FanPost

Most Efficient Offenses: 1998-2013

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Opening Statement

Since 1998, 14 individual teams have scored at least 500 points in a season. Some did it with a rushing attack, but most were prolific because of the passing game.

While 3 teams made the list from the '90's, this study was meant to compare teams in the current era. Even though I believe the idea that the rules put in place have given teams an unfair advantage today over teams in other eras is more of myth than fact, the reality is each era is different.

Offensive philosophies change and players are bigger, stronger and faster than ever before. With that mindset, it is best to realize that there is only so much we can do in a statistical analysis (or film study) of teams today compared to teams in the 60's-70's or teams in the 80's-90's.

Therefore, I make an attempt to avoid the words "best", "better" and "greatest" because those words are simply too difficult to truly measure. However, what I can measure is efficiency. Regardless of all the reasons as to why one team was more efficient than the other is irrelevant. We would need to go through each box score and play-by-play for each game for each season for each of these prolific seasons to get a truly accurate understanding of how "great" those seasons were.

For this reason, these numbers are simply estimates. Maybe I will go back and look at all the box scores on another day, but for now, here are some simple charts of some of the best offensive outputs since 1998.

Note: Stats courtesy of NFL.com and pro-football-reference.com.

Total Offensive Points Scored

This chart only includes offensive touchdowns, extra points for offensive touchdowns, field goals made and two-point conversions. Defensive and special teams scores are not included in the total. Again, we are trying to measure the how good each offense was, not how good the team was at scoring.


Year Team Est. Plys Tds XPM 2-PT Fgs Est. Pts
1 2013 Denver Broncos 1156 71 70 0 25 571
2 2007 New England Patriots 1058 67 66 1 21 533
3 2011 New Orleans Saints 1117 62 59 2 28 519
4 1998 Minnesota Vikings 1008 58 54 3 35 513
5 2000 St. Louis Rams 1014 63 54 4 24 512
6 2011 Green Bay Packers 988 63 61 0 24 511
7 2012 New England Patriots 1191 59 58 0 29 499
8 2004 Indianapolis Colts 968 61 59 1 20 487
9 2011 New England Patriots 1082 57 55 2 28 485
10 1998 Denver Broncos 1041 58 54 1 23 473
11 2001 St. Louis Rams 1007 57 53 2 23 468
12 2010 New England Patriots 986 56 53 0 22 455
13 1999 St. Louis Rams 994 55 53 2 20 447
14 2009 New Orleans Saints 1032 55 51 0 22 447

NOTES

  1. The "estimated plays" column has not taken into account all of the kneel downs each team had in blowout wins, which shouldn't count into the total. For this study, I left all of them in for each team. Denver had 27 kneel downs in 2013.
  2. The "estimated points" column has not taken into account which touchdowns had an extra point made or missed and which ones the team went for the two-point conversion. Given the probability that the two-point conversions were on offensive touchdowns and not on secondary touchdowns, I just assigned them to the offense. There is no way for me to know unless I go to the box score of each and every game.
  3. This list is comprised of only 7 teams: New England (4x), St. Louis (3x), Denver (2x), New Orleans (2x), Indianapolis (1x), Minnesota (1x), Green Bay (1x).
  4. 5 of these seasons occurred from 1998-2001. From 2002-2008, there were only 2 of these seasons (IND-04, NE-07). From 2009-2013, there have been 7 seasons of at least 500 total team points.
  5. Only 6 offenses have scored at least 500 points in a single season since 1998.

Offensive Points Scored Per Play (%) This efficiency stat calculates a percentage of estimates points per estimated plays. Teams that have the higher Pts/Play score in a game won around 87% of those games.


