The 2001 NFL season was the 82nd regular season of the National Football League.
Following a pattern set in 1999, the first week of the season was permanently moved to the weekend following Labor Day. With Super Bowls XXXVI-XXXVII already scheduled for fixed dates, the league initially decided to eliminate the Super Bowl bye weeks for those two years to adjust.
In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the games for September 16 – September 17 were postponed and re-scheduled to the weekend of January 6 – January 7. In order to retain the full playoff format, all playoff games, including the Super Bowl were re-scheduled one week later. The season-ending Pro Bowl was also moved to one week later. This was the last season in which each conference had 3 divisions, as the conferences were realigned to 4 divisions for the 2002 NFL Season.
Canceling the games scheduled for Sept. 16–17 was considered and rejected. That would have canceled a home game for half the teams of the league, and also would have resulted in an unequal number of games played (Sept. 16–17 was to have been a bye for the San Diego Chargers, so that team would still have played 16 games that season and each of the other teams would have played only 15 games; the Chargers ultimately finished 5-11, making any competitive advantages to playing an extra game moot).
As a result of rescheduling Week 2 as Week 17, the ESPN Sunday Night Football game for that week was changed. It was originally scheduled to be Cleveland at Pittsburgh, but it was replaced with Philadelphia at Tampa Bay, which was seen as a more interesting matchup (it was the only night game the Browns had on the schedule, whereas the Steelers had a few others; so 2000 and 2001 marked the first back-to-back seasons for the Browns without a primetime game since 1974–76; the Browns would finally play in Heinz Field at night in 2003). Ironically, the Eagles and the Buccaneers would both rest their starters that night, and they would meet one week later in the playoffs. In recognition of this, when NBC began airing Sunday Night Football in 2006, there would be no game initially scheduled for weeks 11–17 – a game initially scheduled in the afternoon would be moved to the primetime slot, without stripping any teams of a primetime appearance. This way of "flexible scheduling" would not be utilized at all in 2007, and since 2008, it is only utilized in the final week.
The games that eventually made up Week 17 marked the latest regular season games to be played during what is traditionally defined as "NFL season" (under the current format, the regular season cannot end later than January 3 in any given year).
Also, this was the only NFL season where every jersey had a patch to remember those who died in 9/11, and the New York Jets and New York Giants wore a patch to remember the firefighters who died.
The season ended with Super Bowl XXXVI when the New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams.
Major rule changes 
- Fumble recoveries will be awarded at the spot of the recovery, not where the player's momentum carries him. This change was passed in response to two regular season games in 2000, Atlanta Falcons–Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders–Seattle Seahawks, in which a safety was awarded when a defensive player's momentum in recovering a fumble carried him into his own end zone.
- Taunting rules will be strictly enforced.
- Roughing the passer will be strictly enforced.
2001 NFL Season Changes 
Coaching changes 
Final regular season standings 
W = Wins, L = Losses, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green. No ties occurred this year.
- New England finished ahead of Miami in the AFC East based on better division record (6–2 to Dolphins' 5–3).
- Cleveland finished ahead of Tennessee in the AFC Central based on better division record (5–5 to Titans' 3–7).
- Jacksonville finished ahead of Cincinnati in the AFC Central based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- N.Y. Giants finished ahead of Arizona in the NFC East based on head-to-head sweep (2–0).
- New Orleans finished ahead of Atlanta in the NFC West based on better division record (4–4 to Falcons' 3–5).
- Baltimore was the second AFC Wild Card based on better record against common opponents (3–2 to Jets' 2–2).
- Green Bay was the first NFC Wild Card based on better conference record (9–3 to 49ers' 8–4).
- * Indicates overtime victory
- Home team in capitals
The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season:
||Previous Record Holder
|Most Sacks, Season*
||Michael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5)
||Mark Gastineau, New York Jets, 1984 (22.0)
|Most Consecutive Games Lost, Season
||Tied by 4 teams (14)
* – Sack statistics have only been compiled since 1982.
Statistical leaders 
||St. Louis Rams (503)
|Total yards gained
||St. Louis Rams (6,930)
||Pittsburgh Steelers (2,774)
||St. Louis Rams (4,903)
|Fewest points allowed
||Chicago Bears (203)
|Fewest total yards allowed
||Pittsburgh Steelers (4,504)
|Fewest rushing yards allowed
||Pittsburgh Steelers (1,195)
|Fewest passing yards allowed
||Dallas Cowboys (3,019)
||Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (128 points)
||Marshall Faulk, St. Louis (21 TDs)
|Most field goals made
||Jason Elam, Denver (31 FGs)
||Priest Holmes, Kansas City (1,555 yards)
||Kurt Warner, St. Louis (101.4 rating)
||Kurt Warner, St. Louis (36 TDs)
||Rod Smith, Denver (113 catches)
|Pass receiving yards
||David Boston, Arizona (1,598)
||Troy Brown, New England (14.2 average yards)
||Ronney Jenkins, San Diego (26.6 average yards)
||Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay and Anthony Henry, Cleveland (10)
||Todd Sauerbrun, Carolina (47.5 average yards)
||Michael Strahan, New York Giants (22.5)
|Most Valuable Player
||Kurt Warner, Quarterback, St. Louis
|Coach of the Year
||Dick Jauron, Chicago
|Offensive Player of the Year
||Marshall Faulk, Running back, St. Louis
|Defensive Player of the Year
||Michael Strahan, Defensive End, New York Giants
|Offensive Rookie of the Year
||Anthony Thomas, Running Back, Chicago
|Defensive Rookie of the Year
||Kendrell Bell, Linebacker, Pittsburgh
|NFL Comeback Player of the Year
||Garrison Hearst, Running Back, San Francisco
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