A nearly unprecedented number of NFL games this season have not even been competitive.
The 2021 season has already had 21 games decided by 21 or more points. According to the Associated Press, that’s the second-most through seven weeks since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
This past Sunday was particularly ugly: Six games were decided by 22 points or more. It was only the third time in the last 100 years that the NFL saw six blowouts of 22 points or more in one day.
The NFL has been promoting the large number of overtime games and fourth-quarter comebacks, and there have been a lot of those exciting endings. But there have also been a lot of games that made fans turn off the game early.
A handful of dominant teams are winning a lot of blowouts: The Cardinals, Buccaneers and Bills have each won three games by 21 points or more, while the Bengals have won two.
Meanwhile, a few very bad teams are losing more than their share of blowouts: The Texans have already suffered three 21-point blowout losses while the Falcons, Dolphins, Giants and Jets have had two each.
One piece of good news for the NFL is that all 21 of the 21-point blowouts has been a Sunday afternoon game, meaning the networks can switch some markets to a closer game, and fans with Sunday Ticket or Red Zone can change the channel and see more competitive football. No prime time Sunday night, Monday night or Thursday night game has been decided by 21 points or more.
But the high rate of blowouts is not a good thing for the league. Competitive games are a better product, and the NFL has had plenty of games that are getting out of hand.