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540 Points? Most Points Scored in NFL Regular-season History: NFL Fan’s Review
The Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints are headlining a new era of football that favors high-powered offenses. Led by Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, the Packers and Saints have both scored over 500 points as they head into their regular-season finales for the 2011-12 NFL season. The Packers have scored 515 points over their first 15 games. The Saints have scored 502. The 2009-10 Saints scored 510 points en route to a Super Bowl championship.
Both teams have decisions to make with resting starters. However, they have an opportunity to join an elite group of teams who've scored 540 or more points throughout the regular season. Only four teams have reached this milestone. Only two of those teams surpassed 541 points.
What's the most fascinating tidbit of information surrounding these four teams? None of them won the Super Bowl. Two of these teams didn't win their conference championship. One of them didn't even advance past wild-card weekend.
Here are the four teams who scored 540 points or more throughout an entire regular season heading into the 2011-12 season.
2000-01 St. Louis Rams 540 (33.75 Points Per Game)
The 2000-01 St. Louis Rams were in the midst of their "Greatest Show on Turf" dynasty that featured three playoff appearances, two conference championships and one Super Bowl championship in three seasons. The 2000-01 Rams were coming off a Super Bowl win. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz was promoted to head coach when Dick Vermeil retired.
The Rams had three consecutive seasons where they accumulated 500 points or more. What's often forgotten is that the Rams complimented their explosive offenses with one of the NFL's best defenses. That's what made them truly special in their two Super Bowl appearances.
The 2000-01 Rams had no defense. While they scored 540 points, they also surrendered 471 points. The Rams also had the NFL's 26th-ranked turnover differential at -10.
The Rams started 6-0 before they lost six of their next 10 games. The Saints would earn their first playoff victory in franchise history when they defeated the Rams in the wild-card round. "There is a God after all!"
1983-84 Washington Redskins: 541 (33.81 Points Per Game)
The 1983-84 Washington Redskins and 2011-12 Packers have a few glaring similarities.
Both teams won the Super Bowl in the previous season. They both have 500-point offenses. They both have defenses that surrendered approximately 21 points per game. They both had remarkable turnover differentials (the Redskins were +43). Of course, the Packers didn't have a John Riggins.
The Redskins waltzed into the Super Bowl with a 14-2 record. Their only regular-season losses occurred in the regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys (31-30) and a 48-47 loss to the Packers. The Oakland Raiders would eventually upset the Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII, 38-9.
1998-99 Minnesota Vikings: 556 (34.75 Points Per Game)
Before Brian Billick was recognized as the Super Bowl-winning head coach of arguably the greatest defense in NFL history, Billick was known as the mastermind behind the Minnesota Vikings' historic offense during the 1998-99 season. The Packers had represented the NFC in the past two Super Bowls. However, the Vikings had just added Randy Moss to an offense that included Randall Cunningham, Robert Smith, Chris Carter, Jake Reed and Andrew Glover.
Led by head coach Dennis Green, the Vikings finished that season at 15-1. The Vikings scored 556 points. They only surrendered 260 points. They never scored fewer than 24 points throughout the entire regular season and postseason. They appeared like an unstoppable force.
They'd lose to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game, 30-27. Gary Anderson had been 35-of-35 on field-goal attempts prior to a miss during the fourth quarter. That allowed the Falcons to tie the game and win it in overtime.
2007-08 New England Patriots: 589 (36.81 Points Per Game)
The 2007-08 New England Patriots are the only team in NFL history to complete an undefeated regular season in a 16-game schedule. The Patriots rolled into Super Bowl XLII with an 18-0 record. The New York Giants would spoil their parade for an undefeated season with a 17-14 upset.
The Patriots combined a seemingly unstoppable offense (589 points) with a bend-but-don't-break defense that only surrendered 274 points. The Patriots scored 34 or more points in nine of their first ten games. They had a string of five games where they scored 48, 49, 52, 24 and 56. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was constantly accused of running-up-the-score because they'd run fake spikes and go for it on fourth down when up by huge margins.
1961 Houston Oilers (AFL): 513 (36.64 points per game).
To Be Determined:
2011-12 Green Bay Packers 515 (Through Week 16; 34.33 Points Per Game)
2011-12 New Orleans Saints 502 (Through Week 16; 33.46 Points Per Game)
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 while completing a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs and Nashville Predators. He also follows the Tennessee Titans, his favorite AFC team.
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