Scoring defense and total defense are two statistics that are used to measure a defense’s ability to stop an opponent.
The difference between scoring defense vs total defense is that total defense measures the yards given up while the scoring defense measures points given up.
What Is Scoring Defense In Football?
A scoring defense in the NFL is a measurement of the total points scored against a team. This means all the points scored against the team and not just on the defense.
If a team were to score on an interception return or a kick return these points would be added to the scoring defense. In other words, defensive scores and special teams scores are going to be added to the number of points scored against the defense.
This may seem strange as the defense is not on the field for these plays but this is how the NFL has decided to measure this stat.
What Is Total Defense In Football?
Total defense is a statistic used to measure the total number of yards a defense has given up throughout a game. This does not include yards from defensive turnovers or special teams.
This measurement only adds up the number of yards that were allowed when the defense was on the field. Total defense is the standard measurement that the NFL uses to rank defenses.
Total defense is often show the YPG statistic which stands for yards per game.
Which Is The Better Measurement And why
Both of these measurements are a quality way to measure the effectiveness of a defense. That being said both of these methods have flaws.
Total Scoring Defense
The total scoring defense in our opinion is the less accurate of the two options for several reasons. The first is the aforementioned special teams and defensive scoring. Including special teams scoring and defensive scores such as a pick-six into the statistic is misleading.
This forces the defense to account for points it didn’t allow. These sorts of touchdowns are not typically scored in excess but they do occur enough to move the numbers. This is especially true if you play for a quarterback that is dangerous with the football.
The other issue with the total scoring football statistic is that it does not account for a bad offense. If the opposing team gets the ball on your end of the field there is a high probability they walk away with a field goal at the least.
The opposing teams field position and time of possession are both going to affect the number of points that are scored against your defense. These are also both stats that are largely influenced by the quality of your offense.
In other words, a team with a poor offense is going to artificially inflate their defense’s scoring stats due to their inability to move and maintain the ball.
Total Defense (Yards)
The total defense statistic is in our opinion the better of the two options when it comes to measuring a defense’s performance.
The total yards defense only takes into account the yards that are gained while the defense is on the field. This is a big benefit of this statistic as the defense is in total control of the yardage they allow.
The disadvantage of this statistic is that yards are not whats on the scoreboard. By that we mean football is a game won or lost based on how many points you score. Not how many yards you give up. By measuring yards instead of points you are not getting focusing on the most important aspect of a defense.
That being said measuring total yardage is a pretty accurate way to predict the defense’s performance. You will notice that the team that gives up fewer yards is much more likely to win the game. And the total defense statistic is only measured when the defense is on the field.
This is why we believe the total defense stat to be the better judge of a defense’s performance than the total scoring.