Chiefs-Rams scorefest a harbinger of NFL’s future — to a point

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The answers are yes, yes and … sort of. Yes, the Rams did beat the Chiefs 54-51 in a game that featured more touchdowns (14) than the Buffalo Bills have scored this season (13). It’s the first NFL game ever in which each team scored at least 50. And yes, the entertainment value was through the roof. How often in this life do things live up to their advance hype?

But in terms of whether this is the kind of game we should expect to see all the time now, the answer’s a little more complicated. nfl nike jerseys cheap china No way is every game going to be 54-51 from here on out, but the POSSIBILITY of a 54-51 game has bought a house at the end of the cul-de-sac and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Monday night showed us the direction in which the NFL is heading, and has been heading for some time. Statistically, and in terms of pace and excitement, Monday’s game wasn’t much different from last year’s Super Bowl. This thing’s not about to self-correct and turn the other direction, probably ever. Monday night was the culmination of years of rules changes that protect QBs and receivers and favor pass-happy offenses, and of a wave of head-coaching hires that come from the offensive side of the ball.8

Of the 20 head coaches hired in the NFL in the past three years, 15 came from offensive backgrounds, and you shouldn’t expect that trend to change any time soon. If you’re an owner considering making a coaching change this offseason and you watched Sean McVay against Andy Reid on Monday night, you’re thinking to yourself, “How do I get some of that?” The head coach you hire is almost certainly going to be a guy who convinces you he has a binderful of fancy new ideas about how to score points. You need to do it to win. Of the bottom 16 teams in the NFL right now in points per game, only one (Washington, 6-4) has a winning record.

The league-wide scoring average per game right now is 48.4 points (combined for both teams), which would be the highest since the 1970 merger if it holds up all year. (And that is an “IF,” as the bad-weather games are right around the corner.) Only eight teams in league history have averaged more points per game through the first 11 weeks of a season than this year’s Rams have (35.4), and two of those eight are this year’s Chiefs (36.7) and Saints (37.8).cheap official nike nfl jerseys

The scoring revolution you’re seeing is real, and it’s no accident. Chiefs-Rams was the highest-rated Monday Night Football game in four years, up 57 percent over last year’s Week 11 Monday night game. The league likes it like this and will continue to encourage scoring in any and every way it can. The last couple of years have been rough ones for the NFL as an entertainment product, and since that’s what it is at its core, the league has a vested interest in making itself as entertaining as possible.

I still don’t believe it’s as simple and dramatic, however, as “Football as we know it is over.” We’re not ready yet to go all the way into the hand-wringing about defense being dead. Scoring is up, sure, but that 48.4 points per game is only 1.6 more (less than a point per team per game) than the previous high in 2013. Heck, the third-highest-scoring season in league history was 1948, when games averaged 46.4 points.