The most common final score in NFL history and what it says about the game

In January, 2023, an NBC sports station in Philly published an interesting report on the most common final score in the history of the NFL. The NFL estimates that since 1920, there have been nearly 20,000 regular season games played in American professional football which includes the NFL, AFL, and the old AAFC (the short lived “All America Football Conference”)

According to the NFL, in those nearly 20k games, there have been 1,075 different final scores achieved in NFL history. In over 100 years of pro football, these are THE 5 most common final scores in regular season games in history:

  • 20-17 (282 games)
  • 27-24 (230 games)
  • 17-14 (200 games)
  • 23-20 (198 games)
  • 24-17 (172 games)

There are several interesting aspects of this historical record:

  • Over its 100+ year history, pro football has been remarkably competitive. Having a 3 point margin be that common is a testament to how evenly matched teams have been.
  • It really underscores how important having a good kicker can be if games are consistently close.
  • It also emphasizes that if games are that close, details matter. Having coaches and players that pay attention to the details of the game gives you a better chance to win.

In short, when the game is this competitive, details matter!

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