2012: The Year of the Kicker
A lot (a whole lot) was made of the fact that Week 1 of the 2012 season was the highest scoring in NFL history. The issue is that no one really investigated what made it the highest scoring in NFL history. For the most part, it was just chalked up as the demise of defenses and the rise of offenses in the NFL...but I have to disagree. The biggest difference between the 2011 and 2012 opening week was the number of field goals kicked. In fact, there were 24 more made field goals on the first week in 2012 (67 made vs 43 made), while there were 2 fewer offensive touchdowns (four more rushing and six fewer passing) compared to 2011. There were four fewer special teams touchdowns while there were two more defensive touchdowns.
The most amazing part of this season is that there have been 129 attempted field goals already this season with only 8 total misses. No single kicker has had more than one miss, and the league as a whole is 13 - 16 on kicks of fifty yards or greater; the average is close to 50%. This trend looks as though it may continue, but you can't blame more field goals on defenses. If anything, the no-huddle offenses are creating more field goal opportunities against notably tougher defenses that aren't allowing as many touchdowns. Don't blame the defenses; blame the offensive coordinators.