By Howard Balzer
As the XFL enters Week 4 of the season, one persistent subject continues to be overall scoring and conversion attempts after touchdowns. The two are clearly tied together.
After 12 games, XFL games average 40.4 points (485 total). Comparing that figure to the NFL’s average of 45.6 in 2019, as some do, is like the cliché apples and oranges considering XFL teams had about 40 practices prior to the start of the season with players and coaches getting to know each other for the first time during OTAs and minicamps in December.
In addition, XFL points scored aren’t padded by kicked extra points. In 12 games, XFL teams have scored 60 touchdowns, an average of 5.0 per game. The NFL average this past season was 5.2. However, XFL games have produced a total of 28 points on conversion attempts.
If the XFL allowed kicking, and the result was the same as the NFL’s 94-percent success rate, there would have been another 28 points scored this season, or 2.3 per game, which would increase the average to just under 43 per game. XFL teams are 6-for-27 on 1-point attempts, 8-for-27 on 2-point tries and 2-for-6 on 3-pointers. One of those 3-point successes came from the 5-yard line because of a defensive penalty.
A better comparison would be to The Alliance, which played just eight games last season, also with eight teams. Remarkably, in its first 12 games, AAF teams scored 472 points, just 13 fewer than the XFL.
Both leagues also had/have issues with point differential. XFL winning teams have scored 329 points (27.4 average) and losers 156 (13.0). Six losing teams have scored fewer than 10 points and only two – St. Louis in Week 2 with 24 and Tampa Bay in Week 3 with 27 – have reached 20 points. Conversely, only two winning teams have scored fewer than 20: St. Louis in Week 1 with 15 and Seattle in Week 2 with 17.
There have been seven XFL games with double-digit point differentials and five of those were 20 or more highlighted by last week’s blowout Sunday when Los Angeles won by 30 and St. Louis by 20. The Wildcats led by 24 at halftime and the BattleHawks by 20.
In the AAF, the margins of victory were eerily similar to the XFL: 315-157, an average of 26.3-13.1. The Alliance had six games with double-digit differentials and three of 20 or more.
While many fixate on TV ratings (for good reason), exciting, close games keep viewers watching, especially in an eight-team league where many fans that love to watch football don’t have a rooting interest in a specific team.
Always consider that announced TV ratings are the average for the entire game, which doesn’t reflect the total number of people that were watching at various points in the game.