2005 National Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 8, 2005 – January 1, 2006
Start dateJanuary 7, 2006
AFC ChampionsPittsburgh Steelers
NFC ChampionsSeattle Seahawks
Super Bowl XL
DateFebruary 5, 2006
SiteFord Field, Detroit, Michigan
ChampionsPittsburgh Steelers
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 12, 2006
SiteAloha Stadium
2005 NFL season is located in the United States
AFC teams: West, North, South, East
2005 NFL season is located in the United States
Various Locations Saints
Various Locations
NFC teams: West, North, South, East

The 2005 NFL season was the 86th regular season of the National Football League (NFL).

Regular season play was held from September 8, 2005 to January 1, 2006. The regular season also saw the first ever regular season game played outside the United States, as well as the New Orleans Saints being forced to play elsewhere due to damage to the Superdome and the entire New Orleans area by Hurricane Katrina.

The playoffs began on January 7. The New England Patriots' streak of 10 consecutive playoff wins and chance at a third straight Super Bowl title was ended in the Divisional Playoff Round by the Denver Broncos, and eventually the NFL title was won by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on February 5 for their fifth Super Bowl win. This also marked the first time that a sixth-seeded team, who by the nature of their seeding would play every game on the road, would advance to and win the Super Bowl.

The season formally concluded with the Pro Bowl, the league's all-star game, at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii on February 12.

This was also the final full season for Paul Tagliabue as commissioner.


The 2005 NFL Draft was held from April 23 to 24, 2005 at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. With the first pick, the San Francisco 49ers selected quarterback Alex Smith from the University of Utah.

Rule changes

2005 deaths

Regular season

First regular season game played outside the United States

The 2005 season also featured the first ever regular season game played outside the United States when the San Francisco 49ersArizona Cardinals game was played at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on October 2 (the Cardinals won 31–14). The game drew an NFL regular season record of 103,467 paid fans. It was a home game for the Cardinals, mostly because the team rarely sold out at their then-home field, Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. This season was the last year that the Cardinals played at Sun Devil Stadium; the team then moved to their new Cardinals Stadium in nearby Glendale.

Effect of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season

Effect of Hurricane Katrina

The Louisiana Superdome did not host the New Orleans Saints during the 2005 season, due in part to damage seen here.

See also: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans Saints, Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Louisiana Superdome, and Effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans

Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the Louisiana Superdome and the greater New Orleans area, the New Orleans Saints' entire 2005 home schedule was played at different venues while the Saints set up temporary operations in San Antonio, Texas. The Saints' first home game scheduled for September 18 against New York Giants was moved to September 19 at Giants Stadium. The impromptu "Monday Night doubleheader" with the game already scheduled (Washington at Dallas) was a success, and was made an annual part of the schedule from 2006 through 2020.

The NFL designated its second weekend, September 18 and 19, as "Hurricane Relief Weekend', with fund raising collections at all of the league's games. The Saints' remaining home games were split between the Alamodome in San Antonio and Louisiana State University's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Being forced to travel to 13 of their 16 games (only three of their games were actually played in the same city where they practiced) and practice in substandard facilities and conditions in San Antonio, the Saints finished 3–13, their worst season since 1999.

The last time an NFL franchise had to play at an alternate site was in 2002, when the Chicago Bears played home games in Champaign, Illinois, 120 miles (200 km) away, due to the reconstruction of Soldier Field.[2] The last NFL team to abandon their home city during a season was the 1952 Dallas Texans, whose franchise was returned to the league after drawing several poor crowds at the Cotton Bowl. They played their final "home" game in Akron, Ohio.[3]

Effect of Hurricane Wilma

The October 23 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins at Dolphins Stadium was rescheduled to Friday, October 21 at 7:00 pm EDT to beat Hurricane Wilma's arrival to the Miami, Florida area.[4] The Chiefs won the game, 30–20, and became the first visiting team to travel and play on the same day.[citation needed] Since the game was planned for Sunday afternoon, it is one of the few times in history that the Dolphins wore their white jerseys in a home game played at night.

