1991 NFL season
The 1991 NFL season was the 72nd regular season of the National Football League. It was the final season for legendary coach Chuck Noll. The season ended with Super Bowl XXVI when the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37–24 at the Metrodome in Minnesota. This was the second of four consecutive Super Bowl losses for Buffalo.
The 1991 NFL Draft was held from April 21 to 22, 1991 at New York City's Marriott Marquis. With the first pick, the Dallas Cowboys selected defensive tackle Russell Maryland from the University of Miami.
Art McNally resigned as the league's Director of Officiating during the offseason. He had held the position since 1968. Longtime NFL referee Jerry Seeman, who worked the previous season's Super Bowl XXV, was named as McNally's replacement.
Jim Tunney retired after 31 years as an NFL official. He remains the only referee to have worked consecutive Super Bowls (XI, and XII).
Gene Barth died on October 11, 1991. For the remainder of the 1991 season, NFL officials wore a black armband on their left sleeve with the white number 14 to honor him.
Bernie Kukar, Larry Nemmers (the side judge for Super Bowl XXV), and Stan Kemp were promoted to referee to replace Barth, Seeman, and Tunney.
Major rule changes
- Source: Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6). pp 1583–1592.
- The definition of a drop kick, field goal, and punt is modified: all three can only be attempted from behind the line of scrimmage.
- If a foul by a player causes an injury to an opponent, a team time out will not be charged to the penalized team anytime during the game instead of only during the last two minutes of a half.
- The game clock will not start until the next snap following any change of possession, even if the player went out of bounds.
- Officials will immediately blow the play dead when a defensive player is offsides before the snap and clearly rushes beyond the offensive line in such a way that he becomes an unabated threat to the quarterback.
- A touchback will be ruled when a player fumbles the ball in the field of play and it goes out of bounds in the opponent's end zone.
- A touchback, not a safety, will also be ruled when a player fumbles the ball in his own end zone and the opponent is the one that knocks the fumble out of bounds in the end zone.
- An offensive player cannot deliberately bat a backward pass forward.
Final regular season standings
- N.Y. Jets finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- Chicago was the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record than Dallas (9–3 to Cowboys’ 8–4).
- Atlanta finished ahead of San Francisco in the NFC West based on head-to-head sweep (2–0), and was the third NFC Wild Card ahead of Philadelphia based on better conference record (7–5 to Eagles’ 6–6).
|Most Valuable Player
||Thurman Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo
|Coach of the Year
||Wayne Fontes, Detroit
|Offensive Player of the Year
||Thurman Thomas, Running Back, Buffalo
|Defensive Player of the Year
||Pat Swilling, Linebacker, New Orleans
|Offensive Rookie of the Year
||Leonard Russell, Running Back, New England
|Defensive Rookie of the Year
||Mike Croel, Linebacker, Denver
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year
||Jim McMahon, Quarterback, Philadelphia
|NFL Man of the Year
||Anthony Muñoz, Offensive Tackle, Cincinnati
| Super Bowl Most Valuable Player
||Mark Rypien, Quarterback, Washington
- The NFL shield was added to the yoke of the jerseys and the left thigh of the pants. The NFL shield was also added to the right breast of the officiating uniforms.
- ^ "Forty years later, NFL official denies 'Immaculate Reception' conspiracy" . USA TODAY. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- ^ "Former NFL referee, league supervisor of officials Jerry Seeman dies at age 77" . Associated Press. StarTribune.com. November 25, 2013. Archived from the original on November 29, 2013.
- ^ "Gene F. Barth Dies; Was NFL Official For 20 Years", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 13, 1991, Edition: L5, Page: 14F
Categories: National Football League seasons | 1991 National Football League season | 1991 in American football
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