2006 NFL season

2006 National Football League season

2006 NFL season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7 – December 31, 2006
Start dateJanuary 6, 2007
AFC ChampionsIndianapolis Colts
NFC ChampionsChicago Bears
Super Bowl XLI
DateFebruary 4, 2007
SiteDolphin Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
ChampionsIndianapolis Colts
Pro Bowl
DateFebruary 10, 2007 (2007-02-10)
SiteAloha Stadium
2006 NFL season is located in the United States
AFC teams: West, North, South, East
2006 NFL season is located in the United States
NFC teams: West, North, South, East

The 2006 NFL season was the 87th regular season of the National Football League (NFL). Regular season play was held from September 7 to December 31, 2006.

The season began with the reigning Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Miami Dolphins in the NFL Kickoff Game.

The NFL title was eventually won by the Indianapolis Colts, when they defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium at Miami Gardens, Florida on February 4, 2007.

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 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; greatly increased television rights fees with its broadcasters, including the addition of the Fox network and its NFL programming; and maintained labor peace with the players' union.


The 2006 NFL draft was held from April 29 to 30, 2006 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. With the first pick, the Houston Texans selected defensive end Mario Williams from North Carolina State University.

New referees

Bernie Kukar and Tom White retired. Jerome Boger and Gene Steratore were promoted to referee.

Notable Retirements

Major rule changes

The Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers in snow at Qwest Field, November 27, 2006
  • End zone celebrations became more restricted. Players cannot celebrate by using any type of prop, or do any act in which they are on the ground. Players may still spike, spin the ball, or (until 2014), dunk it over the goal posts. Dancing in the end zone is also permitted as long as it is not a prolonged or group celebration. The Lambeau Leap, though, is still legal.[1]
  • Defenders were prohibited from hitting a passer in the knee or below unless they are blocked into him. This rule was enacted in response to the previous season's injuries to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Brian Griese.
  • Down-by-contact calls could now be reviewed by instant replay to determine if a player fumbled the ball before he was down, and who recovered it. Previously, these plays could not be reversed once officials blew the whistle.
  • The "horse-collar tackle" rule enacted during the previous 2005 season was expanded. Players are now prohibited from tackling a ball carrier from the rear by tugging inside his jersey. Previously, it was only illegal if the tackler's hand got inside the player's shoulder pads.
  • To reduce injuries, defensive players cannot line up directly over the long snapper during field goal and extra point attempts.

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. Also, a black stripe was added to each side of the white knickers. This was the first major design overhaul since 1979, when the position name was added to the shirt, but later abbreviated in 1982.

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 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.[2]

"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.

2006 deaths

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.

Regular season

Schedule formula

Based on the NFL's scheduling formula, the intraconference and interconference matchups for 2006 were:



Flexible scheduling added to regular season

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 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 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT, except those played in the Pacific or Mountain time zones, which will have a tentative start time of 4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT (or 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT if it is on the doubleheader network). On the Tuesday 12 days before the games, the league moved one game to the Sunday Night Football slot, and possibly one or more 1 p.m. slotted games to the 4:05/4:15 p.m. slots. During the last week of the season, the league could reschedule 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.

Week 10: The ChicagoNew York Giants game was flexed into Sunday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC and the New OrleansPittsburgh game was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on Fox.

Week 11: The San DiegoDenver game was flexed into SNF and the IndianapolisDallas game was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS.

Week 12:

Week 13:

  • The Seattle–Denver game was flexed into SNF.
  • The JacksonvilleMiami game was flexed to 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.
  • The Dallas–New York Giants and Tampa Bay–Pittsburgh games were flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on Fox.

Week 14: The New Orleans–Dallas game was flexed into SNF and the BuffaloNew York Jets game was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS.

Week 15: The Kansas City–San Diego game was flexed into SNF and the Philadelphia–New York Giants game was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on Fox.

Week 17:

  • The Green Bay–Chicago game was flexed into NBC Sunday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The Buffalo–Baltimore and Miami–Indianapolis games were flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on CBS
  • The Atlanta–Philadelphia game was flexed to 4:15 p.m. ET on Fox.

