In team sports, a shutout (a clean sheet in association football) refers to a game in which one team prevents the opposing team from scoring. While possible in most major sports, they are highly improbable in some sports, such as basketball.[1]

Shutouts are usually seen as a result of effective defensive play even though a weak opposing offense may be as much to blame. Some sports credit individual players, particularly goalkeepers and starting pitchers, with shutouts and keep track of them as statistics; others do not.



In Major League Baseball, a shutout (denoted statistically as ShO or SHO[2]) refers to the act by which a single pitcher pitches a complete game and does not allow the opposing team to score a run. If two or more pitchers combine to complete this act, no pitcher will be awarded a shutout, although the team itself can be said to have “shut out” the opposing team.

The all-time career leader in shutouts is Walter Johnson, who pitched for the Washington Senators from 1907–1927. He accumulated 110 shutouts,[3] which is 20 more than second placed Grover Cleveland Alexander.[4] The most shutouts recorded in one season was 16, which was a feat accomplished by both Grover Alexander (1916) and George Bradley (1876).[5] These records are considered among the most secure records in baseball, as pitchers today rarely earn more than one or two shutouts per season with a heavy emphasis on pitch count and relief pitching. Complete games themselves have also become rare among starting pitchers. The current active leader in shutouts is Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. Pitching in his thirteenth season, he has accumulated only 19 shutouts, which ranks him as tied for 288th among the all-time leaders in shutouts.[6][7] Only four pitchers whose entire careers were in the post-1920 live-ball era threw as many as 60 career shutouts, with Warren Spahn leading those pitchers with 63.[8]

Ice hockey

In ice hockey, a shutout (SO) is credited to a goaltender who successfully stops the other team from scoring during the entire game. A shutout may be shared between two goaltenders, but will not be listed in either of their individual statistics. The record holder for most regular-season career shutouts in the National Hockey League is Martin Brodeur with 116 (see the all-time regular season shutout leaders). The modern-day record for a team being shut out in a season is held by the Columbus Blue Jackets at sixteen, during the 2006-2007 NHL season.

In the event a shutout happens while using several goaltenders, the shutout will be credited to the team who shut out the opponent; however, no single goaltender will be awarded the shutout. It has happened several times in NHL history, including:

Association football

In association football, a shutout is known as a clean sheet outside of North America. It can be attributed to the whole team, the defence or just the goalkeeper when they play an entire match without conceding a goal.

The term first appeared in the 1930s. Sports reporters of the era used separate pieces of paper to record the different statistical details of a game. If one team did not allow a goal, then that team's "details of goals conceded" page would appear blank, leaving a clean sheet. Because association football is a relatively low-scoring game, it is common for one team, or even both teams, to score no goals.

American football

A shutout in American football is a fairly uncommon occurrence. Keeping an opponent scoreless in American Football requires a team's defense to be able to consistently shut down both pass and run offenses over the course of a game. The difficulty of completing a shutout is further compounded by the relatively numerous ways a team can score in the game. For example, teams can easily (and often do) attempt field goals, which have a high rate of success. The range of NFL caliber kickers makes it easy for a team with an incompetent offense to get within fifty yards of the goalposts and attempt a kick. In the 2000s there were 79 shutouts in 1,168 regular-season games, for an average of only one shutout for every 15 games.

Shelbyville Tennessee's Bedford County Training School Fighting Tigers recorded 52 consecutive shutouts from 1942 to 1949, a record for an American high school football team. The second longest streak is 18.[10][3]


Shutouts are not common in either rugby union or rugby league, but they do happen. In fact, the 2005 Gillette Rugby League Tri-Nations final was the first time that Australia had been 'nilled' since 1981.[citation needed]

The term "shutout" is not in common usage in European sport, and thus is not applied to European rugby, and there is no alternative term for the occurrence of a team achieving a no score, except to say that the team scored "nil". For example, the December 2006 Magners League match between Munster and Connacht ended 13–0 to Munster;[11] it was, therefore, said that Munster won "thirteen-nil."

Generally, a defensively well-disciplined team, as well as behaviourally (thereby not giving away penalty kicks), is most likely to not give away scores. Although this will also occur if there is a significant gulf in class between the two teams, for example, when Scotland beat Spain (who were playing in their only Rugby World Cup) 48–0 in the 1999 Rugby World Cup,[12] or when Australia beat Namibia 142–0 in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shutout — ist ein Begriff, der vorwiegend im Eishockey verwendet wird, wenn ein Torhüter in einem Spiel ohne Gegentor geblieben ist. Dies ist eine bedeutsame Leistung für einen Eishockeytorhüter, da die Shutouts auch in den Statistiken erscheinen. Ein… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • shutout — [shutout΄] n. ☆ 1. the act of preventing the opposing team from scoring in a game ☆ 2. a game or series of games in which one team is shut out …   English World dictionary

  • shutout — (n.) also shut out, 1889 in baseball sense, from verbal phrase shut out (1881 in baseball), from SHUT (Cf. shut) (v.) + OUT (Cf. out) (adv.). Middle English had a verb outshut to shut out, exclude, mid 15c …   Etymology dictionary

  • shutout — 1. n. a game where one team prevents the other from scoring any points at all. □ He was still reveling from last week’s shutout. □ It was another shutout at Alum Field House last night. 2. mod. having to do with a game where one team has no score …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • shutout — noun a) Closing and forbidding entry, as a lockout in which management prevents works from working. A shutout is a reverse strike, the union complained, the workers wanted to work but management was opposed. b) A game that ends with one side not… …   Wiktionary

  • shutout — noun Date: 1889 1. a game or contest in which one side fails to score 2. a preemptive bid in bridge …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • shutout — /shut owt /, n. 1. an act or instance of shutting out. 2. the state of being shut out. 3. Sports. a. a preventing of the opposite side from scoring, as in baseball. b. any game in which one side does not score. [1850 55, Amer.; n. use of v.… …   Universalium

  • Shutout — Shut out auch: Shut|out 〈[ʃʌtaʊt] n.; od. s, s; Sp.〉 Spiel, bei dem kein Gegentor kassiert wurde, Zu Null Spiel [zu engl. shut out „aussperren, nicht hereinlassen“] …   Universal-Lexikon

  • shutout — (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) v. *skunk, *blow out, defeat soundly …   English dictionary for students

  • shutout — n. exclusion, act of preventing entry; lockout caused by a labor dispute; instance of preventing the other team from scoring (Sports); game in which one team does not score any points (Sports) …   English contemporary dictionary

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