A Look Back At The 2010 NFL Season

2010 was full of plenty of excitement as far as NFL seasons are concerned. New teams have made the playoffs, new players have had breakout seasons, new records have been set. Here's a look back at some of the more notable achievements across the league.

From NFL Media

2010 HAD IT ALL!

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!

The 2010 season really did have it all. And each of the 12 teams still in Super Bowl contention can look back at the wild ride that was the 2010 regular season and appreciate how difficult the road to the playoffs was.

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

The best examples of this sentiment this season were the six new division winners in 2010 – Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle – which tied for the most such clubs since realignment in 2002 (six in 2003 and 2008).

The only two repeat division champions from a season ago – New England (AFC East) and Indianapolis (AFC South) – are no strangers to first place.

BILL BELICHICK, whose Patriots finished with an NFL-best 14-2 record, became the first head coach ever to win at least 14 regular-season games in four separate seasons (14 in 2003; 14 in 2004; 16 in 2007).

The Colts qualified for the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, tying the Dallas Cowboys (1975-83) for the longest such streak in NFL history. Indy also notched its ninth consecutive 10-win season, the second-longest streak in league annals (16, San Francisco, 1983-98).


The NFL is never short on surprises, and that leads to the excitement we witnessed in 2010:

  • 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.
  • For the 15th consecutive season, at least five teams made the playoffs that did not advance the year before. Five clubs – Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Seattle – accomplished the feat this year.
  • 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.
  • Three teams – Tampa Bay (seven-game improvement), Kansas City (six) and St. Louis (six) – combined for a 19-game improvement from 2009 to 2010.
  • A record-tying 13 teams won 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.

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 Belichick. "The league is very competitive all the way across the board." Nothing exhibits that more than the tightness of NFL games.

Games continued to be thisclose. 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







8 or fewer

130 of 256



8 or fewer

171 of 256


7 or fewer

121 of 256



7 or fewer

166 of 256


3 or fewer

65 of 256



3 or fewer

123 of 256



For more on this article including:

Which quarterbacks had 3,000 yard seasons, who threw fro 25+ touchdowns, which records were tied or broken in 2010 and more ...



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