NFL Scoring Down Significantly Through Two Weeks; Are Fans Oversaturated With "TNF"?
NFL teams through the season's first 30 games are averaging 20.3 points per game, 2.4 fewer than a year ago, and the scoring dip has been "so precipitous that it’s unprecedented," according to Andrew Beaton of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. If it "continues throughout the season, it would mark the largest drop-off in the Super Bowl era." This is "jarring because it flies in the face of an offensive explosion the league has experienced in recent years." Beaton writes there is a "possibility that these numbers represent nothing more than an early-season swoon." The "reduction in offseason practice time, and increase in reluctance to play important players for long stretches in preseason, have created a plausible argument that it’s more difficult to get going early in the season for highly-complex offensive systems." The offensive dip is "unwelcome at a time when the NFL is suddenly fighting for fans’ attention." Conventional wisdom "says these low-scoring snoozers aren’t the product to electrify the season." Many of the high-scoring games "haven’t been competitive: There have been twice as many 20-plus point blowouts than in the first two weeks" of last season" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/19). In Pittsburgh, Tim Benz wrote two contributing factors that might be solved through improved play are "not enough points" and "too many penalties" (TRIBLIVE.com, 9/18). PATRIOTS.com's Don Banks wrote Week 2 featured more "shoddy offensive football ... with five different games pairing teams that failed to crack 20 points." Fourteen teams "didn’t crack 20 points," and four more "scored exactly 20." It is "not all great defense being played either." Some of it is "attributable to lousy offensive execution" (PATRIOTS.com, 9/18).
COLD START: In DC, Deron Snyder writes many NFL ticket holders were "treated to abominations" in Week 2, which has been a "national theme thus far." Fans "don’t tune in to watch defensive struggles." Snyder: "I’m not suggesting we want NFL scores to mimic Arena football, but a bunch of punts mixed in with some field-goal attempts and a touchdown won’t maintain many fans’ attention." Competitiveness was "better" in Week 2, as seven contests were one-possession affairs. But "let’s not confuse close games with good games." That is "as bad as the NFL’s mistaken assumption that every team deserves primetime exposure" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/19).
OVERSATURATED PRODUCT? In S.F., Ann Killion writes "TNF" has "become Exhibit No. 6,732 in the problems the NFL has created." "TNF" has been a "universally poor product" since inception in '06. They have "become symbolic of the NFL’s oversaturation." Thursdays are also becoming an "example of the dwindling popularity of the once-Teflon league." Killion: "Is the nation really clamoring to see the Rams (1-1) against a 49ers team that has yet to win a game or score a touchdown? Probably not." “TNF” has been "such a bad and boring product over the years." In its "greed for more cash, and more exposure, the NFL failed to account for the reality that short-week football is bad" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/19). The WASHINGTON TIMES' Snyder notes the next two "TNF" games feature Rams-49ers and Bears-Packers. Snyder: "Are you ready for some bad football?" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/19).