The 2011 NFL season was the 92nd regular season of the National Football League. It began on Thursday, September 8, 2011, with the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers defeating the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints 42?34 at Lambeau Field and ended with Super Bowl XLVI, the league's championship game, on February 5, 2012, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis where the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21?17.
Due to a labor dispute between league owners and players, a lockout began on March 11 and ended on July 25, lasting 18 weeks and 4 days (130 days). Although it initially threatened to postpone or cancel the season, the only game that was canceled was the August 7 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.
The 2011 season saw an unprecedented amount of passing offense: Four of the six highest passing yardage totals of all time were established 2011: No. 1 Drew Brees (5,476), No. 2 Tom Brady (5,235), No. 5 Matthew Stafford (5,038) and No. 6 Eli Manning (4,933).
Further cementing the modern NFL's reputation as a "passing league" was the fact that, for the second consecutive year, the league overall set a record for most average passing yards per team per game, with 229.7, breaking 2010's record by more than eight yards per game.(For comparison, the league-wide average rushing yards total finished the 2011 season at 57th all-time.)
A subplot of the 2011 season was determining who would have the worst record, and therefore "earn" the right to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Stanford senior quarterback Andrew Luck was seen as the best quarterback prospect in years. Fans of some teams that started the season with numerous losses (notably Indianapolis) were openly rooting for their teams to "Suck for Luck."