league flexibility in selecting games to air on Sunday night, in order to feature the current hottest, streaking teams. This was implemented to prevent games featuring losing teams from airing during primetime late in the season, while at the same time allowing NBC to rake in more money off of the higher ratings from surprise, playoff-potential teams that more fans would enjoy watching.

Under the flexible-scheduling system, all Sunday games in the affected weeks tentatively had the start times of 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, except those played in the Pacific or Mountain time zones, which will have a tentative start time of 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT (or 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT if it is a doubleheader weekend). On the Tuesday 12 days before the games, the league moved one game to the primetime slot, and possibly one or more 1 p.m. slotted games to the 4 p.m. slots. During the last week of the season, the league could re-schedule games as late as six days before the contests so that all of the television networks will be able to broadcast a game that has playoff implications.


This was the first season that NBC held the rights to televise Sunday Night Football, becoming the beneficiaries by negotiating the new flexible-scheduling system.[1] ESPN became the new home of Monday Night Football, replacing sister network American Broadcasting Company, who chose to opt out of broadcasting league games.[1] Meanwhile, CBS and Fox renewed their television contracts to the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference packages, respectively.[2]

Coaching changes[edit]

Final regular season standings[edit]

W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, 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
(4) New England Patriots124.750385237Details
(5) New York Jets106.625316295Details
Buffalo Bills79.438300311Details
Miami Dolphins610.375260283Details
AFC North
(2) Baltimore Ravens133.813353201Details
Cincinnati Bengals [a]88.500373331Details
Pittsburgh Steelers88.500353315Details
Cleveland Browns412.250238356Details
AFC South
(3) Indianapolis Colts [d]124.750427360Details
Tennessee Titans [b]88.500324400Details
Jacksonville Jaguars88.500371274Details
Houston Texans610.375267366Details
AFC West
(1) San Diego Chargers142.875492303Details
(6) Kansas City Chiefs [c]97.562331315Details
Denver Broncos97.562319305Details
Oakland Raiders214.125168332Details
NFC East
(3) Philadelphia Eagles106.625398328Details
(5) Dallas Cowboys97.562425350Details
(6) New York Giants [f]88.500355362Details
Washington Redskins511.313307376Details
NFC North
(1) Chicago Bears133.813427255Details
Green Bay Packers88.500301366Details
Minnesota Vikings610.375282327Details
Detroit Lions313.188305398Details
NFC South
(2) New Orleans Saints [e]106.625413322Details
Carolina Panthers88.500270305Details
Atlanta Falcons79.438292328Details
Tampa Bay Buccaneers412.250211353Details
NFC West
(4) Seattle Seahawks97.562335341Details
St. Louis Rams88.500367381Details
San Francisco 49ers79.438298412Details
Arizona Cardinals511.313314389Details

Source: 2007 NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 978-1-933821-85-6)


Playoff seeds
1San Diego Chargers (West winner)Chicago Bears (North winner)
2Baltimore Ravens (North winner)New Orleans Saints (South winner)
3Indianapolis Colts (South winner)Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)
4New England Patriots (East winner)Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
5New York Jets (wild card)Dallas Cowboys (wild card)
6Kansas City Chiefs (wild card)New York Giants (wild card)


January 7 - Gillette Stadium January 14 - Qualcomm Stadium     
 5 N.Y. Jets 16
 4 New England 24
 4 New England 37  January 21 - RCA Dome
 1 San Diego 21 
January 6 - RCA Dome 4 New England 34
January 13 - M&T Bank Stadium
  3 Indianapolis 38 
 6 Kansas City 8AFC Championship
 3 Indianapolis 15
 3 Indianapolis 23 February 4 - Dolphin Stadium
 2 Baltimore 6 
Wild Card Playoffs 
Divisional Playoffs
January 7 - Lincoln Financial Field A3 Indianapolis 29
January 13 - Louisiana Superdome
  N1 Chicago 17
 6 N.Y. Giants 20Super Bowl XLI
 3 Philadelphia 24
 3 Philadelphia 23  January 21 - Soldier Field
 2 New Orleans 27 
January 6 - Qwest Field 2 New Orleans 14
January 14 - Soldier Field
  1 Chicago 39 
 5 Dallas 20NFC Championship
 4 Seattle 24
 4 Seattle 21 
 1 Chicago 27* 

* Indicates overtime victory

Pro Bowl[edit]

News and notes[edit]

Major rule changes[edit]

Officials' uniform makeover[edit]

The 2006 season marked the debut of new officiating uniforms which are supposed to be more comfortable for officials to wear in extreme weather over the old polyester uniforms. The uniforms were designed by Reebok using a proprietary material technology to keep officials both warm and dry during the winter months of the season. On the shirt, the position and number are removed from the front pocket and the lettering and numbers on the back side were black-on-white and are smaller print and the sleeve shows the uniform number. Officials also wore full-length black pants with white stripe during the winter months to stay warm, which was criticized by media and internet board posters. This was the first major design overhaul since 1979, when the position name was added to the shirt, but later abbreviated in 1982.

