The Seahawks' Week 4 win over the Indianapolis Colts featured a safety, a failed two point conversion by the Colts and a successful one by the Seahawks. All of those plays added up to a rather unusual final score, Seahawks 46, Colts 18, a result that kept alive one of the strangest—and yes, probably least significant—streaks in football.
Since Pete Carroll took over as the head coach of the Seahawks in 2010, Seattle has now had one game each season in which they won by a score that had never before happened in the NFL, and that, as of now, has not been repeated since.
- 2010—Seahawks 36, Cardinals 18
- 2011—Seahawks 36, Giants 25
- 2012—Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0
- 2013—Seahawks 43, Broncos 8 (Super Bowl XLVIII)
- 2014—Seahawks 36, Packers 16
- 2015—Seahawks 39, Steelers 30
- 2016—Seahawks 37, 49ers 18
- 2017—Seahawks 46, Colts 18
"I think that's freaking awesome, yeah," Carroll said when asked about his team's streak of unique final scores. "Isn't that cool? How does that happen? It can happen once or twice, but it has happened eight years in a row. I don't know if that has ever happened before. I love that."
To answer some of Carroll's questions—how does it happen? Has it happened before?—we reached out to Jon Bois, the creative director of SB Nation Labs. Several years back, curiosity caused Bois to dig more into this concept of unique final scores and how they occur, and he came up with the term scorigami—as he puts it, in both origami and scorigami, "you're inventing something crazy out of something ostensibly ordinary," paper or final scores of NFL games.
"If a game ends 28-10, you don't bat an eye," Bois said via email. "But if it's 29-10, you're like, 'Man, what happened here?' All it takes is that one extra point to wonder what kind of sordid developments brought this into being. A safety? Did they go for two? Maybe even both? You can spend a couple minutes dwelling on four digits and a hyphen. I love that."
Carroll probably won't hang that list of missing scores in his office and set goals for 2018, but one of the league's more curious, inquisitive minds does find this streak rather interesting even if it's not particularly significant.
"We can start planning for it," Carroll joked. "I'm not worried about this year, but next year we'll obviously get that underway so we can figure out how to take care of business there."
According to Bois' research, Carroll is, by a large margin, the league's scorigami leader with eight unique scores. Next on the list is New England's Bill Belichick, who has been coaching the Patriots since 2000. In any given year, Bois expects to see three or four scorigami game, league wide, during an entire season—though this year is ahead of pace with three already—and yet the Seahawks have done it every single year for nearly a decade.
As for why Carroll's Seahawks keep producing those unique scores, there's definitely some luck involved, but there are a few explanations for it as well. For starters, the Seahawks have been very good under Carroll, winning quite a few games by lopsided margins, and the higher one team's score goes, the fewer games there have been that reached that level of scoring. And, as Bois notes, coaches like Carroll, Belichick and Jim Harbaugh, who had three scorigami games with the 49ers, tend to think outside of the box when it comes to in-game decisions, which can create unique scores.
"They'll occasionally make a wildly unconventional play call," Bois said. "If you call a weird game, some of that weirdness will find its way into the final score once in a while."
If you really want to go down the scorigami rabbit hole, be sure to watch this video from Bois below. He touches on Carroll and the Seahawks, as well as fans' role in the most famous scorigami game, Super Bowl XLVIII, at about the 15:40 mark of the video.