The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League (NFL). In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the NFL's week 2 games (September 16 and 17) were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including Super Bowl XXXVI, were rescheduled one week later. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, defeating the St. Louis Rams 20–17 at the Louisiana Superdome.
|2001 National Football League season|
|Duration||September 9, 2001 – January 7, 2002|
|In the wake of the September 11 attacks, a number of games were re-scheduled.|
|Start date||January 12, 2002|
|AFC Champions||New England Patriots|
|NFC Champions||St. Louis Rams|
|Super Bowl XXXVI|
|Date||February 3, 2002|
|Site||Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Champions||New England Patriots|
|Date||February 9, 2002|
Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVI-XXXVII already scheduled for fixed dates, the league initially decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for 2001 and 2002 to adjust.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games originally scheduled for September 16 and 17 were postponed and rescheduled to the weekend of January 6 and 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl, were rescheduled one week later. The season-ending Pro Bowl was also moved to one week later. This was the last season in which each conference had three divisions, as the conferences would be realigned to four divisions for the 2002 NFL season.
Canceling the games scheduled for September 16 and 17 was considered and rejected since it would have canceled a home game for about half the teams (15 of 31). It would have also resulted in an unequal number of games played: September 16 and 17 was to have been a bye for the San Diego Chargers, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games (the Chargers ultimately finished 5–11, making any competitive advantages to playing an extra game moot).
As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the Pittsburgh Steelers ended up not playing a home game for the entire month of September (their only home game during that month was originally scheduled for September 16). The ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was also changed. It was originally scheduled to be Cleveland at Pittsburgh, but it was replaced with Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, which was seen as a more interesting matchup (it was the only night game the Browns had on the schedule, whereas the Steelers had a few others; so 2000 and 2001 marked the first back-to-back seasons for the Browns without a primetime game since 1974 to 1976; the Browns would finally play in Heinz Field at night in 2003). Ironically, the Eagles and Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, and would meet one week later in the playoffs. In recognition of this, when NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, there would be no game initially scheduled for Weeks 11 to 17 – a game initially scheduled in the afternoon would be moved to the primetime slot, without stripping any teams of a primetime appearance. This way of “flexible scheduling” would not be utilized at all in 2007, and since 2008, it is only utilized in the final week.
The games that eventually made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as the "NFL season" (under the current format, the regular season cannot end later than January 3 in any given year).
Another scheduling change took place in October, when the Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders game was moved from October 21 to 7 to accommodate a possible Oakland Athletics home playoff game on the 21st (the start of Major League Baseball’s postseason was also delayed by the 9/11 attacks due to rescheduling of a week’s worth of games). The rescheduling ended up being unnecessary as the Athletics would not make it past the Division Series round.
Bill Leavy and Terry McAulay were promoted to referee. Phil Luckett returned to back judge, while another officiating crew was added in 2001 in preparation for the Houston Texans expansion team, the league's 32nd franchise, in 2002.
Due to labor dispute, the regular NFL officials were locked out prior to the final week of the preseason. Replacement officials who had worked in college football or the Arena Football League officiated NFL games during the last preseason week and the first week of the regular season. A deal was eventually reached before play resumed after the September 11 attacks.
|Jan. 12 – Veterans Stadium||Jan. 19 – Soldier Field|
|3||Philadelphia||31||Jan. 27 – Edward Jones Dome|
|Jan. 13 – Lambeau Field||3||Philadelphia||24|
|Jan. 20 – The Dome at America's Center|
|5||San Francisco||15||NFC Championship|
|4||Green Bay||25||Feb. 3 – Louisiana Superdome|
|Wild card playoffs|
|Jan. 12 – Network Associates Coliseum||N1||St. Louis||17|
|Jan. 19 – Foxboro Stadium|
|6||NY Jets||24||Super Bowl XXXVI|
|3||Oakland||38||Jan. 27 – Heinz Field|
|Jan. 13 – Pro Player Stadium||2||New England||24|
|Jan. 20 – Heinz Field|
The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season:
|Record||Player/Team||Previous Record Holder|
|Most Sacks, Season*||Michael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5)||Mark Gastineau, New York Jets, 1984 (22.0)|
|Most Consecutive Games Lost, Season||Carolina (15)||Tied by 4 teams (14)|
* – Sack statistics have only been compiled since 1982.