Final regular season standings



Further information: 2005–06 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.[6]

Playoff seeds
1 Indianapolis Colts (South winner) Seattle Seahawks (West winner)
2 Denver Broncos (West winner) Chicago Bears (North winner)
3 Cincinnati Bengals (North winner) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (South winner)
4 New England Patriots (East winner) New York Giants (East winner)
5 Jacksonville Jaguars (wild card) Carolina Panthers (wild card)
6 Pittsburgh Steelers (wild card) Washington Redskins (wild card)


Jan 8 – Giants Stadium Jan 15 – Soldier Field
5 Carolina 23
5 Carolina 29
4 NY Giants 0 Jan 22 – Qwest Field
2 Chicago 21
Jan 7 – Raymond James Stadium 5 Carolina 14
Jan 14 – Qwest Field
1 Seattle 34
6 Washington 17 NFC Championship
6 Washington 10
3 Tampa Bay 10 Feb 5 – Ford Field
1 Seattle 20
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
Jan 8 – Paul Brown Stadium N1 Seattle 10
Jan 15 – RCA Dome
A6 Pittsburgh 21
6 Pittsburgh 31 Super Bowl XL
6 Pittsburgh 21
3 Cincinnati 17 Jan 22 – Invesco Field at Mile High
1 Indianapolis 18
Jan 7 – Gillette Stadium 6 Pittsburgh 34
Jan 14 – Invesco Field at Mile High
2 Denver 17
5 Jacksonville 3 AFC Championship
4 New England 13
4 New England 28
2 Denver 27


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

Record Player/team Date/opponent Previous record holder[7]
Longest return of a missed field goal/
longest play in NFL history
Nathan Vasher, Chicago (108 yards) November 13, vs. San Francisco Chris McAlister, Baltimore vs. Denver, September 30, 2002 (107 yards)
Most consecutive games played, career Jeff Feagles, New York Giants November 27, at Seattle Jim Marshall, 1960–1979 (282)
Most touchdowns, season Shaun Alexander, Seattle (28) January 1, at Green Bay Priest Holmes, Kansas City, 2003 (27)
Most field goals, season Neil Rackers, Arizona (40) January 1, at Indianapolis Tied by 2 players (39)
Most field goals by a team, season Arizona (43) January 1, at Indianapolis Tied by 2 teams (39)

Statistical leaders

Atlanta at Detroit on Thanksgiving, November 24, 2005


Points scored Seattle Seahawks (452)
Total yards gained Kansas City Chiefs (6,192)
Yards rushing Atlanta Falcons (2,546)
Yards passing Arizona Cardinals (4,437)
Fewest points allowed Chicago Bears (202)
Fewest total yards allowed Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4,444)
Fewest rushing yards allowed San Diego Chargers (1,349)
Fewest passing yards allowed Green Bay Packers (2,680)


Scoring Shaun Alexander, Seattle (168 points)
Touchdowns Shaun Alexander, Seattle (28 TDs) *
Most field goals made Neil Rackers, Arizona (40 FGs) *
Rushing yards Shaun Alexander, Seattle (1,880 yards)
Rushing touchdowns Shaun Alexander, Seattle (27 TDs) *
Passer rating Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (104.1 rating)
Passing touchdowns Carson Palmer, Cincinnati (32 TDs)
Passing yards Tom Brady, New England (4,110 yards)
Receptions Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona and Steve Smith, Carolina (103 catches)
Receiving yards Steve Smith, Carolina (1,563 yards)
Receiving touchdowns Steve Smith, Carolina, and Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis (12 TDs)
Punt returns Reno Mahe, Philadelphia (12.8 average yards)
Kickoff returns Terrence McGee, Buffalo (30.2 average yards)
Interceptions Ty Law, New York Jets and Deltha O'Neal, Cincinnati (10)
Punting Brian Moorman, Buffalo and Shane Lechler, Oakland (45.7 average yards)
Sacks Derrick Burgess, Oakland (16)
* – Denotes new league record.


Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander, running back, Seattle
Coach of the Year Lovie Smith, Chicago
Offensive Player of the Year Shaun Alexander, running back, Seattle
Defensive Player of the Year Brian Urlacher, linebacker, Chicago
Offensive Rookie of the Year Carnell Williams, running back, Tampa Bay
Defensive Rookie of the Year Shawne Merriman, linebacker, San Diego
NFL Comeback Player of the Year Tedy Bruschi, linebacker, New England
Steve Smith, wide receiver, Carolina (tie)
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Peyton Manning, quarterback, Indianapolis
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Hines Ward, wide receiver, Pittsburgh

Team superlatives

Pittsburgh Super Bowl winners Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis with sportscaster Chris Berman at Super Bowl XL media day





