As we get ready to start the 2012 National Football League season in a couple of weeks, teams are hoping to get off to a good start in their first regular season game. Teams are hoping their offense will click and be able to put points on the board. On the defensive side of the ball, teams are hoping to keep their opponents out of the end zone.
In 2011, three teams allowed only one touchdown on their way to Week 1 victories: Buffalo beat Kansas City 41-7, Houston defeated the Indianapolis Colts 34-7 and the Ravens started their 2011 season with a 35-7 win over Pittsburgh. There were, however, no shutouts in Week 1 of the 2011 season.
Since 2000, there have been only eight Week 1 shutouts in the NFL. The last was in 2009, when the Seattle Seahawks defeated the St. Louis Rams 28-0. Following are the Week 1 shutouts in the league since 2000.
2009: Seattle over St. Louis, 28-0
2006: Dallas over Tampa Bay, 27-0; Chicago over Green Bay, 26-0; San Diego over Oakland, 27-0.
2003: Buffalo over New England, 31-0; Tampa Bay over Philadelphia, 17-0
2000: Baltimore over Pittsburgh, 16-0; Miami over Seattle, 23-0
In the Super Bowl era (since 1966), the most Week 1 shutouts was in 1977, when there were five shutouts. Second most was in 2006, with three.
Since 1966, three franchises have had four Week 1 shutouts: Pittsburgh, Oakland and Seattle. Following are the teams that have had at least one or more Week 1 shutout since 1966.
Week 1 shutouts since 1966, franchises
4: Pittsburgh, Oakland, Seattle
3: Baltimore, Dallas, Tennessee (as Houston Oilers), Miami, Washington
2: Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit
1: Atlanta, Green Bay, Kansas City, New Orleans, N.Y. Giants, San Diego, Tampa Bay
The Houston Oilers in 1975, 1976 and 1977 started each of those seasons with a shutout. The Steelers had three Week 1 shutouts in four seasons when they held their opponents scoreless in Week 1 in 1974, 1975 and 1977.
Note: Going back to 1940, there have been two teams that shut out their opponents in the first two games of the season. It was first accomplished in 1942 by the Chicago Cardinals. In 1945, the Cleveland Rams shut out their opponents in the first two games of the season.
Since 1966, the fewest points allowed in the first two games is three. This has been accomplished three times: The 1970 Detroit Lions, 1976 Houston Oilers and 1981 Buffalo Bills, all allowed only three points in their first two games.