Scoring in the NFL is up over the last five seasons, and many believe this can be attributed to teams passing the ball more.
And looking at the chart below we do see that both scoring and passing (as a percentage of total plays) are up over the last half-decade.
But if go further back, we see that even though passing is up in recent years, the amount of passes being thrown is not out of the norm over the last 20 years. In fact, there have been two seasons in which teams passed the football more often, both in the 1990s. (1995, 1999)
And yet, scoring in the NFL is continuing an upward trend. NFL teams scored 22.0 points per game this season. The last three years represent three of the four highest scoring seasons in the last 20 years.
This suggests that scoring is not directly related to any increase in throwing the ball. Rather, it just appears that teams have gotten more efficient at scoring.
It will be interesting to see if the NFL adjusts any rules to slow the growth in scoring. While the NFL is certainly aware of the fans’ desire to see more points, the league also doesn’t want to turn itself into the Arena Football League.
Data via Pro-Football-Reference.com
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