Regular season standings


AFC East
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(4) New England Patriots 12 4 0 .750 4–2 8–4 385 237 W3
(5) New York Jets 10 6 0 .625 4–2 7–5 316 295 W3
Buffalo Bills 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 300 311 L2
Miami Dolphins 6 10 0 .375 1–5 3–9 260 283 L3
AFC North
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(2) Baltimore Ravens 13 3 0 .813 5–1 10–2 353 201 W4
Cincinnati Bengals 8 8 0 .500 4–2 6–6 373 331 L3
Pittsburgh Steelers 8 8 0 .500 3–3 5–7 353 315 W1
Cleveland Browns 4 12 0 .250 0–6 3–9 238 356 L4
AFC South
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(3) Indianapolis Colts 12 4 0 .750 3–3 9–3 427 360 W1
Tennessee Titans 8 8 0 .500 4–2 5–7 324 400 L1
Jacksonville Jaguars 8 8 0 .500 2–4 5–7 371 274 L3
Houston Texans 6 10 0 .375 3–3 6–6 267 366 W2
AFC West
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(1) San Diego Chargers 14 2 0 .875 5–1 10–2 492 303 W10
(6) Kansas City Chiefs 9 7 0 .563 4–2 5–7 331 315 W2
Denver Broncos 9 7 0 .563 3–3 8–4 319 305 L1
Oakland Raiders 2 14 0 .125 0–6 1–11 168 332 L9
NFC East
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(3) Philadelphia Eagles 10 6 0 .625 5–1 9–3 398 328 W5
(5) Dallas Cowboys 9 7 0 .563 2–4 6–6 425 350 L2
(6) New York Giants 8 8 0 .500 4–2 7–5 355 362 W1
Washington Redskins 5 11 0 .313 1–5 3–9 307 376 L2
NFC North
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(1) Chicago Bears 13 3 0 .813 5–1 11–1 427 255 L1
Green Bay Packers 8 8 0 .500 5–1 7–5 301 366 W4
Minnesota Vikings 6 10 0 .375 2–4 6–6 282 387 L3
Detroit Lions 3 13 0 .188 0–6 2–10 305 398 W1
NFC South
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(2) New Orleans Saints 10 6 0 .625 4–2 9–3 413 322 L1
Carolina Panthers 8 8 0 .500 5–1 6–6 270 305 W2
Atlanta Falcons 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 292 328 L3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 12 0 .250 0–6 2–10 211 353 L1
NFC West
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(4) Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 3–3 7–5 335 341 W1
St. Louis Rams 8 8 0 .500 2–4 6–6 367 381 W3
San Francisco 49ers 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 298 412 W1
Arizona Cardinals 5 11 0 .313 4–2 5–7 314 389 L1


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Division leaders
1 San Diego Chargers West 14 2 0 .875 5–1 10–2 .457 .424 W10
2 Baltimore Ravens North 13 3 0 .813 5–1 10–2 .461 .447 W4
3[a] Indianapolis Colts South 12 4 0 .750 3–3 9–3 .500 .505 W1
4[a] New England Patriots East 12 4 0 .750 4–2 8–4 .496 .469 W3
Wild cards
5 New York Jets East 10 6 0 .625 4–2 7–5 .469 .400 W3
6[b] Kansas City Chiefs West 9 7 0 .563 4–2 5–7 .492 .444 W2
Did not qualify for the postseason
7[b] Denver Broncos West 9 7 0 .563 3–3 8–4 .531 .438 L1
8[c][d] Cincinnati Bengals North 8 8 0 .563 4–2 6–6 .535 .453 L3
9[c][e][f] Tennessee Titans South 8 8 0 .500 4–2 5–7 .570 .484 L1
10[f][g] Jacksonville Jaguars South 8 8 0 .500 2–4 5–7 .531 .555 L3
11[d][g] Pittsburgh Steelers North 8 8 0 .500 3–3 5–7 .496 .414 W1
12 Buffalo Bills East 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 .574 .446 L2
13[h] Houston Texans South 6 10 0 .375 3–3 6–6 .504 .417 W2
14[h] Miami Dolphins East 6 10 0 .375 1–5 3–9 .543 .531 L3
15 Cleveland Browns North 4 12 0 .250 0–6 3–9 .535 .438 L4
16 Oakland Raiders West 2 14 0 .125 0–6 1–11 .555 .406 L9
  1. ^ a b Indianapolis finished ahead of New England based on head-to-head victory.
  2. ^ a b Kansas City finished ahead of Denver based on division record.
  3. ^ a b Cincinnati finished ahead of Tennessee based on conference record. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Pittsburgh (see below).
  4. ^ a b Cincinnati finished ahead of Pittsburgh based on division record.
  5. ^ Tennessee finished ahead of Pittsburgh based on strength of victory. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Jacksonville (see below).
  6. ^ a b Tennessee finished ahead of Jacksonville based on division record.
  7. ^ a b Jacksonville finished ahead of Pittsburgh based on head-to-head victory.
  8. ^ a b Houston finished ahead of Miami based on head-to-head victory.
  9. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest ranked remaining team from each division.

