Admit it, no matter where you watch football on Sundays, you’d love to be the smartest fan in the room, especially if you watch the games with people who claim to be “experts.” Just once you’d love to see the look on their face when you spit out a random, but accurate, statistic in the middle of an average conversation. Luckily, you’re not the only one. My girlfriend lives for these moments, and I know she’s not alone. So, instead of searching the internet for a trend or a tidbit that you may or may not ever find, allow me to lay out a handful of stats that even the most astute NFL fan would find interesting and enlightening.
That’s right, I’m making you the most interesting fan in the world.
Statistic #1: The top five teams, in terms of average yardage differential per game, own a combined 22-8 record (.733 winning percentage), out-gaining opponents by an average of 87.2 yards per game. Division leaders not on that list have a 26-10 record (.722) and have been out-gained by an average of 2.1 yards.
How to use this knowledge: If the losing team has more total yards than the winning team. Obviously you’d prefer to gain more yards, but there are six division leaders who are winning with regularity, without dominating their opponents from a yardage standpoint.
Statistic #2: The top three teams in terms of yards per carry (minimum 150 rush attempts) have a cumulative record of 7-11. The bottom three teams are 11-8.
How to use this knowledge: When you’re watching a team (like the Minnesota Vikings) who has a stud running back that is picking up significant yardage with each carry. You could also regurgitate this nugget in response to the common, “You need to run the ball efficiently to succeed” comment.
Statistic #3: The five offenses with the most fumbles are 21-10. The five least fumble prone offenses have a 15-13 record.
How to use this knowledge: This is just a goofy stat. If you’re the optimistic type, you could drop this tidbit after your team puts the ball on the turf.
Statistic #4: The top five defenses in sacks are 22-9, while the five least successful pass rushing teams are a pitiful 6-22.
How to use this knowledge: This would be good a good bit of knowledge to drop either after a sack or after a quarterback throws the ball away. “Avoiding the sack and keeping the down at a reasonable distance is huge because …”
Statistic #5: Teams that rank in the top five in pass yards per game are 18-10, while teams that rank in the top five in rush yards per game are 18-12.
How to use this knowledge: This proves that while it may not matter how effective each individual rush attempt is (see stat #2), high volume rushing teams are nearly as successful as high volume passing teams. So, when the Indianapolis Colts look to establish a running game this week and the fan base is growing frustrated, reassure them with this information.