Why NFL Europe Games are Low-Scoring

Ever notice that the NFL games played in London & Germany have pretty low-scores? The reasons why these scores are so low might surprise you!

Why NFL Europe Games are Low-Scoring
Wade McElwain

Written by: Wade McElwain

(Senior Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2023-11-08

Why NFL Europe Games are Low-Scoring

When it comes to NFL teams playing games in Europe, things don’t always go to plan.

Sure it’s fun and exciting to hop on a plane, and jet to another continent, but when it comes to the average scores of NFL games, things get lower, a lot lower.

Over the past 6 seasons the average game point score in the NFL is 47.5 points a game, however the London games in this same period have yielded only an average point score of 40.5 points, and Germany 32 points in their two games.  In the three 2023 London games, they averaged only 38 points per game, with many points coming off punts.
So why are NFL Europe games so low-scoring?  

Frankfurt Frustrations

In the November 5th Frankfurt match up between the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs, it was a contest of two the highest-scoring teams in the NFL.
With both teams averaging over an easy 25 points per game between them, they only were able to put up a whopping 35 points in total in the first of the German games.

If it weren’t for a garbage time drop by Tyreek Hill to end the first half that ended in a pick 6, there would have only been a total of 14 points at halftime.  There was little O in this show, it was all about the D, as in they both looked like Limp Discuits. 
The Chiefs went on to win, despite scoring zero points in the second half, and super stud Travis Kelce only getting 14 yards, far short of his 75 projected.

Both teams played like their Gatorade bottles were spiked in the second half with lethargy, even if the NFL loving Frankfurt faithful tried to serenade them with “The Jewish Elvis” into the fight.  At the end of the game one thing was apparent on the looks of the faces of the players of both teams, they all wanted to get the hell home asap. 

The NFL games in Europe have been consistently delivering lower scores than US games, and yet  prognosticators and pundits haven’t been picking up on this trend.
Why do these NFL teams suck when it comes to playing in Europe?

There seems to be a lot of reasons that NFL teams struggle to connect on points when traveling overseas.  Let’s take a look at some of the the surprising reasons behind the low scores in NFL Europe games.

Young Men Travelling

With the average age of an NFL player being 26, that doesn’t give many of these young men much life travel experience when their whole life up to this point has been football.

So getting a passport, getting on a plane to a different country, with different customs, rules, sizes and food can be a bit of culture shock.

Not to mention these guys also have to tell their cell phone and credit card companies that they are going, and suddenly a fun trip abroad turns into a slug fest.

Oh and the time change.

All of these things affect a players mojo, and their ability to get into training routine and ready for the game.

NFL guy on toilet.jpg

Toilet Talk

One thing many North Americans notice about Europe is the difference in the commode.  It’s not as big, with flimsy lids, and thin little toilet paper.

Where’s the TV?

NFL teams who travel here have noticed this, and have resorted to bringing up to 500 rolls per week in anticipation of a heavy workload.  Given the girth and plunge of many of these large lads, some team supply managers even have to head to Home Depot before the flight to snag some heavy duty toilet seats.

It sounds silly, but imagine having to pull bits of broken toilet seat from a 300 pound man.

And try listing that on the injury report.  A man who can’t have good bm’s for several days will never play up to his potential.

Dirty Laundry

North Americans take their laundry seriously, and having the right settings, temperatures and starches are key to making a uniform looking crisp.

What, you didn’t know that NFL teams have very strict laundry protocols?  It’s not keeping the uniforms crisp with starch, they also need to be able to fix holes, sew buttons, and alter jerseys to the strict specifications of each player.

Sadly, the UK doesn’t have this, and team equipment managers must source a cleaner prior to their arrival with explicit instructions, and these managers are responsible if the gear comes back in ball in a large sack.

A team with sullied uniforms, rips, or the wrong number sewn on is not a happy team, and will play that way.

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Game Day

It’s NFL game day in Europe…in a soccer stadium.
Sure, they made it look like an NFL stadium, but it still screams ‘soccer’ from locker room to the fans wearing soccer jerseys.

Oh, and most of the fans don’t wear your uniform, they wear everyone’s uniforms.  Doesn’t feel so much as a home game, as it does a Comic-Con.

If the increased levels of humidity and proximity to a snapping cold they have never felt before doesn’t affect them, the turf will.

That’s right, NFL soccer stadiums in Europe use the dreaded turf, something players don’t play as hard on, as they know it causes severe injuries.

Just look at the Met Life monster turf whose claim of knees has seen average scores at the stadium drop like thunder. 
So when a team has to play a regular season game in a stadium they have never been to, with a turf they have never played on, and they get to fly home an hour after the game…why go hard?
European doctors would have no specialist training to deal with an immediate injury, so a painful airplane ride home isn’t worth it.

Just ask Ryan Tannehill.  He’s still out after the Tottenham turf took him down in early October.

The Taylor Effect

"What if Taylor Swift is at the game? Sounds silly, but over a 4-week period, she was able to essentially double the receiving stats of her BF, Travis Kelce. Travis sure could have used Taylor in Frankfurt, where he put up a lowly 14 yards, in one of the worst outings this season. Sadly dating David Hasselhoff, and having him in attendance has no effect on a player's game stats… that we know of.

Take The Under

With one final NFL game to hit Frankfurt on November 12th, 2023, all signs are pointing to an under, as the New England Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts. The advanced game line is 43.5 points over/under, with the Colts favoured by 2. It's like the sharps in Las Vegas didn't watch the Sunday game at all, as the Deutsche Bank Park ground the speed and progress of some of the most dynamic teams in the league to a Maginot.

With two perennially low-scoring teams heading into Germany for Week 10, look for the trend to continue, as all signs point to an under 35-point game.

A strange new field, first-time passports, weird plugs, no Popeye's Chicken, and tiny toilets that wreck more than your Candy Crushing; there is a lot that goes into the mental and physical balance of a big-time NFL player who is dependent on schedule.  With Roger Goodell announcing recently in Germany that the NFL was 'definitely' looking at a new city for the 2024 season, there will always be the question of player fatigue and unfamiliarity that will affect the bottom line.

Will the next NFL city be Barcelona? Rio de Janeiro? Paris?

Let's save that for another article. 

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain

Wade McElwain is our Mr. NFL, a bona fide North American sports nut who knows about NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA plus MMA boxing and more. Originally from Canada, Wade is also an international award-winning stand-up comedian; host of numerous TV game shows; and a TV producer & writer. He also runs NFL in London-the largest NFL fan group in Europe, and has hosted NFL events at Wembley and around the world. Yes, he lives alone and does nothing but watch sports.

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