Have been watching hockey a bit more recently and tonight's game didn't have a lot of scoring early on. That got me wondering how often the dreaded 0-0 scoreline comes up in different sports (defensive struggles aren't so bad, but I've certainly heard disparaging nicknames for them!).

Specifically, I am thinking of soccer, hockey, baseball, and (American) football as the four team sports where 0-0 seems fairly feasible. I suppose there are a few others like lacrosse and water polo.

Whether they have overtime, shootouts, or draws, I'm just interested in how often they complete regulation 0-0 (though statistics on how often extended time also ends 0-0 aren't discouraged).

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    Here are some stats from EPL: In 126 Years, English Football Has Seen 13,475 Nil-Nil Draws.
    – Martin
    May 21 '17 at 9:34
  • Great! Sounds quite near being a good answer to me if you gave a few of the salient points. I expect there may well be separate answers for each sport, since different people know the sources for such information (if they're even easy to get)? I appreciate you digging that up! May 21 '17 at 9:41
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    There was not much digging involved. All I did was to enter nil nil draw statistics into Google. If you really think that this might be a start for an answer about football part, feel free to make an answer out of it. (Perhaps making it community wiki might be a good idea, if you want other users to contribute to the answer.)
    – Martin
    May 21 '17 at 9:47
  • Both rugby variants (union and league) occasionally have 0-0 draws as well.
    – Philip Kendall
    May 21 '17 at 10:39
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    @ᴍᴀsᴛᴇʀᴍɪɴᴅ_ᴇᴅ Great to see there's such discussion, as I was at a loss how to tag it! I was definitely hopeful to go a bit beyond major 4, at least into soccer, and hopeful to see a few others in the comparison too. The inclusion of the phrase was more to prevent it from being wildly open-ended (indeed, no interest in tiddly winks or middle school football stats) and getting ire/deflecting it from the main interest subjects. I'll certainly weigh in on the tags, as I think they'd be useful! May 25 '17 at 19:48

In the NHL, there have been 41 games tied 0-0 after overtime since the introduction of the shootout in 2005 (meaning they would have been recorded as a 0-0 tie in the past), which is 0.25% of games. And there have been 189 0-0 ties in history (dating back to 1924) [games are double-counted in link]. There have been 122 games that were 0-0 after regulation only to be ended in overtime (not a shootout). This gives 352 total 0-0 games after regulation. Note that this is just regular season, and not playoffs.

In the NFL, there have only been two 0-0 games [games are double-counted in link]. The last one occurred in 1943. I couldn't find any other games that went into overtime tied 0-0 (checked each box score individually), either, which surprises me. Those 0-0 ties were Detroit against the Chicago Cardinals, and Detroit again against the NY Giants.

For the MLB, I was able to find at least 620 games that were tied 0-0 after 9 innings by looking up games where that took extra innings and the losing team had 0 runs. There appear to be a handful every year by changing the dates. I am not a subscriber, so I cannot verify the total or see more games. This also does not take into account games that were tied 0-0 after 9 innings where the losing team managed at least 1 runs, so there are more.

In the top 4 tiers of English soccer, from 1888 through 2014, 13,475 games (7.2% of matches) ended 0-0.

Seems like it's nearly impossible in the NFL, not too uncommon in the NHL, very common in the MLB, and almost weekly in English soccer.

  • for soccer the answer just will be too long.. is not unusual...
    – gbianchi
    May 23 '17 at 13:48
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    An important point is that baseball can't end with a tie while the other sports can. So while it may be common to have 0-0 after 9, the game never ends that way. And I wouldn't consider a handful common. There are about 2,430 baseball games in one year.
    – Natsfan
    Aug 14 '17 at 20:49

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