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2011 NFL Kickoff: Excitement on the Horizon

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Official NFL Release

NFL RATCHETS UP THE EXCITEMENT...HOPE IS ALIVE!

The 2010 season was full of excitement, but that should be no surprise. Unpredictability is the norm in today's NFL.

Scoring at a 45-year high...passing records falling...record-breaking streaks continuing (and ending)...new teams making the playoffs and winning divisions...consistent teams excelling once again...young (and, in some cases, undrafted) players making their mark...and so much more!

"Every week stands on its own. Every game is tough. Every team can beat any other team," says Baltimore Ravens head coach JOHN HARBAUGH. "You've always got to be on top of your game. You've got to play well to win."

The NFL is never short on surprises, and the 2010 season was no different.

A record 11,283 points were scored, with games averaging 44.07 points, the highest average in 45 seasons (46.12 in 1965). In all, 1,270 total touchdowns were scored, tying the league-wide record set in 2002.

A record-tying 13 teams won at least 10 games - New England (14), Atlanta (13), Baltimore (12), Pittsburgh (12), Chicago (11), New Orleans (11), N.Y. Jets (11), Green Bay (10), Indianapolis (10), Kansas City (10), N.Y. Giants (10), Philadelphia (10) and Tampa Bay (10). Thirteen teams also did so in 2003 and 2005.

The 2011 season promises more of the same. Every team enters the new year with hope!

Last season, five teams - Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Seattle - made the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before. It marked the 15th consecutive season in which at least five teams (out of 12) accomplished the feat.

SEASON

PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON'S PLAYOFFS

1996

5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)

1997

5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)

1998

5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)

1999

7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2000

6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)

2001

6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)

2002

5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)

2003

8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)

2004

5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)

2005

7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)

2006

7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)

2007

6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2008

7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

2009

6 (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, New York Jets)

2010

5 (Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle)

Kansas City rebounded to win the AFC West after a last-place finish in 2009. This marked the NFL-record eighth consecutive season that a team went from "worst-to-first" in its division. Of the 33 teams to go from "worst-to-first" in NFL annals, 16 of them have done so since 2000.


THE NFL IS SO UNPREDICTABLE THAT IN 2010...

Nothing exhibits the unpredictability of the NFL more than the tightness of NFL games:

  • "A lot of real close, competitive games come down to the last possession, the last play or one key play right at the end of the game," says New England Patriots head coachBILL BELICHICK. "The league is very competitive all the way across the board."

    Games continued to be this close. Nearly 67% were within one score in the fourth quarter:

GAMES DECIDED BY ONE SCORE

GAMES WITHIN ONE SCORE

AT ANY POINT IN 4TH QUARTER

POINTS

GAMES

PCT.

POINTS

GAMES

PCT.

8 or Fewer

130 of 256

50.8%

8 or Fewer

171 of 256

66.8%

7 or Fewer

121 of 256

47.3%

7 or Fewer

166 of 256

64.8%

3 or Fewer

65 of 256

25.4%

3 or Fewer

123 of 256

48.0%

  • There were six new division winners in 2010 - Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle - tied for the most such clubs since realignment in 2002.

Three teams - Tampa Bay (seven-game improvement), Kansas City (six) and St. Louis (six) - combined for a 19-game improvement from 2009 to 2010.


KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL TEAMS

Longest Streaks

Longest Streaks

AFC

W

L

T

Pct.

Win

Loss

Current

NFC

W

L

T

Pct.

Win

Loss

Current

Denver

32

18

1

.637

4

4

L-1

Dallas

34

16

1

.677

17

5

L-1

Jacksonville

10

6

0

.625

6

3

W-1

N.Y. Giants

49

32

5

.599

4

3

W-3

San Diego

29

22

0

.569

6

6

L-1

Chicago

51

35

5

.588

9

6

W-1

Pittsburgh

40

32

4

.553

8

3

W-8

Green Bay

51

36

3

.583

5

6

W-4

Miami

24

20

1

.544

11

5

W-1

Minnesota

28

21

1

.570

5

3

L-1

Kansas City

27

24

0

.529

7

4

W-1

Atlanta

24

21

0

.533

5

3

L-1

New England

27

24

0

.529

7

3

W-7

Detroit

42

37

2

.531

10

4

L-3

Tennessee

27

24

0

.529

4

3

W-1

St. Louis

38

35

0

.521

5

6

L-4

Indianapolis

34

32

1

.515

8

8

L-1

San Francisco

31

29

1

.516

5

3

L-1

Oakland

24

27

0

.471

5

8

L-8

Washington

38

37

4

.506

6

5

W-1

Baltimore

7

8

0

.467

3

4

W-3

Arizona

36

52

2

.411

6

7

W-1

Cleveland

27

31

0

.466

5

6

L-6

Philadelphia

31

45

1

.409

5

9

L-1

Houston

4

5

0

.444

2

3

W-1

Tampa Bay

14

21

0

.400

3

5

W-1

Cincinnati

19

24

0

.442

4

4

L-3

Carolina

6

10

0

.375

3

4

L-2

N.Y. Jets

22

29

0

.431

3

5

L-1

Seattle

13

22

0

.371

3

8

W-2

Buffalo

20

31

0

.392

6

5

L-2

New Orleans

16

28

0

.364

3

6

W-3