|Points scored||St. Louis Rams (503)|
|Total yards gained||St. Louis Rams (6,930)|
|Yards rushing||Pittsburgh Steelers (2,774)|
|Yards passing||St. Louis Rams (4,903)|
|Fewest points allowed||Chicago Bears (203)|
|Fewest total yards allowed||Pittsburgh Steelers (4,504)|
|Fewest rushing yards allowed||Pittsburgh Steelers (1,195)|
|Fewest passing yards allowed||Dallas Cowboys (3,019)|
|Scoring||Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (128 points)|
|Touchdowns||Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (21 TDs)|
|Most field goals made||Jason Elam, Denver (31 FGs)|
|Rushing||Priest Holmes, Kansas City (1,555 yards)|
|Passing||Kurt Warner, St. Louis (101.4 rating)|
|Passing touchdowns||Kurt Warner, St. Louis (36 TDs)|
|Pass receiving||Rod Smith, Denver (113 catches)|
|Pass receiving yards||David Boston, Arizona (1,598)|
|Punt returns||Troy Brown, New England (14.2 average yards)|
|Kickoff returns||Ronney Jenkins, San Diego (26.6 average yards)|
|Interceptions||Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay and Anthony Henry, Cleveland (10)|
|Punting||Todd Sauerbrun, Carolina (47.5 average yards)|
|Sacks||Michael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5)|
|Most Valuable Player||Kurt Warner, Quarterback, St. Louis|
|Coach of the Year||Dick Jauron, Chicago|
|Offensive Player of the Year||Marshall Faulk, Running back, St. Louis|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Michael Strahan, Defensive End, New York Giants|
|Offensive Rookie of the Year||Anthony Thomas, Running Back, Chicago|
|Defensive Rookie of the Year||Kendrell Bell, Linebacker, Pittsburgh|
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year||Garrison Hearst, Running Back, San Francisco|
|Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year||Jerome Bettis, Running Back, Pittsburgh|
|Super Bowl Most Valuable Player||Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England|
The 2001 NFL Draft was held from April 21 to 22, 2001 at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. With the first pick, the Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Michael Vick from Virginia Tech.
The 2001 Seattle Seahawks season was the franchise's 26th season in the National Football League, The second of two seasons the Seahawks played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built and the third under head coach Mike Holmgren. They improved on their 6-10 record from 2000 and finished the season at 9–7. The Seahawks were in the playoff hunt until the very last game of the season; Baltimore's win over Minnesota on the last Monday Night game of the year ended Seattle's post-season bid. The 2001 season was the final season for the Seahawks in the American Football Conference and the second and final season they played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built.
Before the season, the Seahawks signed free agent quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck eventually won the starting position over Dilfer. The Seahawks also signed future Hall of Fame defensive tackle John Randle, who spent the last 11 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and would make the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Seahawks.
The season saw the emergence of the second year running back Shaun Alexander after Ricky Watters was injured for most of the season. Watters retired after the season ended.
It was also the final season the Seahawks wore their traditional blue and green uniforms.Adam Treu
Adam Treu (born June 24, 1974) is a former center who played in the National Football League. He walked on to University of Nebraska-Lincoln after playing at Pius X High School in Lincoln. He won back-to-back National Championships with the Cornhuskers in 1994 and 1995 playing left tackle and performing all the long snapping duties. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 3rd round (72nd overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft.Antonio Freeman
Antonio Michael Freeman (born May 27, 1972) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL), most notably for the Green Bay Packers. He attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Tech.Benjamin Gay
Benjamin Stevenson Gay, Jr. (born February 28, 1980) is a former American football running back. He spent the 2001 NFL season with the Cleveland Browns.
A native of Spring, Texas, Gay was a star running back at Spring High School. He was a 1997 High School All-American selection by USA Today. He chose Baylor over Florida, Florida State, and Miami. However, five weeks into his sophomore season in 1998, he was kicked off the team for rules violations. He eventually enrolled at Garden City Community College. In 1999, he rushed for 1,442 yards and 17 touchdowns, but was dismissed from the team because of his grades and rules violations, and ultimately left junior college. He took a job as a bouncer at a bar in Garden City, Kansas.
In 2000, he was signed by the Edmonton Eskimos, but was bolted after the first preseason game. In 2001, he was signed by the Cleveland Browns and spent the 2001 NFL season as third-string RB behind James Jackson and Jamel White. His career game came in a 27–17 Browns win at Baltimore, when he ran 56 yards on 18 tries, including one touchdown.Bill Carollo
William F. "Bill" Carollo (born November 27, 1951) is a retired American football official who officiated National Football League (NFL) games from 1989 through 2008. He wore uniform number 63. Carollo officiated in two Super Bowls and eight conference championship games. After the 2008 season, he became the Director of Officiating for the Big Ten Conference.Bill Leavy
Bill Leavy (pronounced LEE-vee) is a retired American football official who officiated in the National Football League (NFL) from the 1995 through 2014 seasons, wore uniform number 127, and is also a retired San Jose, California police officer and firefighter, serving for 27 years. Leavy was, in his twenty-year NFL officiating career, assigned to fifteen playoff games, including two Super Bowls. He was selected as a back judge on the Super Bowl XXXIV officiating crew in 2000 and most recently headed up the Super Bowl XL officiating crew as referee in 2006.Bobby Collins (tight end)
Bobby Collins (born Bobby Eugene Collins) is a former tight end in the National Football League. Collins was drafted in the fourth round of the 1999 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills and played two seasons with the team. He would play the 2001 NFL season with the Green Bay Packers.Chris Mohr
Christopher Garrett Mohr (born May 11, 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia) is a former American football punter. Mohr grew up in Thomson, Georgia, where he played football at Briarwood Academy. He was recruited by the University of Alabama, where he was the team's starting punter for three years. After being named the Southeastern Conference's best punter his senior year, he spent the 1989 NFL season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was their punter the entire season. He spent one season with the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football before being signed by the Buffalo Bills. Mohr was with the Bills from 1991 to 2000, during which time he appeared in three Super Bowls with the team—Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXVII, and Super Bowl XXVIII. He signed with his hometown Atlanta Falcons before the 2001 NFL season, where he played for four years before being waived in 2005. He was signed by the Washington Redskins before the 2005 NFL season began, but was cut a few days later. He officially retired from the NFL in 2007 by signing a one-day contract with the Buffalo Bills. Mohr has four boys. Garrett, Harrison, Quinn and Chapman. Garrett Mohr, his oldest son, is currently a NFL free agent.
