Across the league in Week One, teams were struggling to move the ball, premier performers were scarce on the grounds, and the scoreboards stayed stagnant and seemed stuck.
Between the Chiefs’ shellacking of the Patriots in the first week of the NFL season and the aggressive Broncos/Chargers matchup that ended it, what moment made for the most exciting moment of pro football last week?
The entrance made by Texan quarterback and saviour Deshaun Watson?
Either of the NFC East battles which occurred on Sunday?
The clash between the Packers and the Seahawks, which had been billed as a possible preview of the NFC championship?
The answer is none of these –every single game was underwhelming, and the following stats will show you just how much they fell short by. Spectators who spent their time making AFL bets instead had the right idea!
NFL Teams are not Scoring Enough Points
Throughout the NFL’s first week, teams managed to average 20.2 points per game. Since back in 2011, when the contemporary passing revolution hit a higher gear, this average is more than two points lower than any other Week One in history.
Only Three Teams Scored More than 20 Points
In 2016, the Week One games had both teams scoring more than 20 points. In 2015, seven teams did. This year, the number of teams doing so dropped to just three, one of the lowest totals of the past ten years and one that befits the 1970s more, when there were fewer teams and not as many dynamic offenses. Whether or not a home ground advantage was ever going to come into play was debatable, but the dismal start to this year’s Opening Week seemed to prove that this factor would not have any influence at all.
The Lack of Points on Televised Games
To viewers’ detriment, the scarcity of higher scores was heavily concentrated when the games were being televised as widely. For instance, when the Sunday afternoon and evening slots were up and running, there was not a single game with even moderately high totals to turn to. The bloc featured four games, of which not one involved both teams managing to reach points totals in the double-digits.
No Fun Finishes to be had
Incredibly, not even the fact that point totals were suppressed resulted in any entertaining finishes. The Broncos/Chargers tilt on Monday came down to the final few seconds, but only three of Sunday’s contests were eventually decided by eight points or less, and only one of these was actually close at all.
Atlanta managed to repel a last-minute drive from Chicago to preserve their victory of 23 – 17, but neither Seattle, against Green Bay, or Cleveland, against Pittsburgh, ran another offensive play after slashing their respective deficits to a single score later on in the fourth quarter.
The Worst Year Since 1976
For comparison, last year 11 of the Week One NFL games had margins of eight points or less. 2015 saw this occur nine times, before that it happened eight times, and before that, in 2013, it occurred a total of 12 times, the most ever for Week One Games. The most recent year with as few Week One NFL games that close was back in 1976.