The History of NFL Scores

There have been 16,116 NFL games played all time as of this writing.  As best I can tell anyway…

There seems to be some disagreement about the exact total.  There are also some games that were played from which there is no recorded info.

That being said there is still allot of data available – we are talking about games that go back to the Rochester Jeffersons after all.

Most common winning scores in the NFL

The most common score in the history of the NFL is 20-17 and has occurred 263 times. The last time this score happened was just last Sunday when the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins beat the Cowboys by the exact same score on December 13, 1992 and October 27, 2014 as well.

In fact while the average point differential of every NFL game played is 17.7 points, the top 5 most common scores all have a point differential of 3 points:  20-17,  27-24,  17-14,  23-20,  13-10.

1940 NFL Championship Game

The Redskins also figure in the most lopsided game in the history of the NFL. The Chicago Bears 73-0 beat-down of the ‘Skins in the 1940 NFL Championship game at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. on December 8 was the largest point differential in NFL history. The Redskins rebounded by beating the bears for the championship a couple of years later in 1942.

The most lopsided victory in modern times was when the New England Patriots beat Tennessee Titans 59-0 on October 18, 2009.

In a statistical twist of fate the Redskins were also involved in the highest scoring game when they beat the New York Football Giants 72-41 in 1966. If you don’t consider 1966 modern, the highest scoring game in the last few decades was on November 28th 2004 when Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns combined for 106 points. The Browns lost…

If a tie is like kissing your sister, a zero – zero tie is like…

There have been 73 games that ended in a 0-0 tie, but none since November 7th 1943 when the Detroit Lions played the New York Giants. Even though it has not occurred in 75 years 0-0 is still the 48th most re-occurring score.

There have been 61 unique scores where the loser scored zero points. The average margin victory in those games was a whopping 32 points, so the vast majority of games where one team could not score were huge blow outs.

If you count all the way to a 50-50 tie there are 353 possible scores that have never occurred, including 50-50. The lowest scoring game that has never happened is 2-2.

There are 5 games that finished with 2-0 score, but none since 1938. The lowest combined score in modern NFL history is 3-0 which has happened six times in the SuperBowl era with the last being on Monday November 26, 2007 when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins.

The first NFL game to finish 3-0 was in 1920 when the Canton Bulldogs beat the Buffalo All-Americans.

NFL Winning Score vs Losing Score


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