Superbowl Scoring

Published by patrick honner on

After enjoying a well-contested Superbowl that seemed to appropriately represent the teams, the season, and the league in terms of the level of play and competitiveness, I started wondering about how the big game compares to regular season play.  I wondered if teams performed better or worse, on average, given the pressure and scrutiny of the championship game.

I thought a simple place to start examining this question would be to look at Superbowl scoring versus regular season scoring.  Below is a chart showing the difference (Superbowl Score – Average Regular Season Score) for all 46 Superbowls.

At the far right, we see the results of Superbowl 46:  Giants 21, Patriots 17.  The league average in scoring this years was 22 points per game, so the difference here is 38 – 44 = -6.

It seems as though it is more common for more points to be scored in the Superbowl than in an average regular season game.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of stories one could tell about why that might be so:  better teams (and therefore better offenses) make it to the Superbowl; defenses are more susceptible to pressures of the big game; the extra preparation time gives offensive coordinators and advantage.

So how could we more rigorously explore the quantitative characteristics of the Superbowl?

patrick honner

Math teacher in Brooklyn, New York


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: