The Dolphins, Broncos, Jets, Eagles, and NFL “Scorigami”

Anyone who follows US sports will be well aware that the dedication to pointing out historical statistics has no parallel in any other country. Follow a live baseball feed on social media, and you’ll be sure to see some statistician point out an interesting titbit on the pitcher’s ERA or shortstop’s OBP. American Football is no different, of course, but few things get the statisticians excited quite like “scorigami”, i.e., whenever a game ends in a result never recorded before in NFL history. 

We bring it up because we recently bore witness to a scorigami with the Miami Dolphins’ 70-20 victory over the Denver Broncos in Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season. It was, in fact, the 1,077th unique score in NFL history. The milestone caused a stir on social media, not least on the Twitter/X account dedicated to charting scorigami. And, as if to take some of the wind out of the Dolphins’ sails, the Eagles and Buccanneers recorded another scorigami on Monday Night Football a day after, recording a 25-11 score for the Eagles in the 1078th scorigami. 

Rare to see a team hit 70

Despite having over 1,000 unique scores, scorigami naturally becomes rarer and rarer over time. However, there are still a bunch of scores that have not yet occurred and aren’t that out of the ordinary. The Dolphins’ 70-20 scoreline was a much more “unique” one than the one registered by the Eagles, as it was an extraordinarily high score achieved by the Dolphins. 

The Dolphins have been a popular pick in NFL weekly tips by betting experts this season, and they are considered among the top five or six teams with a real chance of winning Super Bowl LVIII. However, few tipsters could have predicted the Dolphins hitting 70 points. It’s only the fourth time in NFL history that a team has scored 70 or more. Another team did score exactly 70 when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Baltimore Colts 70-27 in 1950. The Bears hammered the Washington Redskins 73-0 back in 1940. And the Redskins beat the New York Giants 72-41 in 1966. And yes, the latter is also the highest-scoring game in NFL history. 

20-17 is most frequent score

So, as you can appreciate, the Dolphins’ win was both a scorigami and a rare event in itself, given the feat of reaching a score of 70. The Eagles’ score might feel a little more prosaic to NFL watchers in comparison, but sometimes there are mathematical quirks in the scoring system, and 25-11 is an “awkward” scoreline. 

When the New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers 20-17 in Week 2 this season, it certainly was not scorigami. But it was a remarkable score due to its frequency. 20-17 is, in fact, the most frequent score in NFL history. The Saints and Panthers’ game was the 284th time that a game finished at this scoreline. 

While the concept of scorigami is pure math, credit for the concept goes to John Bois. The sportswriter and blogger created a video series called “Every NFL Score Ever”, the point of which was to highlight the probable and improbable scores. The concept caught on, and now fans with a taste for stats and history keep an eye out for unique final scores. There are still plenty of possible scores that aren’t completely unusual – 32-22 or 39-15, for example – that have not been achieved in scorigami yet, so it’s possible that we will see more scorigamis as the 2023 NFL season progresses.