Sunday, October 21, 2012

What If NFL Scores were Counted Like MLS Scores?

There are definitely more points tallied week to week in the NFL over MLS.  But, how much of a difference would there be if touchdowns (all extra points and two-point conversions are considered part of the touchdown) were counted as one point like one goal in Soccer and field goals were thought of as half a point or half a goal?

Safeties are not scored often in the NFL, so for the purposes of this comparison, they will not be considered as part of the final equation.

Here is the breakdown of scores for this week in the NFL:

NFL SCORE                                                           NFL SCORE as MLS
San Francisco 13                                                                    2
Seattle              6                                                                     1

Houston           43                                                                    6
Baltimore        13                                                                    2

Green Bay       30                                                                   4.5
St. Louis          20                                                                    3  

Tennessee       35                                                                    5
Buffalo             34                                                                    5

Indianapolis    17                                                                   2.5
Cleveland        13                                                                    2

New Orleans   35                                                                    5
Tampa Bay      28                                                                    4

Dallas             19                                                                    3
Carolina          14                                                                    2

Minnesota       21                                                                    3
Arizona           14                                                                    2

New York         27                                                                   4
Washington      23                                                                   3.5

New England   29                                                                    4
New York        26                                                                    4

Oakland           26                                                                    4
Jacksonville    23                                                                    3.5

Pittsburgh        24                                                                    3.5
Cincinnati       17                                                                    2.5

Chicago          13                                                                     2
Detroit             7                                                                      1

The scores from these 13 games amounts to a total of 84 points.  The average per game is 6.46 or 6.5 points.

Generally speaking, the totals set in Vegas for most NFL games range from 40-46 points, which would amount to 6 or 6.5 for goals per game.  For example, 24-21, 31-13, 24-20, 27-17, 23-20, 31-14, 23-21, are all equal to 6.5 goals.

This week's average fits the trend.  It is in the general range of the typical totals for NFL games.

MLS averages almost four goals less per game.  'Lower scoring' doesn't mean less exciting, but to an American audience it may.

In MLS, there are roughly 2.5 goals scored per game.  In the past, scores were lower for MLS.  Most international leagues have scores in the range of 2.7, give or take a few percentage points.  See MLS Average Score Offensive in the Wrong Kind of Way.


  1. I think it would be a useful comparison to analyze the scores the other way around as well.

    A 2-1 score in MLS would be 14-7 in the NFL.

    Now you bring up another deficiency in the FA/FIFA game, which is only one way to tally a score, which in my mind speaks to the need for uprights. If you were to harmonize MLS scoring with NFL scoring, a shot between the uprights being a 3-pointer, a goal in the net 6, with a "conversion" try making it 7, now we have a game!

    With a couple of minor tweaks to goose offense in Soccer we could have a MUCH BETTER SPORTING PRODUCT on the field. My guess is that a t some point, we will.


    1. That wouldn't really work, seeing as how the only thing preventing a field goal in the NFL is distance, which is constantly fought for throughout the entire game. In soccer, you're almost always in kicking distance from your opponent's goal. You'd be seeing 3-point goals every 30 seconds, making the game kind of stupid.

  2. Interesting article about the A-League in the Atlantic, here: