Last year the Seattle Seahawks made waves for holding an 11-5 record with a plus-seven point differential. This year, they’re on pace for something maybe not quite as strange, but still very hard to pull off.
We are, of course, talking about the elite and elusive 400/400 club.
If you’ve never heard of the 400/400 club, that’s because it doesn’t formally exist. Not yet, anyways. We’re still getting our licenses in order and trying to find affordable rental space in this market. But I got the idea from the observation that Seattle has scored 30 points in all but one of their games, and given up 25 in all but two of their games. That’s just a ton of points. They’re the top team in points scored per game, and the fifth-worst team in points allowed per game.
The original question was what would it look like for this team to be the NFL’s #1 in points scored and allowed. Then it occurred to me that all they have to do is allow two and a half more points per game. This is depressing and not worth any more time.
So the research became more along the lines of evaluating teams that score a ton and give up a ton, and what that does for the standings.
Turns out, what these guys are doing is kind of hard to do.
The Seahawks are currently on pace to finish 2020 with 516 points scored, and 473 points against. That would put them in rare air, with about one team per year, most of them losers.
In 2019, only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had over 400 in both categories. They went 7-9.
In 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons did it.
In 2017, nobody did it.
In 2016, three teams went 400-400, two of them were bottom of their division. Only the 11-5 Falcons, who scored 540 points(!) had a good season.
In 2015, two teams did it, both New York Giants and New Orleans Saints had losing records.
The most prolific team to score and be scored upon, in the last decade, were the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs. At 565 points for and 421 points against, their offense was better than these Seahawks, and would you actually believe it their defense was better as well.
In the last six years, the Chiefs and Falcons were a combined 23-7 in their 400/400 seasons, while the other six teams were a combined 39-57.
In any given year, roughly 10 of the 32 NFL teams score 400 points in a season. Generally speaking, having a top-third offense and a bottom-third defense is far more likely to produce a losing record than a playoff contender.
At 6-3, the Seahawks are well on their way to the latter, but with how things are going lately it’s reasonable to doubt. Russell Wilson needs to find his early season stride, and while the 400/400 club means it’s been intriguing football to watch, Seattle is also hoping eventually they figure out the secondary and don’t threaten joining the 500/500 club quite so much.