A Team Finishing With Just 1 Point Is Possible

Published on November 15th, 2021 1:18 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

A potential scenario of the nearly impossible one point score in a game of football. NFL teams can finish a game with 0 points, 2 points, 3 points, 4 points and 5 points, though can they finish a game with just 1 point?

Answer: it is possible, though the chances of it happening are practically zero. It hasn't happened yet, and there is a very good chance that it never happens in our lifetimes.

How would a team score just a single point in a game? The 1-point safety, which we have talked about before on this site.

Rule 11, Section 3, Article 2 (c) of the NFL rulebook states:

"If the try results in what would ordinarily be a safety against either team, one point is awarded to the opponent".


So, in order for a team to score just one point in a game, they would have to:

1) Score a 1-point safety
2) Not score any other points over the course of a game

A defense giving up a 1-point safety is MUCH more likely than the offense giving up a 1-point safety, which makes this even more unlikely. After all, if the defense gives up a 1-point safety, it means that the offense has just scored a touchdown.

There have been a few cases of a 1-point safety in college football, though no known occurrences of the offensive team giving up a 1-point safety.

In order for the offense to give up a 1-point safety, they would have to score a touchdown and then somehow end up in their OWN endzone (90+ yards down the field) following an unsuccessful single point or two-point conversion.

The only plausible scenario in which this could occur is if there was an unsuccessful conversion attempt and the defense scooped up the ball and ran down the field, only to be stripped of the football, with the offensive team picking up the ball outside of the endzone and getting tackled inside of the endzone.

So, you'd need this to happen, plus you'd need the team scoring the 1-point safety to not score any more points at all during the game.


So - the 1-point game is possible, though VERY unlikely to ever happen.

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