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Division leaders
1 Chicago Bears North 13 3 0 .813 5–1 11–1 .430 .404 L1
2[a] New Orleans Saints South 10 6 0 .625 4–2 9–3 .461 .425 L1
3[a] Philadelphia Eagles East 10 6 0 .625 5–1 9–3 .477 .450 W5
4 Seattle Seahawks West 9 7 0 .563 3–3 7–5 .453 .382 W1
Wild cards
5 Dallas Cowboys East 9 7 0 .563 2–4 6–6 .457 .438 L2
6[b][c] New York Giants East 8 8 0 .500 4–2 7–5 .520 .422 W1
Did not qualify for the postseason
7[b][c] Green Bay Packers North 8 8 0 .500 5–1 7–5 .500 .383 W4
8[c][d] Carolina Panthers South 8 8 0 .500 5–1 6–6 .473 .469 W2
9[c][d] St. Louis Rams West 8 8 0 .500 2–4 6–6 .465 .352 W3
10[e] San Francisco 49ers West 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 .500 .411 W1
11[e] Atlanta Falcons South 7 9 0 .438 3–3 5–7 .457 .375 L3
12 Minnesota Vikings North 6 10 0 .375 2–4 6–6 .488 .344 L3
13[f] Arizona Cardinals West 5 11 0 .313 4–2 5–7 .500 .425 L1
14[f] Washington Redskins East 5 11 0 .313 1–5 3–9 .512 .513 L2
15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers South 4 12 0 .250 0–6 2–10 .535 .422 L1
16 Detroit Lions North 3 13 0 .188 0–6 2–10 .523 .479 W1
  1. ^ a b New Orleans finished ahead of Philadelphia based on head-to-head victory.
  2. ^ a b NY Giants finished ahead of Green Bay based on strength of victory.
  3. ^ a b c d NY Giants and Green Bay finish ahead of Carolina and St. Louis based on conference records.
  4. ^ a b Carolina finished ahead of St. Louis based on head-to-head victory.
  5. ^ a b San Francisco finished ahead of Atlanta based on strength of victory.
  6. ^ a b Arizona finished ahead of Washington based on conference record.
  7. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest-ranked remaining team from each division.


Within each conference, the four division winners and the top two non-division winners with the best overall regular season records) qualified for the playoffs. The four division winners are seeded 1–4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, and the wild card teams are seeded 5–6. 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 received a first-round bye. 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 met in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the championship round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference.[4]

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
Wild Card playoffs
Divisional playoffs
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 OT victory
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Pro Bowl


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

Record Player/team Date/opponent Previous record holder[5]
Most points scored, 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 scored, 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 scored San Diego Chargers (492)
Total yards gained New Orleans Saints (6,264)
Yards rushing Atlanta Falcons (2,939)
Yards passing New Orleans Saints (4,503)
Fewest points allowed Baltimore Ravens (201)
Fewest total yards allowed Baltimore Ravens (4,225)
Fewest rushing yards allowed Minnesota Vikings (985)
Fewest passing yards allowed Oakland Raiders (2,413)