New NFL commissioner[edit]

On March 20, 2006, Paul Tagliabue announced his plans to retire as NFL commissioner. During an NFL meeting in Northbrook, Illinois, on August 8, league team owners selected Roger Goodell, the NFL's then-current chief operating officer, as the new commissioner. Tagliabue continued to serve as commissioner until Goodell officially replaced him on Friday September 1.

Tagliabue became NFL commissioner on October 26, 1989. During his tenure, the league has added four new teams; saw four franchises move (including two franchises—the Rams and Raiders—from Los Angeles, the second-largest television market in the U.S.); the construction of seventeen new stadiums; began its own in-house television specialty cable network, the NFL Network; has greatly increased television rights fees with its broadcasters, including the addition of the Fox network; and has maintained labor peace with the players' union.

Return of "The Duke" football[edit]

For the first time since Super Bowl IV at the conclusion of the 1969 season, the official NFL game ball was known as "The Duke" in honor of Wellington Mara, whose family owns the New York Giants. Son John is the current CEO of the team. The NFL first used "The Duke" ball in honor of Mara in 1941 after then-Chicago Bears owner George Halas and then-Giants owner Tim Mara (Wellington's father) made a deal with Wilson Sporting Goods to become the league's official supplier of game balls, a relationship that continued into its sixty-fifth year in 2006.[4]

"The Duke" ball was discontinued after the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger, and the merged league began using a different standardized ball made by Wilson. The only other time that "The Duke" ball name was used was during the two "Thanksgiving Classic" games in 2004.

One side of the new 2006 "Duke" football featured the NFL shield logo in gold, the words "The Duke", and the NFL commissioner's signature. The obverse side has a small NFL logo above the needle bladder hole, the conference names between the hole, and the words "National Football League" in gold. As per the custom, specially branded balls were used for the first week of the 2006 season (the "Opening Kickoff") as well as for the Thanksgiving Day, conference championships, Super Bowl XLI and Pro Bowl games.

Unprecedented sell-outs[edit]

Through week 11 of the season, all NFL games had been sold out, and for the 24th time, all blackout restrictions had been lifted.[5] The streak was ended by the Jacksonville at Buffalo game in Week 12.[6]

Saints go home[edit]

The New Orleans Saints returned to their home at the Louisiana Superdome in Week Three. The Saints played home games during the 2005 NFL Season in San Antonio, TX, Baton Rouge, LA, and East Rutherford, NJ, due to the damage to the Superdome caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Saints finished the regular season 10–6, clinched a 1st Round Bye, and beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Chicago Bears defeated the Saints in the NFC Championship, 39–14.

Game highlights on iTunes[edit]

Starting September 18, fans were able to download highlights of their teams' games through Apple's iTunes Store. Each video costs US$1.99 each but fans have the chance of buying a "Follow Your Team season ticket" which brings every game of that team to the fan for $24.99.[5]

Also available will be NFL GameDay, the NFL Network's comprehensive Sunday night review which features post-game reactions and game analysis, all for $1.99 a show or $19.99 for the full season.

Death of Lamar Hunt[edit]

Lamar Hunt died in Dallas, Texas on December 13 from complications from prostate cancer at the age of 74. He is credited with challenging the NFL with the formation of the American Football League, which led to the subsequent merger of the two leagues.

Death of two Broncos[edit]

At 3 a.m. on January 1, 2007, Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in Denver, within hours after the last regular season game against the San Francisco 49ers. Less than two months after, on February 24, 2007, Broncos running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after a charity basketball game at a high school. Both players died at the age of 24.


