The football being played on Sundays this season is something that has never been seen in the NFL before.
Thanks to more innovative offenses as well as a crackdown on the amount of contact allowed by defenders on receivers, NFL teams are on pace to break several offensive records and in some cases they will shatter the previous all-time highs or lows.
Teams have just become too good at moving the football and not turning it over. The result is a sport that is starting to look more like an NBA game than something many football fans grew up watching in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
So far this year, teams are averaging 355.4 yards per game. That is a 2.0% increase over last year (348.5), an 8.6% increase in the last decade, and a 24.0% increase since 1973. It would also be a new NFL record.
That yardage translates to 5.5 yards per play which would also be an all-time high for the NFL.
As you can imagine, averaging 11.0 yards for every two plays makes it much easier to gain first downs and sustain drives as long as teams can avoid turnovers and penalties.
In fact, NFL teams are averaging 20.9 first downs per game, the most in NFL history and an 11.2% increase in just ten years. The result is teams now average just 3.1 plays needed per first down, an all-time low.
Of course, the biggest difference these days is that teams are throwing the ball more often and for more yards than ever.
Teams are averaging 35.0 passing attempts per game. That would be the second-most in NFL history, behind only last year (35.4).
However, teams are averaging a whopping 241.9 passing yards per game, more than six yards per game over last year (235.6), up 14.9% in the last ten years, and up nearly 60% since 1974 (153.2).
And the reason why teams are throwing the ball is because they have become so good at it.
So far this season, teams are completing 64.3% of passes thrown. That would easily be the highest rate in NFL history, surpassing last year’s mark of 61.2%.
In addition, teams are on pace to throw the fewest interceptions per game in NFL history (0.8) which would be just the third season ever in which teams averaged less than an interception per game.
Interestingly, scoring is down slightly from a year ago when teams averaged an NFL record 23.6 points per game. However, the 23.1 points per game this season would still be the second-highest average since 1950.
There is also the possibility that some of these marks will change as the weather worsens later in the season. But even with a slight correction, we are almost certainly going to see a number of new offensive records.
More importantly, there is no sign that offenses are going to slow down anytime soon and these numbers will continue to climb as the sport of football continues to evolve into something completely new.
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