- 2005 NFL season
2005 National Football League season Regular season Duration September 8, 2005 – January 1, 2006 Playoffs Start date January 7, 2006 AFC Champions Pittsburgh Steelers NFC Champions Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XL Date February 5, 2006 Site Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan Champions Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl Date February 12, 2006 Site Aloha Stadium National Football League seasons < 2004 2006 >
With the New England Patriots as the defending league champions, 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. New England was eliminated in the Divisional Playoff Round, and eventually the NFL title was won by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21–10 in Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on February 5 for their fifth Super Bowl win.
This 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 near the end of the season, the rights to broadcast Monday Night Football were awarded to Disney-owned corporate sibling ESPN. NBC bought the right to televise Sunday Night Football, marking the first time that the network broadcast NFL games since Super Bowl XXXII in 1998.  Meanwhile, CBS and Fox renewed their television contracts to the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference packages, respectively. 
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 a San Francisco 49ers – Arizona 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
Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the Louisiana Superdome and the greater New Orleans area, the entire New Orleans Saints' 2005 home schedule were played at different venues while the Saints set up temporary operations in San Antonio, Texas. The Saints' first home game on September 18 against the New York Giants was moved to Giants Stadium on September 19 (In which the N.Y. Giants won 27–10). The impromptu "Monday Night doubleheader" with the game already scheduled (Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys) was a success, and was made a permanent part of the schedule the next year when Monday Night Football made the move to ESPN. As a result of the unscheduled doubleheader, 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 3 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 because its own home field was deemed unplayable was in 2002, when the Chicago Bears played that season in Champaign, Illinois, 120 miles (200 km) away, due to the reconstruction of Soldier Field.  The last NFL team to abandon their home city during a season was the hapless 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 at the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, against the Bears on Thanksgiving; the Texans stunned the Bears, 27–23, in front of a crowd estimated at 3,000, for their only win of the season. 
Effect of Hurricane Wilma
The Sunday, October 23 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the 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. The Chiefs won the game, 30–20, and became the first visiting team to travel and play on the same day. Since the game was planned for Sunday afternoon, it is one of the few times in history that the Dolphins wore their road jerseys in a home game played at night.
Major rule changes
- The "horse-collar tackle," in which a defender grabs inside the back or side of an opponent’s shoulder pads and pulls that player down, is prohibited.  Named the "Roy Williams Rule" after the Dallas Cowboys defensive back whose horse-collar tackle during the last season caused serious injuries to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens, Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tyrone Calico, and Baltimore Ravens running back Musa Smith.
- Peel-back blocks (where an offensive player blocks a defender who is moving back toward the direction of his own end zone) below the waist and from the back are now illegal.
- Unnecessary roughness would be called for blocks away from the play on punters or kickers, similar to the same protection quarterbacks have after interceptions.
- When time is stopped by officials prior to the snap for any reason while time is in, the play clock resumes with the same amount of time that remained on it – with a minimum of 10 seconds. Previously, the play-clock would be reset to 25 seconds.
- During field goal and extra point attempts, the defensive team will be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct if it calls consecutive timeouts in an attempt to "ice" the kicker. Previously, the second timeout request was only denied by officials, and thus could be used to distract the kickers.
- Players cannot run, dive into, cut, or throw their bodies against or on an opponent who is out of the play or should not have reasonably anticipated such contact.
- If the defensive team commits a dead ball foul following the end of the half, the offensive team may choose to extend the period for one more play. Previously, the half automatically ended without the defensive team being penalized.
- During a punt, if the kicking team illegally touches the ball inside the 5-yard line, the receiving team has the option of either treating the result as a touchback or replaying the down with a 5-yard penalty against the kicking team. Previously, the receiving team's only options were either the latter or taking over possession at the spot of the foul. This change prevents an ineligible player from keeping a kick from entering the end zone and becoming a touchback.
- If the kicking team commits a penalty, the receiving team can have the option of adding five yards to the return or taking a penalty and forcing the kicking team to rekick the ball. Previously they could take the latter or decline the penalty.
- If a team calls for an instant replay challenge after it has used all its challenges or is out of timeouts, it will be assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The penalty will also be assessed if a team calls for a challenge inside of two minutes of either half or overtime, when only the replay assistant can initiate reviews. Previously, the request was only denied by the Referee. This change was made to prevent head coaches from constantly stopping the game for any reason, including to just argue with the Referee.
- Teams are only able to request an instant replay challenge by tossing their red flag to get the attention of officials. The league decided to do away with the electronic pager/vibrating alert system used by head coaches because practically all of them always used their red flags instead of their pagers anyway. (However, the replay assistant will still use the pagers to notify the officials of a replay request.)
2005 NFL Changes
- Buffalo Bills – Added third alternative uniforms. The 1960s throwback with the white helmets with the red buffalo.
