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, recording video, creating stats, managing teams and rosters, and engaging fans via social media. Download from the App Store.

Subscribe to our Blog by Email