Year Team Est. Plys Est. Pts Pts/Plys
1 2011 Green Bay Packers 988 511 51.72
2 1998 Minnesota Vikings 1008 513 50.89
3 2000 St. Louis Rams 1014 512 50.49
4 2007 New England Patriots 1058 533 50.38
5 2004 Indianapolis Colts 968 487 50.31
6 2013 Denver Broncos 1156 571 49.39
7 2001 St. Louis Rams 1007 468 46.47
8 2011 New Orleans Saints 1117 519 46.46
9 2010 New England Patriots 986 455 46.15
10 1998 Denver Broncos 1041 473 45.44
11 1999 St. Louis Rams 994 447 44.97
12 2011 New England Patriots 1082 485 44.82
13 2009 New Orleans Saints 1032 447 43.31
14 2012 New England Patriots 1191 499 41.90



NOTES

  1. Remember, this does not take into account how many plays were run and points were scored by backups in blowout wins. These teams were dominant and didn't need to play to the end of each game. These are simply estimates.
  2. Only 5 teams managed to register over 50 percent.
  3. The average number of plays ran per season by these teams was 1046.
  4. Most people talk about Manning and Brady, but they fail to realize how special Green Bay's 2011 season truly was and how good Aaron Rodgers was for that season.
  5. Some teams were more explosive (2011 Packers, 2004 Colts), while others were more methodical in their offensive approach (2013 Broncos, 2011 Saints), which is why there is such a huge difference in the number of plays each offense ran during the season.
  6. The 2011 Packers ran away from the field, with their points/play score 0.83 percentage points above the 2nd placed 1998 Vikings.

Offensive Points Scored Per Possession


Year Team Est. Poss Est. Pts Pts/Poss
1 2007 New England Patriots 157 533 3.39
2 2011 New Orleans Saints 167 519 3.11
3 2011 Green Bay Packers 165 511 3.10
4 2013 Denver Broncos 186 571 3.07
5 2004 Indianapolis Colts 162 487 3.01
6 2000 St. Louis Rams 173 512 2.96
7 2010 New England Patriots 156 455 2.92
8 2011 New England Patriots 168 485 2.89
9 2012 New England Patriots 178 499 2.80
10 2001 St. Louis Rams 171 468 2.74
11 2009 New Orleans Saints 176 447 2.54
12 1999 St. Louis Rams 177 447 2.53


NOTES

  1. The 1998 Broncos and Vikings were not included because pro-football-reference only went back to 1999 with data on the total number of drives for each team.
  2. The purpose of this stat is to ignore each offensive philosophy and simply calculate the offensive output on a per-possession basis, regardless of how many plays it required to score on those possessions.
  3. Only 5 teams scored at least 3 points per possession.
  4. As good as the "Greatest Show on Turf" was, none of their 3 seasons were in the top 5.
  5. New England's 2007 season was truly special, scoring 0.28 pts/poss more than the 2nd placed 2011 Saints.

Where Denver's 2013 Season Stands

Denver's 2013 season ranks 1st in offensive points scored (571), 6th in points/play % (49.39) and 4th in points/possession (3.07).

For those who are interested in knowing what Denver's totals would look like had Manning played the full second halves against PHI and OAK (2nd time), there is no way to truly know.

However, it does appear that Denver's season was a top 5 season after looking at the other prolific seasons in the past 16 years, whether you look at them from a volume stand point or an efficiency stand point.

What is remarkable about this season is what Denver's offense accomplished considering these circumstances:

  1. Clady and JD Walton on IR
  2. Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman had a serious case of fumblitis early one.
  3. Julius Thomas had never played significant time in his NFL career before this year.
  4. John Fox was gone for 4 weeks during the toughest stretch for the Broncos.
  5. This was expected before the season began.
  6. At the same time the offensive line was beat up (weeks 6-9), Manning was having issues with his ankles.

Every team deals with adversity, but regardless of where this team ranks in the last 16 years or in NFL history, this year will go down as one of the greatest in Broncos history.

As always, Go Broncos!

Crush the Patriots...

* * * EDIT * * *

Here is a more comprehensive list of teams since 1999 who may have just failed to score 500 points as a team, but were more efficient on offense and had more offensive scores and fewer defensive and special teams touchdowns.

Each team below scored at least 450 total team points. Each of these teams below also scored at least 400 points on offense.

