Patriots on pace for all-time NFL scoring mark

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 21, 2007



If you think the New England offense has looked pretty sharp this season, you're missing the big picture.
 
It looks like the greatest offense in NFL history.
 
We broke out the UNIVAC version of our beer-bottle cap abacus Sunday night and discovered that the 2007 Patriots, following their 49-28 win over the Dolphins earlier in the day, are now on pace to become the most prolific offense in NFL history.
 
That's right, folks. The most prolific offense in the entire history of the league. Not since the AFL-NFL merger. Not in the Super Bowl Era. We're talking No. 1 in the entire 88-season history of the league.
 
The 2007 Patriots, through Week 7, average a mind-boggling 39.86 PPG (279 points in 7 games).
 
The current record is held by the 1950 Rams, who scored 38.83 PPG (466 points in 12 games). The list of every offense that's scored 30 or more points per game can be found below.
 
Just 45 teams in history have scored 30 or more points per game, yet New England is one more good game away from surpassing 40.0 PPG. And even those numbers don't quite put the pace in perspective.
  • Just 3 teams in NFL history have scored more than 35.0 PPG
  • Just 14 teams in NFL history have scored more than 32.0 PPG
  • No team in the Super Bowl Era has scored more than 35.0 PPG
Given those parameters, New England's scoring pace of nearly 40.0 PPG is truly remarkable. Much more about the great NFL offenses can be found below this chart (including a look at the greatest offense just in the Super Bowl Era; a mere 21 teams have scored 30.0 PPG or more in the Super Bowl Era).
 
GREATEST SCORING OFFENSES (all of NFL history)
 
Team
Games
 Points
PPG
Record
Result
 
2007 Patriots
7
279
39.86
7-0
TBD
1
1950 Rams
12
466
38.83
9-3
Lost NFL title game
2
1961 Oilers (AFL)
14
513
36.64
10-3-1
Won AFL title
3
1941 Bears
11
396
36.00
10-1
Won NFL title
4
1998 Vikings
16
556
34.75
15-1
Lost NFC title game
5
1942 Bears
11
376
34.18
11-0
Lost NFL title game
6
1983 Redskins
16
541
33.81
14-2
Lost SB XVIII
7
2000 Rams
16
540
33.75
10-6
Lost NFC wildcard
8
1967 Raiders (AFL)
14
468
33.43
13-1
Lost SB II
9
1948 Cardinals*
12
395
32.92
11-1
Lost NFL title game*
10
1999 Rams
16
526
32.88
13-3
Won SB XXXIV
11
1951 Rams
12
392
32.67
8-4
Won NFL title
12
2004 Colts
16
522
32.63
12-4
Lost div. playoff
13
1968 Raiders (AFL)
14
453
32.36
12-2
Lost AFL title game
14
1984 Dolphins
16
513
32.06
14-2
Lost SB XIX
15
1963 Giants
14
448
32.00
11-3
Lost NFL title game
16
1966 Chiefs
14
448
32.00
11-2-1
Lost SB I
17
1982 Chargers
9
288
32.00
6-3
Lost div. playoff
18
1966 Cowboys
14
445
31.79
10-3-1
Lost NFL title game
19
1958 Colts
12
381
31.75
9-3
Won NFL title
20
1994 49ers
16
505
31.56
13-3
Won SB XXIX
21
2001 Rams
16
503
31.44
14-2
Lost SB XXXVI
22
1948 Eagles
12
376
31.33
9-2-1
Won NFL title
23
1998 Broncos
16
501
31.31
14-2
Won SB XXXIII
24
1948 Bears
12
375
31.25
10-2
Missed playoffs
25
1959 Colts
12
374
31.17
9-3
Won NFL title
26
1953 49ers
12
372
31.00
9-3
Missed playoffs
27
1968 Cowboys
14
431
30.79
12-2
Lost div. playoff
28
2006 Chargers
16
492
30.75
14-2
Lost div. playoff
29
1987 49ers
15
459
30.60
13-2
Lost div. playoff
30
1964 Colts
14
428
30.57
12-2
Lost NFL title game
31
1950 NY Yanks
12
366
30.50
7-5
Missed playoffs
32
1953 Rams
12
366
30.50
8-3-1
Missed playoffs
33
1949 Eagles
12
364
30.33
11-1
Won NFL title
34
1991 Redskins
16
485
30.31
14-2
Won SB XXVI
35
2000 Broncos
16
485
30.31
11-5
Lost AFC wildcard
36
1943 Bears
10
303
30.30
8-1-1
Won NFL title
37
1947 Bears
12
363
30.25
8-4
Missed playoffs
38
1956 Bears
12
363
30.25
9-2-1
Lost NFL title game
39
2003 Chiefs
16
484
30.25
13-3
Lost div. playoff
40
2004 Chiefs
16
483
30.19
7-9
Missed playoffs
41
1960 Browns
12
362
30.17
8-3-1
Missed playoffs
42
1965 49ers
14
421
30.07
7-6-1
Missed playoffs
43
1949 Rams
12
360
30.00
8-2-2
Lost NFL title game**
44
1949 Cardinals
12
360
30.00
6-5-1
Missed playoffs
45
1975 Bills
14
420
30.00
8-6
Missed playoffs
* After scoring nearly 33 PPG in 1948, the Cardinals were actually shutout in the NFL title game, 7-0, by the Eagles. The 1948 Eagles also appear on this list, with the No. 22 offense of all time.
 
