This statistic measures the total number of points scored against a given team per quarter, half, game, or year. It is used to evaluate a football team's defense and the individual defenders. In some cases, it is also used on the offense to measure how many turnovers immediately turned into points for the opposing team.
This statistic is useful for a team because it gives the offense a good idea of how many points they have to score to potentially overcome the defense's inadequacies, as well as how many points they could expect to score against an opponent. Sports commentators often use points allowed as a main measure of defensive strength or weakness, but in reality, there are many different and more accurate measurements of a defense's performance, such as yards per play or length of possession. Points allowed is popular because it is easy to understand and conveys a good general sense of which defense is better.