The NFL may have achieved its greatest parity ever this 2022 season, and the league is getting more close games than ever before.
But you can't have it all. The NFL has a points problem, and there are some folks in league circles starting to worry.
NFL teams are averaging 20.76 points per game this season, the lowest output since the 2017 season and second-lowest over the past decade.
It comes two years after the NFL saw its most points ever in a season. The 2020 NFL season brought a record-high 12,692 points, blasting the previous record of 11,985 points set in the 2013 season.
But it hasn't held. Even with an extra game for all teams, the league still saw just 12,502 points in 2021. Now the pace of points has fallen off even more.
NFL EVP of football operations Troy Vincent said this past week at the owners meetings that he viewed the cause of the points drop-off in 2022 due to teams' inefficiency in the red zone. This year teams are scoring touchdowns on 56.5% of trips to the red zone, the lowest mark since 2017.
Perhaps what stands out more is that teams are coming away with fewer points in the red zone than in recent history. The red zone scoring percentage — that's a touchdown or a field goal — is at 84.6%, by far the lowest in the last 10 seasons that had averaged 87%. In fact, the 84.6% red zone scoring percentage is the worst in the league since the 2009 season.
One league source believes defenses have caught on to offense's ways in the red zone, especially when it comes to the run-pass option.
There are no immediate rules changes coming, I'm told. But 2017 was the last time so many of these low marks were hit, and the league instituted the body-weight rule on roughing the passer the following season.