Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big Play Scoring

Have you ever wondered why a 17-14 game can be infinitely more compelling than a 27-24 game? How is it that the game with less points can be immeasurably more entertaining to watch, while the contest with more points can manage to be slightly more boring than watching paint dry?

I have the answer! Due to popular demand and a national uprising regarding the nuts, bolts, and inner workings of the concept that is "Big Play Scoring", I am providing you with the previously proprietary analysis of football games.

The next time you watch a football game, score "Big Plays" of both teams and keep a running total of the tally of Big Play Points vs. Scoreboard Points at each score and at the end of each period. At the conclusion of the contest, it is the team with the most Big Play Points that will prevail on the scoreboard. Interestingly enough, Big Play Points totals will tell a more accurate story of how close or lopsided, entertaining or boring, the game really was.

Here's how you do it:

The offense, defense, and special teams are awarded the number of points specified below for achievement of the corresponding "Big Play". Remember, no "doubling up" on's one or the other, though you should choose the "Big Play Points" award that grants the most points. For example, a gain of 40+ yards on First Down would not get 1 Point for going "First Down to First Down" and 2 Points for a "Gain of 40+ yards". You would award just the two points for the offense having gained 40+ yards.

Also, we have to have strict adherence to the rules of Big Play Scoring. A gain of 10 yards on First Down would garner a point because it results in going "First Down to First Down". On any other down, there must be a gain of at least 20 yards to get points. For example, a gain of 19 yards on 2nd or 3rd down would not be awarded points, and it only would deserve points on 4th Down if it resulted in a "4th Down Conversion".

On some occassions, both teams can score Big Play Points on the same play: If an offensive unt in the Red Zone is held to a Field Goal, they would get 1 Point for having scored, but the defensive unit would also be awarded 1 Point for having held their opponent in the Red Zone to only a Field Goal.

Pay attention to the Big Play Scoring rules. You should understand, for example, that a failed Onside Kick attempt that is recovered beyond the 50-yard line (as, of course, is likely by very definition of a failed Onside Kick attempt) would count as 1 Big Play Point because it is in effect the Special Teams returning (recovering) a Punt/Kickoff beyond the 50-yard line.

Here's the official rules for Big Play Scoring:


Points & Play Description

1 First Down to First Down
1 Gain of 20+ yards
1 Field Goal
1 4th Down Conversion
2 Gain of 40+ yards
2 Touchdown
2 2-Point Conversion
3 Touchdown of 50+ yards


Points & Play Description

1 Sack
1 Forced Punt
1 Hold Opponent to Red Zone Field Goal
1 Fumble Recovery
1 Interception
2 Forced Turnover on Downs
2 Fumble Recovery in/returned to Red Zone
2 Interception in/returned to Red Zone
2 Safety
3 Defensive Touchdown

Special Teams

Points & Play Description

1 Punt/Kickoff Return Team Pinned inside 5-yard line
1 Punt/Kickoff Return Team returns ball beyond the 50-yard line
2 Punt/Kickoff Return Team returns ball to Red Zone
2 Onside Kickoff Executed Successfully
3 Punt/Kickoff Return for a touchdown

Remember, points earned are points kept. No play, no matter how boneheaded, results in Big Play Points being subtracted.

For oficial "Big Play Tracker" and "Big Play Data Input" sheets, just e-mail a request to to begin your fun with Big Play Scoring!

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