Compared to NFL games, are Wrestling Matches Competitive?

Point Differential w Watermark
Point Differential w Watermark

In our sample of ~2,800 varsity high school wrestling matches, only 38% ended in a decision. Of these matches that went the distance, the winning margin was as follows:

In this sample, only 13% of all matches were winnable (or "tie-able") with a non-exposure move -- takedown, escape or reverse -- at the whistle.  Over a twenty year span, NFL games were won by a field goal or less 24% of the time.   Also, in this sample, 24% of all matches were winnable with a non-exposure + near fall move at the buzzer.  Again, over a twenty year span, NFL games were won by a touchdown or less 46% of the time.

Is the NFL twice as competitive (=interesting to watch) as a high school wrestling match?  Maybe.  It's pretty easy to shoot holes in this presentation.  Perhaps a better analysis would be a comparison of dual meet scores and NFL scores.  Or, dual meet scores and high school football scores.  Yet, the NFL is a successful product and we want wrestling to be likewise.

One last thing: technical falls comprised only 2.5% of all match outcomes in this sample.  Achieving a tech fall, according to this data, is very, very difficult -- 1 in 40 matches!  However, pins make up about 49% of all outcomes.  Personally, I love the action associated with a wrestler pursuing a tech fall.  But, for me, it's too rare.  Seems like we could cut the tech fall point differential threshold or perhaps, as some have suggested, allow for a pointless escape after gaining control.

What do you think?



Takedown Scoring and Stats is a single-team focused, mobile app for scoring wrestling matches, generating stats, managing teams and engaging fans via social media.