For the primary time within the NFL’s 99-year historical past, two groups scored 50 factors in the identical regulation recreation final month. The Los Angeles Rams‘ 54-51 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs underscored a season-long explosion of offensive manufacturing, a pattern that has energized followers and coincided with a notable rise in television ratings.
By the primary 13 weeks of the 2018 marketing campaign, the NFL is averaging extra factors (47.eight), yards (718.four) and passing touchdowns (three.5) per recreation than at any related level in its historical past. Anticipated factors added (EPA) — a measure of each play’s change in net point advantage for the offense, based mostly on down, distance and yard line at every snap — has elevated practically 1,200 factors from 2017, an enormous soar.
The numbers symbolize a course correction after a one-year dip final season, however the roots reveal boundless alternative for future enlargement. NFL offenses have loved a gradual rise for 40 years, ever for the reason that league adjusted a sequence of guidelines in 1978 to finish the “dead ball” era and encourage extra scoring. However 2018 has produced a pointy spike even past that pattern.
So how did it occur, and why now?
A visit by the numbers reveals a mixture of analytics-based playcalling, extra rule adjustments and a elementary pivot in using working backs among the many key components. Let’s take a more in-depth look, with figures culled from the ESPN Stats & Info database together with particular analysis from senior statistics analyst Jacob Nitzberg.
Spreading it out
The unfold offense has been decried on the NFL stage for years, blamed for the whole lot from poor offensive line play to overuse of the shotgun to a failure to stability play-calling. However in fact, “the…