Points Per Play %


Year Team Est. Plys Est. Pts Pts/Plys
1 2011 Green Bay Packers 988 511 51.72
2 1998 Minnesota Vikings 1008 513 50.89
3 2000 St. Louis Rams 1014 512 50.49
4 2007 New England Patriots 1058 533 50.38
5 2004 Indianapolis Colts 968 487 50.31
6 2013 Denver Broncos 1156 571 49.39
7 2001 St. Louis Rams 1007 468 46.47
8 2011 New Orleans Saints 1117 519 46.46
9 2006 San Diego Chargers 1016 471 46.36
10 2010 New England Patriots 986 455 46.15

Year Team Est. Plys Est. Pts Pts/Plys
11 2002 Kansas City Chiefs 965 439 45.49
12 1998 Denver Broncos 1041 473 45.44
13 1999 St. Louis Rams 994 447 44.97
14 2011 New England Patriots 1082 485 44.82
15 2007 Dallas Cowboys 975 427 43.79
16 2009 Minnesota Vikings 1054 459 43.55
17 2003 Kansas City Chiefs 1003 435 43.37
18 2009 New Orleans Saints 1032 447 43.31
19 2009 San Diego Chargers 972 417 42.90
20 2005 Seattle Seahawks 1020 431 42.25

Year Team Est. Plys Est. Pts Pts/Plys
21 2008 New Orleans Saints 1047 440 42.02
22 2012 New England Patriots 1191 499 41.90
23 2004 Kansas City Chiefs 1089 455 41.78
24 2007 Indianapolis Colts 1020 425 41.67
25 2000 Oakland Raiders 1023 426 41.64
26 2009 Green Bay Packers 1042 431 41.36
27 2011 Detroit Lions 1058 423 39.98
28 2012 New Orleans Saints 1067 426 39.93
29 2012 Denver Broncos 1090 421 38.62
30 2002 Oakland Raiders 1069 408 38.17
31 2000 Denver Broncos 1115 420 37.67

Headcount: Denver (4x), New England (4x), New Orleans (4x), Kansas City (3x), St. Louis (3x), Green Bay (2x), Indianapolis (2x), Minnesota (2x), Oakland (2x), San Diego (2x), Dallas, Detroit, Seattle.

Points Per Possession


Year Team Est. Poss Est. Pts Pts./Poss
1 2007 New England Patriots 157 533 3.39
2 2011 New Orleans Saints 167 519 3.11
3 2011 Green Bay Packers 165 511 3.10
4 2013 Denver Broncos 186 571 3.07
5 2004 Indianapolis Colts 162 487 3.01
6 2000 St. Louis Rams 173 512 2.96
7 2010 New England Patriots 156 455 2.92
8 2011 New England Patriots 168 485 2.89
9 2012 New England Patriots 178 499 2.80
10 2007 Indianapolis Colts 155 425 2.74

Year Team Est. Poss Est. Pts Pts./Poss
11 2001 St. Louis Rams 171 468 2.74
12 2009 San Diego Chargers 154 417 2.71
13 2006 San Diego Chargers 174 471 2.71
14 2002 Kansas City Chiefs 164 439 2.68
15 2008 New Orleans Saints 166 440 2.65
16 2004 Kansas City Chiefs 174 455 2.61
17 2009 Minnesota Vikings 178 459 2.58
18 2002 Oakland Raiders 160 408 2.55
19 2009 New Orleans Saints 176 447 2.54
20 1999 St. Louis Rams 177 447 2.53

Year Team Est. Poss Est. Pts Pts./Poss
21 2007 Dallas Cowboys 172 427 2.48
22 2005 Seattle Seahawks 176 431 2.45
23 2009 Green Bay Packers 176 431 2.45
24 2003 Kansas City Chiefs 180 435 2.42
25 2000 Oakland Raiders 177 426 2.41
26 2012 New Orleans Saints 178 426 2.39
27 2012 Denver Broncos 176 421 2.39
28 2000 Denver Broncos 178 420 2.36
29 2011 Detroit Lions 190 423 2.23

Headcount: Same as above, except for 1998 Denver Broncos and 1998 Minnesota Vikings.

Enjoy!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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