Scoring in the NFL has undergone a noticeable shift from the past.
Do you find that NFL teams are struggling to put points on the board this season? Does “2023” seem more like a low-scoring result than a year when watching the games? Perhaps you witness a smattering of touchdowns, a handful of field-goal attempts, and that inevitable missed chip shot that lingers ominously over your team’s performance throughout the entire day.
You’re not alone in this perception. NFL offenses have been stuttering, registering the lowest points per game (20.5) during the first six weeks of a season since 2010. Furthermore, a range of underlying statistics has made this season feel like it’s stuck in a recession era.
Offenses are struggling to generate significant plays, whether through the air or on the ground. This trend reflects a recent shift in defensive philosophy that aims to force offenses to work diligently for their yards and points.
Defenses are willing to concede multiple short gains to eliminate the threat of long passing plays. While extra reps might build lean muscle in real life, it compels offenses to consistently make efficient plays, banking on moments of calculated aggression to yield favorable results.
The plays that offenses are employing against these defenses lack the explosive impact they once had. Even a cursory observation of an NFL game (or checking your fantasy football scores) underscores this shift. The stark underlying statistics confirm this change: the league’s average explosive play rate of 10% in 2023 is the lowest it has been through the first six weeks since TruMedia began collecting play data in 2000. Both running and passing games have been affected.
To maintain the excitement and appeal of their product, the NFL must address the current state of affairs.
Nevertheless, television ratings remain strong, indicating that NFL fans are still finding enjoyment in the on-field product.