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The 600 Club: Patriots Primed to Join Short List of 600-Point Offenses

Posted Jan 19, 2013

In this edition of the Cold, Hard Football Facts we take a look at New England’s place in offensive history entering the AFC championship game.

The Ravens-Patriots showdown in the AFC title game has been analyzed from every imaginable angle – just a preview of the endless avalanche of hype about to hit the sports world in the two weeks before Super Bowl XLVII.

So instead of rehashing the same storylines, we figured it’d be cool to take a look at New England’s place in offensive history entering the AFC championship game.

The reality is that New England’s epic offensive season has been largely underreported this season. The Patriots scored 557 points, the third most in history, and yet the football world let out a collective yawn. Sun rises in the east and all. Ho-hum.

We know that Patriots have now scored 500 points in four different seasons – the first and only franchise to accomplish that feat.

Here’s something perhaps even more impressive: the Patriots are field goal away from becoming the first franchise to score 600 points in two different seasons – that is, regular season plus postseason.

It’s an extraordinarily short list of 600-point teams in NFL history.

Team

Reg. Season

Postseason

Total

2007 Patriots

589

66

655

1994 49ers

505

131

636

1983 Redskins

541

84

625

2011 Saints

547

77

624

1998 Vikings

556

68

624

2009 Saints

510

107

617

1999 Rams

526

83

609

1984 Dolphins

513

92

605

2012 Patriots

557

41

598



The 2007 Patriots clearly undeachieved in the playoffs. They averaged 36.8, the most by any team since the NFL expansion season of 1950 (that was the year the old Los Angeles Rams scored 38.8 PPG, but largely by beating up second-rate outfits like the original Baltimore Colts, who folded at the end of the season, and the N.Y. Yanks, who folded after the 1951 season).

Come playoff time, though, the 2007 Patriots averaged just 22.0 PPG. And we all know how that worked out for them in the Super Bowl.

The 2012 team is clearly off to a great start in the postseason, after scoring 41 points against the Texans last week. If they can beat the Ravens on Sunday, and average 29.0 PPG in the AFC title game and Super Bowl – nearly a touchdown below New England’s regular-season average – the 2012 Patriots would have scored 656 points or more and become the highest-scoring team in the history of football if we look at the entire season from start to finish.

Not bad for a statistical storyline that has been largely greeted with a yawn by the national media.

High-Scoring Teams and Championships
Scoring points is nice, of course. But as the 2007 Patriots proved, it feels kind of empty without a championship at the end of the road.

There is a long, long history in the NFL of great offenses falling short in the end.

Here’s the list of every team in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966) that has scored more than 30.0 PPG in a season. There are 28 teams on this list of greatest offenses in modern history. Only five of them went on to win championships (in bold).

2007 Patriots 589 (36.81 PPG)
2011 Packers – 560 (35.0 PPG)
2012 Patriots – 557 (34.81)
1998 Vikings – 556 (34.75)
2011 Saints – 547 (34.19)
1983 Redskins – 541 (33.81)
2000 Rams – 540 (33.75)
1967 Raiders – 468 (33.43)
1999 Rams – 526 (32.88)
2004 Colts – 522 (32.63)
2010 Patriots – 518 (32.38)
1968 Raiders – 453 (32.36)
2011 Patriots – 513 (32.06)
1984 Dolphins – 514 (32.06)
1966 Chiefs – 448 (32.0)
2009 Saints – 510 (31.88)
1966 Cowboys – 445 (31.79)
1994 49ers – 505 (31.56)
2001 Rams – 503 (31.44)
1998 Broncos – 501 (31.31)
1968 Cowboys – 431 (30.79)
2006 Chargers – 492 (30.75)
2000 Broncos – 485 (30.31)
1991 Redskins – 485 (30.31)
2003 Chiefs – 484 (30.25)
2004 Chiefs – 483 (30.19)
2012 Broncos – 481 (30.19)
1975 Bills – 420 (30.0)

The short list of great offenses that actually ended up winning it all tells us that it’s not good enough in the NFL to be great in just one area. Balance is what wins in the NFL.

The Patriots this year may just have it: they forced 30 turnovers out of the QB position alone this year, tops in the NFL, and ended the season No. 9 in scoring defense to go with a top-ranked scoring offense.

It could be the perfect recipe for a fourth Super Bowl ring. But we’ll know more by Sunday night.