Scoring LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (186 points)
Touchdowns LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (31 TDs)
Most field goals made Robbie Gould, Chicago and Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis (32 FGs)
Rushing LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego (1,815 yards)
Passer rating Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (101.0 rating)
Passing touchdowns Peyton Manning, Indianapolis (31 TDs)
Passing yards Drew Brees, New Orleans (4,418 yards)
Pass receptions Andre Johnson, Houston (103 catches)
Pass receiving yards Chad Johnson, Cincinnati (1,369 yards)
Punt returns Adam "Pacman" Jones, Tennessee (12.9 average yards)
Kickoff returns Justin Miller, New York Jets (28.3 average yards)
Interceptions Asante Samuel, New England and Champ Bailey, Denver (10)
Punting Mat McBriar, Dallas (48.2 average yards)
Sacks Shawne Merriman, San Diego (17)


Most Valuable Player LaDainian Tomlinson, running back, San Diego Chargers
Coach of the Year Sean 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
Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year LaDainian Tomlinson, running back, San Diego Chargers and Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints
Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Peyton Manning, quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

All-Pro Team
Quarterback Drew Brees, New Orleans
Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego
Larry Johnson, Kansas City
Fullback Lorenzo Neal, San Diego
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati
Tight end Antonio Gates, San Diego
Offensive tackle Willie Anderson, Cincinnati
Jammal Brown, New Orleans
Offensive guard Alan Faneca, Pittsburgh
Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia
Center Olin Kreutz, Chicago
Defensive end Jason Taylor, Miami
Julius Peppers, Carolina
Defensive tackle Jamal Williams, San Diego
Kevin Williams, Minnesota
Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, San Diego
Adalius Thomas, Baltimore
Inside linebacker Brian Urlacher, Chicago
Zach Thomas, Miami
Cornerback Champ Bailey, Denver
Rashean Mathis, Jacksonville
Safety Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia
Ed Reed, Baltimore
Special teams
Kicker Robbie Gould, Chicago
Punter Brian Moorman, Buffalo
Kick returner Devin Hester, Chicago

Team superlatives


  • Most points scored: San Diego, 492
  • Fewest points scored: Oakland, 168
  • Most total offensive yards: New Orleans, 6,264
  • Fewest total offensive yards: Oakland, 3,939
  • Most total passing yards: New Orleans, 4,503
  • Fewest total passing yards: Atlanta, 2,371
  • Most rushing yards: Atlanta, 2,939
  • Fewest rushing yards: Detroit, 1,129



  • Fewest points allowed: Baltimore, 201
  • Most points allowed: San Francisco, 412
  • Fewest total yards allowed: Baltimore, 4,225
  • Most total yards allowed: Tennessee, 5,915
  • Fewest passing yards allowed: Oakland, 2,413
  • Most passing yards allowed: Cincinnati / Minnesota (tie), 3,818
  • Fewest rushing yards allowed: Minnesota, 985
  • Most rushing yards allowed: Indianapolis, 2,768


Coaching changes

Stadium changes

Uniform changes

  • The Minnesota Vikings added trim lines to the outside shoulders and sleeves, and the jersey sides and pants. The horn on the helmet was also modified to be slightly more defined. Purple pants were also worn at selected games.
  • The New Orleans Saints began wearing black pants at selected games.

Ticket sellouts

Through week 11 of the season, all NFL games had been sold out, and for the 24th time, all blackout restrictions had been lifted.[8] The streak was ended by the Jacksonville at Buffalo game in Week 12.[9]


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 (it also marked the network's return to carrying NFL games since the end of the 1997 season).[10] ESPN became the new home of Monday Night Football.[10] Disney-owned corporate sibling ABC had lost millions of dollars on televising MNF during the late 1990s and 2000s despite generating high ratings, and with the NFL wanting Sunday night to be the new night for its marquee game, ABC preferred to protect its Desperate Housewives franchise rather than move the comedy-drama show to another night.[11][12] By September 2006, ABC began using the ESPN on ABC brand after ABC Sports was fully integrated into ESPN (ABC would not air NFL games again, whether exclusive or a simulcast from ESPN, until they began simulcasting a Wild Card playoff game in 2016, and began simulcasting select MNF games in 2020).[13] Meanwhile, CBS and Fox renewed their television contracts to the AFC and the NFC packages, respectively.[14] ESPN's new deal was for eight seasons through 2013, while the new agreements with NBC, CBS, and Fox were initially for six seasons through 2011.[10][14]