Of note is that Mohr, along with Casey Beathard, co-wrote "I See Me" for country singer Travis Tritt, which appeared on Tritt's album My Honky Tonk History.Dale Hamer
Dale Hamer is a former American football official in the National Football League (NFL) who served from 1978 to 2001, with a break taken for health reasons during the 1995 season. During his 23 seasons in the NFL, Hamer was assigned to officiate in two Super Bowls, as a head linesman in Super Bowl XVII and in Super Bowl XXII. Additionally, he was an alternate referee for Super Bowl XXVII.
Hamer's career in the NFL started in 1978 as a head linesman. He was later promoted to referee in 1989 upon the retirement of long-time referee Fred Silva. In 1995, Hamer was forced to take a leave from officiating when doctors discovered that he had a heart murmur. Further tests revealed that Hamer had stenosis and calcification of his aortic heart valve, and it would need to be replaced. In July 1995, Dale received a pericardial tissue heart valve. As a result, he missed the entire 1995 NFL season, but returned at the start of the 1996 NFL season after Gordon McCarter announced his retirement. He returned to the head linesman position in 1998 and worked on the crews of Larry Nemmers and Bernie Kukar. After retiring as an on-field official following the 2001 NFL season, Hamer assumed new duties as an instant replay official for the NFL, a position he continues to serve in today.
Hamer, who wore uniform number 104, is a past president of the National Football League Referees Association.
Hamer is a 1960 graduate of California State College in Western Pennsylvania (now California University of Pennsylvania), and in the early 1960s taught algebra at Clairton High School in Clairton, Pennsylvania.Jason Baker
Jason Michael Baker (born May 17, 1978) is a former American football punter. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He played college football at Iowa. He has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and Carolina Panthers.John Waerig
John Waerig is a former tight end in the National Football League. He was a member of the Detroit Lions during the 2001 NFL season.Kevin Mitchell (linebacker)
Kevin Danyelle Mitchell (January 1, 1971 – April 30, 2007) was an American football linebacker in the National Football League from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He played for the San Francisco 49ers, the New Orleans Saints, and the Washington Redskins.Mike Rucker
Michael Dean Rucker (born February 28, 1975) is a former American football defensive end who played eight seasons for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Nebraska, and was drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft.Mike Thompson (American football)
Mike John Thompson (born December 22, 1971) is a former defensive tackle in the National Football League. Thompson was drafted in the fourth round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played that season with the team. The following season, he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, but did not see any playing time during the regular season. After playing the following season with the Bengals he played two more with the Cleveland Browns. He was also a member of the Browns during the 2001 NFL season, but once again did not see any playing time.Pat Batteaux
Patrick Alan Batteaux (born April 18, 1978) is a former American football wide receiver who played one season with the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Texas Christian University and attended Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas.Punter (football)
A punter (P) in American or Canadian football is a special teams player who receives the snapped ball directly from the line of scrimmage and then punts (kicks) the football to the opposing team so as to limit any field position advantage. This generally happens on a fourth down in American football and a third down in Canadian football. Punters may also occasionally take part in fake punts in those same situations, when they throw or run the football instead of punting.Ron Moore (defensive tackle)
Ronald Demon Moore (born August 10, 1977) is a former defensive tackle in the National Football League. Moore was a member of the Atlanta Falcons during the 2001 NFL season. He had previously been drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2000 NFL Draft.Terry McAulay
Terry McAulay (born c.1959) is a former American football official who worked in the National Football League (NFL) for the 1998 through 2017 seasons. He was the referee for six conference championship games and three Super Bowls (XXXIX, XLIII, and XLVIII). He has been the Coordinator of Football Officials for college football's American Athletic Conference since 2008, when the conference was known as the Big East.Tyrone Poole
Tyrone Poole (born February 3, 1972) is a retired American professional football player who played 13 seasons as a cornerback in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers 22nd overall of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played college football at Fort Valley State.
Poole has also played for Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans. He earned Super Bowl rings with the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII and Super Bowl XXXIX.
2001 NFL season