There are three 2011 All-Pro Teams—one each named by the Associated Press (AP), Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA), and Sporting News—for performance in the 2011 NFL season. While none of these have the official imprimatur of the NFL (whose official recognition is nomination to the 2012 Pro Bowl), they are included (separately) in the NFL Record and Fact Book. Any player selected to any of the teams can be described as an "All-Pro."
The AP team, with first- and second-team selections, was chosen by a national panel of 50 NFL writers; the Sporting News selection process uses a panel of 50 NFL coaches and executives, while the PFWA team is chosen by polling its 300+ members.
The 2011 Cincinnati Bengals season was the franchise's 44th season as a professional football team and 42nd in the National Football League (NFL). The Bengals entered the season coming off a 4–12 in 2010. Head Coach Marvin Lewis was re-signed by the team. Quarterback (QB) Carson Palmer demanded a trade and was dealt to the Oakland Raiders. Wide receiver (WR) Chad Johnson was traded to the New England Patriots. Replacing the two, the organization drafted QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green in the 2011 NFL Draft. The start of the 2011 season was hindered by a lockout, which cancelled the teams' mini-camp.
After going 1–3 in pre-season, the Bengals started their season off with a win against division rival Cleveland Browns, en route to a 9–7 record—their best outing since 2009. It received a Wild Card spot in the 2011–12 NFL playoffs where it lost in the opening round to the Houston Texans. Four players—Dalton, Green, defensive lineman (DL) Geno Atkins, and tight end (TE) Jermaine Gresham—were elected to the 2012 Pro Bowl; Atkins was also selected to the Associated Press' 2011 All-Pro Team.2011 Detroit Lions season
The 2011 Detroit Lions season was the franchise's 82nd season in the National Football League, their 78th as the Detroit Lions, the 10th playing its home games at Ford Field and the third year under head coach Jim Schwartz. With a regular season record of 10–6, the team improved on its 6–10 record from 2010, making it their third consecutive improved season. It was the Lions' first winning season since 2000 and first 10 win season since 1995. The Lions' 5–0 start was their best since 1956. With their win over the San Diego Chargers on December 24, the Lions clinched an NFC Wild Card spot in the postseason. After their loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 17, it was determined the Lions would play the New Orleans Saints in one of the NFC Wild Card Games, which the Lions lost 45–28. It was their first playoff berth since 1999.
The Lions ran a pass-heavy offense in 2011, mainly due to early injuries of running backs Mikel Leshoure, who was injured in the preseason and Jahvid Best, who was injured with a concussion in week 6 against the 49ers. Kevin Smith was signed in November as running back, but he too was injured, this time a high ankle sprain during week 11 that inhibited his running. Quarterback Matthew Stafford's 663 passing attempts (41.4 attempts per game) led the league, and they only ran the ball on 33.8% of their plays, a league low. According to statistics site Football Outsiders, the Lions went into shotgun formation a league-leading 68% of offensive plays in 2011. Stafford became only the fourth quarterback to pass for 5,000 yards in a season, and his 5,038 yards passing are 5th-most in NFL history (though only 3rd in the 2011 NFL season).The 474 points that the Lions scored in 2011 are the most in franchise history, and only the second time that the team had scored 400+ points in a season.2011 New England Patriots season
The 2011 New England Patriots season was the 42nd season for the team in the National Football League and 52nd season overall. The Patriots finished the regular season at 13–3, and represented the AFC in Super Bowl XLVI. It was the seventh Super Bowl trip in franchise history, and the fifth for head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
The Patriots dedicated their 2011 season to the memory of Myra Kraft, the wife of owner Robert Kraft, who died on July 20, 2011 after a long fight against cancer. At both home and away games, the Patriots wore patches bearing Kraft's initials, MHK, on their uniforms. The Patriots elected to wear their Super Bowl patches on the right side of their uniforms, so that they could keep the MHK patch on the left as it had been all season. The Patriots were the only 2011 division winner that won their division the previous season.The Patriots lost in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants by a score of 21–17. The Patriots, as was the case in their previous appearance against these same Giants in Super Bowl XLII, had a chance to join the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers as the only teams to win at least four Super Bowls (the Packers, who had entered the 2011 season as the defending champions, had not yet won a fourth Super Bowl when the Patriots had last appeared). Instead, the Patriots tied a then-NFL record for most losses in a Super Bowl that had been set by the Minnesota Vikings and tied by the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills, each of whom had lost four.
With the loss, along with losses in 1985, 1996, and 2007, the Patriots tied with the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings for most Super Bowl losses at four (although the Broncos would lose their fifth against the Seattle Seahawks two years later, and the Patriots would lose their fifth six years later).