|Duration||September 1 – December 23, 1991|
|Start date||December 28, 1991|
|AFC Champions||Buffalo Bills|
|NFC Champions||Washington Redskins|
|Super Bowl XXVI|
|Date||January 26, 1992|
|Site||Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|Date||February 2, 1992|
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.
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).
|Dec. 29 – Soldier Field||Jan. 5 – Pontiac Silverdome|
|4||Chicago||13||Jan. 12 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium|
|Dec. 28 – Louisiana Superdome||2||Detroit||10|
|Jan. 4 – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium|
|3||New Orleans||20||Jan. 26 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome|
|Wild card playoffs|
|Dec. 29 – Astrodome||N1||Washington||37|
|Jan. 4 – Mile High Stadium|
|6||NY Jets||10||Super Bowl XXVI|
|3||Houston||17||Jan. 12 – Rich Stadium|
|Dec. 28 – Arrowhead Stadium||2||Denver||7|
|Jan. 5 – Rich Stadium|
|5||LA Raiders||6||AFC Championship|
|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|
- Cleveland Browns: Bill Belichick was named the permanent replacement, after Bud Carson was fired after the first nine games of 1990, and Jim Shofner served as interim for the final seven games.
- New England Patriots: Dick MacPherson replaced the fired Rod Rust.
- New York Giants: Bill Parcells resigned following the team's Super Bowl XXV victory, and was replaced by Ray Handley.
- Philadelphia Eagles: Rich Kotite was hired after the team opted to not renew Buddy Ryan's contract.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Richard Williamson became the permanent head coach, after serving as interim for the final three games of 1990 following the firing of Ray Perkins.
- Indianapolis Colts: Ron Meyer was fired after five games, and Rick Venturi then served as interim for the final 11 games.
- 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