- Indianapolis Colts – New Grass field.
- New York Giants – New road uniforms. Red numbers, red stripping on sleeve ends.
- Detroit Lions – Added third alternative uniforms. Black.
- New Orleans Saints – Played in Baton Rouge Tiger Stadium and in San Antonio Alamodome due to Louisiana Superdome damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
- St.Louis Rams – New alternative navy road pants.
- Arizona Cardinals – New logo. New uniforms.
- Cleveland Browns – Romeo Crennel; replaced interim head coach Terry Robiskie who replaced Butch Davis. Davis resigned after 11 games during the 2004 season.
- Miami Dolphins – Nick Saban; replaced interim head coach Jim Bates who replaced Dave Wannstedt who resigned during the 2004 season.
- San Francisco 49ers – Mike Nolan; replaced Dennis Erickson who was fired following the 2004 season.
Final regular season standings
W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, PCT = Winning Percentage, PF= Points For, PA = Points Against
Clinched playoff seeds are marked in parentheses and shaded in green
AFC East Team W L T PCT PF PA (4) New England Patriots 10 6 0 .625 379 338 Miami Dolphins 9 7 0 .562 318 317 Buffalo Bills 5 11 0 .312 271 367 New York Jets 4 12 0 .250 240 355 AFC North Team W L T PCT PF PA (3) Cincinnati Bengals [a] 11 5 0 .688 421 350 (6) Pittsburgh Steelers 11 5 0 .688 389 258 Baltimore Ravens [b] 6 10 0 .375 265 299 Cleveland Browns 6 10 0 .375 232 301 AFC South Team W L T PCT PF PA (1) Indianapolis Colts 14 2 0 .875 439 247 (5) Jacksonville Jaguars 12 4 0 .750 361 269 Tennessee Titans 4 12 0 .250 299 421 Houston Texans 2 14 0 .125 260 431 AFC West Team W L T PCT PF PA (2) Denver Broncos 13 3 0 .812 395 258 Kansas City Chiefs 10 6 0 .625 403 325 San Diego Chargers 9 7 0 .562 418 312 Oakland Raiders 4 12 0 .250 290 383 NFC East Team W L T PCT PF PA (4) New York Giants 11 5 0 .688 422 314 (6) Washington Redskins 10 6 0 .625 359 293 Dallas Cowboys 9 7 0 .562 325 308 Philadelphia Eagles 6 10 0 .375 310 388 NFC North Team W L T PCT PF PA (2) Chicago Bears [d] 11 5 0 .688 260 202 Minnesota Vikings 9 7 0 .562 306 344 Detroit Lions 5 11 0 .312 254 345 Green Bay Packers 4 12 0 .250 298 344 NFC South Team W L T PCT PF PA (3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers [c][e] 11 5 0 .688 300 274 (5) Carolina Panthers 11 5 0 .688 391 259 Atlanta Falcons 8 8 0 .500 351 341 New Orleans Saints 3 13 0 .188 235 398 NFC West Team W L T PCT PF PA (1) Seattle Seahawks 13 3 0 .812 452 271 St. Louis Rams 6 10 0 .375 363 429 Arizona Cardinals 5 11 0 .312 311 387 San Francisco 49ers 4 12 0 .250 239 428
- a Cincinnati finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the AFC North based on better division record (5–1 to 4–2).
- b Baltimore finished ahead of Cleveland in the AFC North based on better division record (2–4 to 1–5).
- c Tampa Bay finished ahead of Carolina in the NFC South based on better division record (5–1 to 4–2).
- d Chicago clinched the NFC's #2 seed instead of Tampa Bay or the N.Y. Giants based on better conference record (10–2 to Buccaneers' 9–3 and Giants' 8–4).
- e Tampa Bay clinched the NFC's #3 seed instead of the N.Y. Giants based on better conference record (9–3 to 8–4).
Playoff seeds Seed AFC NFC 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 Carolina Panthers 6 Pittsburgh Steelers Washington Redskins
January 8 - Giants Stadium January 15 - Soldier Field 5 Carolina 23 5 Carolina 29 4 N.Y. Giants 0 January 22 - Qwest Field 2 Chicago 21 NFC January 7 - Raymond James Stadium 5 Carolina 14 January 14 - Qwest Field 1 Seattle 34 6 Washington 17 NFC Championship 6 Washington 10 3 Tampa Bay 10 February 5 - Ford Field 1 Seattle 20 Wild Card Playoffs Divisional Playoffs January 8 - Paul Brown Stadium N1 Seattle 10 January 15 - RCA Dome A6 Pittsburgh 21 6 Pittsburgh 31 Super Bowl XL 6 Pittsburgh 21 3 Cincinnati 17 January 22 - Invesco Field at Mile High 1 Indianapolis 18 AFC January 7 - Gillette Stadium 6 Pittsburgh 34 January 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
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