NFL Secret Revealed: It’s a passing league!
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that the NFL is a passing league. Most of the stars are the quarterbacks, the highest draft choices seem to be the QBs and receivers, and even defenses are loading up on players who can put pressure on the QB and those who can cover the bigger, faster receivers. While we constantly hear that teams need to establish the run and have a solid running game to win in the NFL, the passing game seems to be the preferred way to get in the end zone these days.
Last season there were 745 passing TDs and 400 rushing TDs in NFL regular-season games. This was the fifth time in league history that there were 300+ more passing TDs than rushing TDs in a season. The 2010 season saw 751 passing TDs and 399 rushing TDs, a difference of 352. That was the largest difference between the two modes of offensive scoring in NFL history.
In 2011, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers had the largest difference between passing TDs and rushing TDs in the league. The Packers had 51 TDs via the air and only 12 on the ground, a difference of 39.
Here’s a look at the teams that had the biggest difference in passing TDs and rushing TDs in 2011.
Team, Pass TDs/Rush TDs, Diff.
Green Bay: 51/12 +39
Detroit: 41/9 +32
New Orleans: 46/16 +30
Dallas: 33/5 +28
New England: 39/18 +21
Tennessee: 22/8 +14
New York Giants: 29/17 +12
Buffalo: 24/12 +12
Cleveland: 16/4 +12
New York Jets: 26/14 +12
Note: The Carolina Panthers were the only team last season to have more rushing touchdowns that passing TDs. The Panthers had 26 TDs rushing and 21 passing. The Seattle Seahawks had 15 rushing TDs and 15 passing TDs.
As mentioned above, the NFL has had more passing TDs than rushing TDs in a season every year since 1956. There are currently nine NFL teams that have had more passing TDs than rushing TDs each season for ten or more years. Leading the way are the Saints and the Packers. The Saints have the longest current streak of scoring more touchdowns by passing than by running in a season for 25 straight seasons. The Packers have done it for 23 consecutive years.
Here are the teams with the current longest streaks of more passing TDs than rushing TDs.
Team, Consecutive seasons with more pass TDs than rush TDs
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