** The 1949 Rams were also blanked in the NFL title game by the Eagles, 14-0. The 1949 Eagles, like their 1948 counterparts, also appear on this list, at No. 33.
 
Some comments on this list:
 
THE RANDY MOSS FACTOR
Give a great deal of credit to the Randy Moss Factor when studying New England's success so far.
 
The gifted wide receiver, who hauled in two spectacular TD catches Sunday, has a chance to be a part of the two greatest scoring offenses of the Super Bowl Era.
 
The 1998 Vikings currently boast the greatest scoring offense of the Super Bowl Era (34.75 PPG). Moss was a rookie on that team, and caught 17 TD passes.
 
THE ANOMALY of the 1950 RAMS
The L.A. Rams of the 1950s are one of the great offensive forces in the history of the NFL. Cold, Hard Football Facts contributor Mike Carlson wrote an awesome profile of these star-studded Rams teams last year.
 
They were certainly one of the more interesting teams in NFL history.
 
But should be noted that there were some unusual circumstances behind the record scoring pace of that legendary 1950 Rams team, as there so often are anytime you see a statistical anomaly. The NFL in 1950 absorbed three teams from the All-America Football Conference, the Browns, Baltimore Colts and 49ers. The AAFC's N.Y. Bulldogs, meanwhile, merged with the NFL's N.Y. Yankees and were renamed the N.Y. Yanks for the 1950 season.
 
The Yanks, Colts and 49ers each ended up in the newly renamed National Conference with the Rams. The Yanks and Colts proceeded to field two of the worst defenses in the entire history of the NFL. The Colts surrendered 462 points that season. The Yanks surrendered 367. The 49ers, in their first year in the NFL, struggled to a 3-9 record and fielded the worst offense in football that year (213 points).
 
The Rams played five of their 12 games against these three teams.
 
The Colts were so bad that they folded immediately after the 1950 season (but returned in 1953). The Yanks folded after the 1951 season, never to return to the NFL.
 
Basically, the Rams were able to pad their stats against these three teams, and pad they did. The Rams scored 158 points in their three games against the Colts and Yanks teams, including a 70-27 win over the Colts (third most points in a game in NFL history), and another 63 against the expansion 49ers.
 
Certainly, New England has had some weak opponents on its slate this year, such as the Dolphins. But at least every team they've played is a legitimate, long-existing NFL franchise.
 
SCORING A LOT OF POINTS DOESN'T MAKE YOU A CHAMP
Obviously, if you score a lot of points you're going to win a lot of games.
 
Of the 45 teams in NFL history to score 30 or more points per game, 44 boasted winning records (the 2004 Chiefs went 7-9). All but 10 reached the postseason, and most of those 10 that failed to reach the playoffs played back when the NFL postseason consisted of a single NFL title game between conference champions.
 
But just 12 of these 45 teams won an NFL or AFL championship, while 14 of the 45 made the NFL or AFL championship game (or Super Bowl) only to lose.
 
THE SUPER BOWL ERA
If you want to dispense with ancient history, here's a look at the greatest offense of the Super Bowl Era.
 
GREATEST SCORING OFFENSES (in all of NFL history)
 
Team
Games
 Points
PPG
Record
Result
 
2007 Patriots
7
279
39.86
7-0
TBD
1
1998 Vikings
16
556
34.75
15-1
Lost NFC title game
2
1983 Redskins
16
541
33.81
14-2
Lost SB XVIII
3
2000 Rams
16
540
33.75
10-6
Lost NFC wildcard
4
1967 Raiders (AFL)
14
468
33.43
13-1
Lost SB II
5
1999 Rams
16
526
32.88
13-3
Won SB XXXIV
6
2004 Colts
16
522
32.63
12-4
Lost div. playoff
7
1968 Raiders (AFL)
14
453
32.36
12-2
Lost AFL title game
8
1984 Dolphins
16
513
32.06
14-2
Lost SB XIX
9
1966 Chiefs
14
448
32.00
11-2-1
Lost SB I
10
1982 Chargers
9
288
32.00
6-3
Lost div. playoff
11
1966 Cowboys
14
445
31.79
10-3-1
Lost NFL title game
12
1994 49ers
16
505
31.56
13-3
Won SB XXIX
13
2001 Rams
16
503
31.44
14-2
Lost SB XXXVI
14
1998 Broncos
16
501
31.31
14-2
Won SB XXXIII
15
1968 Cowboys
14
431
30.79
12-2
Lost div. playoff
16
2006 Chargers
16
492
30.75
14-2
Lost div. playoff
17
1987 49ers
15
459
30.60
13-2
Lost div. playoff
18
1991 Redskins
16
485
30.31
14-2
Won SB XXVI
19
2000 Broncos
16
485
30.31
11-5
Lost AFC wildcard
20
2003 Chiefs
16
484
30.25
13-3
Lost div. playoff
21
2004 Chiefs
16
483
30.19
7-9
Missed playoffs
22
1975 Bills
14
420
30.00
8-6
Missed playoffs
 
 

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