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

RecordPlayer/TeamDate/OpponentPrevious Record Holder[7]
Most Points, CareerMorten Andersen, AtlantaDecember 16 vs. DallasGary Anderson, 1982–2004 (2,434)
Most Field Goals, CareerMorten Andersen, AtlantaDecember 24 vs. CarolinaGary Anderson, 1982–2004 (538)
Most Passes Completed, CareerBrett Favre, Green BayDecember 17 vs. DetroitDan Marino, 1983–1999 (4,967)
Most Touchdowns, SeasonLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (31)December 10 vs. DenverShaun Alexander, Seattle, 2005 (28)
Most Rushing Touchdowns, SeasonLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (28)December 10 vs. DenverShaun Alexander, 2005
Priest Holmes, 2003 (27)
Most Rushing Attempts, SeasonLarry Johnson, Kansas City (416)December 31 vs. JacksonvilleJamal Anderson, Atlanta, 1998 (410)
Most Kick Returns for a Touchdown, SeasonDevin Hester, Chicago (5; 3 punts and 2 kickoffs)December 11 at St. LouisTied by 9 players (4)

Regular season statistical leaders[edit]


Points scoredSan Diego Chargers (492)
Total yards gainedNew Orleans Saints (6,264)
Yards rushingAtlanta Falcons (2,939)
Yards passingNew Orleans Saints (4,503)
Fewest points allowedBaltimore Ravens (201)
Fewest total yards allowedBaltimore Ravens (4,225)
Fewest rushing yards allowedMinnesota Vikings (985)
Fewest passing yards allowedOakland Raiders (2,413)


ScoringLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (186 points)
TouchdownsLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (31 TDs)
Most field goals madeRobbie Gould, Chicago and Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis (32 FGs)
RushingLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (1,815 yards)
Passer ratingPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (101.0 rating)
Passing touchdownsPeyton Manning, Indianapolis (31 TDs)
Passing yardsDrew Brees, New Orleans (4,418 yards)
Pass receptionsAndre Johnson, Houston (103 catches)
Pass receiving yardsChad Johnson, Cincinnati (1,369 yards)
Punt returnsAdam "Pacman" Jones, Tennessee (12.9 average yards)
Kickoff returnsJustin Miller, New York Jets (28.3 average yards)
InterceptionsAsante Samuel, New England and Champ Bailey, Denver (10)
PuntingMat McBriar, Dallas (48.2 average yards)
SacksShawne Merriman, San Diego (17)


Most Valuable PlayerLaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers
Coach of the YearSean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Offensive Player of the YearLaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers
Defensive Player of the YearJason Taylor, Defensive End, Miami Dolphins
Offensive Rookie of the YearVince Young, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Defensive Rookie of the YearDeMeco Ryans, Linebacker, Houston Texans
NFL Comeback Player of the YearChad Pennington, Quarterback, New York Jets

All-Pro Team
QuarterbackDrew Brees, New Orleans
Running backLaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego
Larry Johnson, Kansas City
FullbackLorenzo Neal, San Diego
Wide receiverMarvin Harrison, Indianapolis
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati
Tight endAntonio Gates, San Diego
Offensive tackleWillie Anderson, Cincinnati
Jammal Brown, New Orleans
Offensive guardAlan Faneca, Pittsburgh
Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia
CenterOlin Kreutz, Chicago
Defensive endJason Taylor, Miami
Julius Peppers, Carolina
Defensive tackleJamal Williams, San Diego
Kevin Williams, Minnesota
Outside linebackerShawne Merriman, San Diego
Adalius Thomas, Baltimore
Inside linebackerBrian Urlacher, Chicago
Zach Thomas, Miami
CornerbackChamp Bailey, Denver
Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville
SafetyBrian Dawkins, Philadelphia
Ed Reed, Baltimore

Special teams
KickerRobbie Gould, Chicago
PunterBrian Moorman, Buffalo
Kick returnerDevin Hester, Chicago

Team Superlatives[edit]





External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "NFL announces new prime-time TV packages". NFL.com. Archived from the original on November 30, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2005. 
  2. ^ "NFL to remain on broadcast TV". NFL.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2005. 
  3. ^ Expert: Simple celebration rule – stay on your feet – NFL – MSNBC.com
  4. ^ Michael Eisen – Story – 3.27 "The Duke" is Back – Giants.com
  5. ^ a b All games sold out for 11th consecutive week at the Wayback Machine (archived November 25, 2006)
  6. ^ "In depth: Frustration in Buffalo shows how NFL's television policies irking fan base". USA Today. November 26, 2006. Retrieved November 27, 2006. 
  7. ^ "NFL.com – NFL Record and Fact Book". Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2007. 
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2006 NFL Standings, Team & Offensive Statistics
  9. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2006 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics