2006 NFL season

2006 National Football League season
Regular season
Duration September 7 – December 31, 2006
Start date January 6, 2007
AFC Champions Indianapolis Colts
NFC Champions Chicago Bears
Super Bowl XLI
Date February 4, 2007
Site Dolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Champions Indianapolis Colts
Pro Bowl
Date February 10, 2007 (2007-02-10)
Site Aloha Stadium

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 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium at Miami Gardens, Florida on February 4.


For more details on this topic, see NFL_on_television § Flexible-scheduling.

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.

CBS's The NFL Today, Super Bowl XLI


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

Final regular season standings

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 tie games occurred this year.

AFC East
(4) New England Patriots 124.750385237 Details
(5) New York Jets 106.625316295 Details
Buffalo Bills 79.438300311 Details
Miami Dolphins 610.375260283 Details
AFC North
(2) Baltimore Ravens 133.813353201 Details
Cincinnati Bengals [a] 88.500373331 Details
Pittsburgh Steelers 88.500353315 Details
Cleveland Browns 412.250238356 Details
AFC South
(3) Indianapolis Colts [d] 124.750427360 Details
Tennessee Titans [b] 88.500324400 Details
Jacksonville Jaguars 88.500371274 Details
Houston Texans 610.375267366 Details
AFC West
(1) San Diego Chargers 142.875492303 Details
(6) Kansas City Chiefs [c] 97.562331315 Details
Denver Broncos 97.562319305 Details
Oakland Raiders 214.125168332 Details
NFC East
(3) Philadelphia Eagles 106.625398328 Details
(5) Dallas Cowboys 97.562425350 Details
(6) New York Giants [f] 88.500355362 Details
Washington Redskins 511.313307376 Details
NFC North
(1) Chicago Bears 133.813427255 Details
Green Bay Packers 88.500301366 Details
Minnesota Vikings 610.375282327 Details
Detroit Lions 313.188305398 Details
NFC South
(2) New Orleans Saints [e] 106.625413322 Details
Carolina Panthers 88.500270305 Details
Atlanta Falcons 79.438292328 Details
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 412.250211353 Details
NFC West
(4) Seattle Seahawks 97.562335341 Details
St. Louis Rams 88.500367381 Details
San Francisco 49ers 79.438298412 Details
Arizona Cardinals 511.313314389 Details
Source: 2007 NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 978-1-933821-85-6)


Further information: 2006–07 NFL 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 San Diego Chargers (West winner) Chicago Bears (North winner)
2 Baltimore Ravens (North winner) New Orleans Saints (South winner)
3 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Philadelphia Eagles (East winner)
4 New England Patriots (East winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
5 New York Jets (wild card) Dallas Cowboys (wild card)
6 Kansas City Chiefs (wild card) New York Giants (wild card)


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

Pro Bowl

News and notes

Major rule changes

The Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers in snow at Qwest Field, November 26, 2006

Officials' uniform makeover

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. 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

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 its NFL programming; and has maintained labor peace with the players' union.

Return of "The Duke" football

A Philadelphia fumble is recovered by Washington's Ade Jimoh, week 14

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.


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]

The New Orleans Saints go back home

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 2006 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

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.[7]

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

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

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:

Record Player/Team Date/Opponent Previous Record Holder[8]
Most Points, Career Morten Andersen, Atlanta December 16 vs. Dallas Gary Anderson, 1982–2004 (2,434)
Most Field Goals, Career Morten Andersen, Atlanta December 24 vs. Carolina Gary Anderson, 1982–2004 (538)
Most Passes Completed, Career Brett Favre, Green Bay December 17 vs. Detroit Dan Marino, 1983–1999 (4,967)
Most Touchdowns, Season LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (31) December 10 vs. Denver Shaun Alexander, Seattle, 2005 (28)
Most Rushing Touchdowns, Season LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (28) December 10 vs. Denver Shaun Alexander, 2005
Priest Holmes, 2003 (27)
Most Points, Season LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (186) December 17 vs. Kansas City Paul Hornung, 1960 (176)
Most Rushing Attempts, Season Larry Johnson, Kansas City (416) December 31 vs. Jacksonville Jamal Anderson, Atlanta, 1998 (410)
Most Kick Returns for a Touchdown, Season Devin Hester, Chicago (5; 3 punts and 2 kickoffs) December 11 at St. Louis Tied by 9 players (4)

Regular season statistical leaders

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najeh Davenport against the Baltimore Ravens in week 12 of the 2006 season


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 Player LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers
Coach of the YearSean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Offensive Player of the Year LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers
Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor, Defensive End, Miami Dolphins
Offensive Rookie of the Year Vince Young, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans
Defensive Rookie of the Year DeMeco Ryans, Linebacker, Houston Texans
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Chad Pennington, Quarterback, New York Jets

All-Pro Team
Special teams
KickerRobbie Gould, Chicago
PunterBrian Moorman, Buffalo
Kick returnerDevin Hester, Chicago

Team Superlatives





External links


  1. 1 2 "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. "All games sold out for 11th consecutive week". Archived from the original on November 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-17.
  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 and Apple offer highlights on iTunes". NFL. September 12, 2006. Archived from the original on October 14, 2006. Retrieved September 13, 2006.
  8. "NFL.com – NFL Record and Fact Book". Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  9. Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2006 NFL Standings, Team & Offensive Statistics
  10. Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2006 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics
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