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## Football Calculator

In an ESPN blog-post, Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th down against the San Diego Chargers was analyzed, and the ultimate conclusion was that, by a few percentage points, this was wrong decision.  Last season, Belichick was second-guessed after a similar decision led to a Patriot loss to the Colts.  Interestingly, a similar analysis deemed that particular decision to be correct.

The idea of applying serious risk-reward analyses to football seems to increasing in popularity, even though a rigorous study by a world-class economist was conducted nearly 10 years ago .

The author at ESPN utilized a Win Calculator at the Advanced NFL Stats website.  It’s a pretty cool idea–input the current score, time remaining, quarter, field position, down and distance, and the calculator returns Win ProbabilityExpected Score, and some other projected data.

Of course, the devil’s in the details–that is, the algorithms–but it’s cool to see the quantiative analysis of sports continue to spread.

www.MrHonner.com

1. October 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Hello, and thank you for your site. As a visitor from the foreign land of New Jersey, I greatly enjoy reading your work. I would like to say, on the topic of sports in general, that I feel it is bad to assume there is probability in sporting contests, especially team sports. Do you believe in miracles? Yes.

2. October 31, 2010 at 1:39 am

Benito M. Ciulla :
Hello, and thank you for your site. As a visitor from the foreign land of New Jersey, I greatly enjoy reading your work. I would like to say, on the topic of sports in general, that I feel it is bad to assume there is probability in sporting contests, especially team sports. Do you believe in miracles? Yes.

Well, what if you add in the probability of a miracle occurring and factor that into the probability provided by the calculator. That would be tricky, since the probability of a miracle would be influenced by pressure and other factors. If there’s a 50% chance of winning the game under these conditions with a miracle, and then pressure is at 60%… That’s a too tough and very dynamic for a solid formula or algorithm to be generated. Anyone willing to take on the challenge?