All-Pro Team
Quarterback Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
Running back Shaun Alexander, Seattle
Tiki Barber, N.Y. Giants
Fullback Mack Strong, Seattle
Wide receiver Steve Smith, Carolina
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati
Tight end Antonio Gates, San Diego
Offensive tackle Walter Jones, Seattle
Willie Anderson, Cincinnati
Offensive guard Steve Hutchinson, Seattle
Brian Waters, Kansas City
Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh
Center Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis
Defensive end Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis
Osi Umenyiora, N.Y. Giants
Defensive tackle Jamal Williams, San Diego
Richard Seymour, New England
Outside linebacker Lance Briggs, Chicago
Derrick Brooks, Tampa Bay
Inside linebacker Brian Urlacher, Chicago
Al Wilson, Denver
Cornerback Champ Bailey, Denver
Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay
Safety Bob Sanders, Indianapolis
Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh
Special teams
Kicker Neil Rackers, Arizona
Punter Brian Moorman, Buffalo
Kick returner Jerome Mathis, Houston

Coaching changes


The New Orleans Saints played in Baton Rouge's Tiger Stadium for four games and in San Antonio's Alamodome for three games due to Louisiana Superdome damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Tiger Stadium's goalposts did not conform to NFL standards due to (a) two supports instead of one and (b) white paint instead of gold. The NFL granted the Saints dispensation to keep LSU's goalposts in place for their games.

In addition, with the RCA and Edward Jones domes both removing their AstroTurf surfaces in favor of the newer next-generation FieldTurf surface, the old first-generation AstroTurf surface ceased to be used in the NFL.

Pro Player Stadium was renamed Dolphins Stadium. Pro Player's parent Fruit of the Loom had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in 1999, and the Pro Player label was discontinued, but that stadium name was kept for several more years.

New uniforms

Defending champions the New England Patriots at the eventual Super Bowl winners the Pittsburgh Steelers, September 25


This was the eighth and final year under the league's broadcast contracts with ABC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN to televise Monday Night Football, the AFC package, the NFC package, and Sunday Night Football, respectively. This also marked the final season that ABC held the rights to televise Monday Night Football after thirty-six years of airing the series. When the TV contracts were renewed, the rights to broadcast Monday Night Football were awarded to Disney-owned corporate sibling ESPN. NBC won the rights to televise Sunday Night Football, marking the first time that the network broadcast NFL games since Super Bowl XXXII in 1998.[10] While the NFL had indicated that it wanted Sunday night to be the new night for its marquee game, ABC declined to renew, citing that it had lost millions of dollars on the MNF despite generating high ratings, and the network wanted to continue airing the TV series Desperate Housewives on Sunday nights.[11][12] Meanwhile, CBS and Fox renewed their television contracts to the AFC and the NFC packages, respectively.[13]

Cris Collinsworth left Fox to sit out the 2005 season before joining NBC as a studio analyst the following year, leaving Fox's lead broadcasting team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in a two-man booth.[14]


  1. ^ "NFL approves ban on horse-collar tackle". NFL.com. Archived from the original on May 27, 2005. Retrieved August 18, 2005.
  2. ^ "NFL History 2001 –". NFL.com. Archived from the original on October 13, 2005. Retrieved October 2, 2005.
  3. ^ Carroll, Bob (August 4, 1999). Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League. ISBN 0-06-270174-6.
  4. ^ "Chiefs-Dolphins game moved to Oct. 21". NFL.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2005. Retrieved October 21, 2005.
  5. ^ 2006 NFL Record and Fact Book. July 25, 2006. p. 421. ISBN 1-933405-32-5.
  6. ^ "NFL Playoff Procedures and Tiebreakers". Yahoo! Sports. December 31, 2006. Archived from the original on January 10, 2010.
  7. ^ "Records". 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. NFL. 2005. ISBN 1-932994-36-X.
  8. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2005 NFL Standings, Team & Offensive Statistics
  9. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2005 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics
  10. ^ "NFL announces new prime-time TV packages". NFL.com. Archived from the original on November 30, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  11. ^ Miller, Shales, James Andrew, Tom. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (PDF). p. 547.
  12. ^ Leonard Shapiro; Mark Maske (April 19, 2005). "'Monday Night Football' Changes the Channel". The Washington Post. p. A1. Archived from the original on September 22, 2018.
  13. ^ "NFL to remain on broadcast TV". NFL.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  14. ^ "Collinsworth Jumping To NBC". New York Post. July 13, 2005. Retrieved August 29, 2022.