Initially, NBC was able to hire color commentator John Madden, MNF lead producer Fred Gaudelli, and MNF director Drew Esocoff from ABC. However, play-by-play announcer Al Michaels remained under contract with ABC/ESPN, and plans were originally for him to be teamed with Joe Theismann, who would be coming over from ESPN Sunday Night Football.[15] In February 2006, the two networks' parent companies, The Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal, agreed to a multi-asset trade that, among others, allowed Michaels to sign with NBC, while Disney took ownership of the intellectual property of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (a cartoon character developed by Walt Disney himself in the 1920s) from NBCUniversal.[16] ESPN then opted to go with Mike Tirico on play-by-play, and Theismann and Tony Kornheiser as analysts.[17]

For its new pregame show Football Night in America, NBC gained the exclusive rights from ESPN's NFL Primetime to show extensive highlights of Sunday afternoon games prior to Sunday Night Football. ESPN responded by moving its show to Mondays. Bob Costas became the host of Football Night in America, while Cris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis, and Sterling Sharpe became its studio analysts.

The league-owned NFL Network was given an eight-game package, consisting of five Thursday Night Football games and three Saturday game that began airing from Thanksgiving to the end of the regular season. The NFL Network hired HBO Sports' Bryant Gumbel as play-by-play announcer, NBC's Collinsworth as the color commentator for the Thursday telecasts, and Dick Vermeil replacing Collinsworth for Saturday telecasts.

James Brown moved from Fox to CBS, replacing Greg Gumbel as host of The NFL Today. Gumbel then replaced Dick Enberg as the network's #2 play-by-play announcer, and Enberg was demoted to #3.

Fox announced that Joe Buck would replace Brown as lead host on Fox NFL Sunday. Because Buck was already serving as Fox's lead play-by-play announcer, the pregame show was primarily broadcast from the site where Buck was calling the game, and Curt Menefee hosted the halftime and postgame segments. Menefee substituted for Buck as the full-time host when Buck was calling the Major League Baseball playoffs.

Beginning this season and continuing until 2012; CBS would not use sideline reporters for regular season coverage.

External links

  • Football Outsiders 2006 DVOA Rankings


  1. ^ Expert: Simple celebration rule – stay on your feet – NFL – MSNBC.com
  2. ^ "Michael Eisen – Story – 3.27 "The Duke" is Back – Giants.com". Archived from the original on October 21, 2006. Retrieved April 1, 2006.
  3. ^ a b "2006 Conference Standings". NFL.com. Retrieved February 7, 2024.
  4. ^ "NFL Playoff Procedures and Tiebreakers". Yahoo! Sports. December 31, 2006. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010.
  5. ^ "NFL.com – NFL Record and Fact Book". NFL.com. Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  6. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2006 NFL Standings, Team & Offensive Statistics
  7. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com: 2006 NFL Opposition & Defensive Statistics
  8. ^ "All games sold out for 11th consecutive week". NFL.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "In depth: Frustration in Buffalo shows how NFL's television policies irking fan base". USA Today. November 26, 2006. Retrieved November 27, 2006.
  10. ^ a b c "NFL announces new prime-time TV packages". NFL.com. Archived from the original on November 30, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Miller, Shales, James Andrew, Tom. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (PDF). p. 547.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Miller, Shales, James Andrew, Tom. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (PDF). p. 562.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ a b "NFL to remain on broadcast TV". NFL.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2005. Retrieved December 13, 2005.
  15. ^ "Michaels, Theismann, Kolber, Tafoya to crew MNF". ESPN. July 26, 2005. Archived from the original on January 15, 2007.
  16. ^ "NBC acquires Michaels for cartoon bunny, golf". Associated Press. February 13, 2006. Archived from the original on February 22, 2006.
  17. ^ "ESPN names new MNF team; Breen to call NBA games". ESPN. February 10, 2006. Archived from the original on November 7, 2011.
  • 2006 NFL Schedule (Last accessed April 6, 2006)
  • NFL curtails end-zone celebrations from NFL.com, March 29, 2006 (Last accessed March 29, 2006)
  • Process of game-time decisions will eliminate TV duds, create chaos by Michael Hiestand, USA Today, April 5, 2006 (Last accessed November 6, 2006)
  • 2007 NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 978-1-933821-85-6)