Superbowl reading for number crunchers

Here are a few links to posts and articles about the Superbowl that will appeal to number crunchers:

Nate Silver argues that defense wins championships. Many math models show that offense is more instrumental in winning games than is defense. But defense may be better for winning titles. Silver looks at the top 20 defenses and offenses to have played in the Super Bowl according to the simple rating system at He finds that the team with top defensive teams have won 14 of 20 Super Bowls  whereas the top offensive teams have won 10 of 20.

Nate Cohn at the New Republic writes about how football is ripe for reaping the benefits from advanced statistics.

Josh Laurito has a nice post on TV Ratings (as measured by Nielsen) for major league sports championships. The Super Bowl is the only one championship that has been increasing over the past decade or so  (shown below). The Superbowl with the highest ratings ever was the 1986 Superbowl featuring the 1985 Bears (this is probably the closest I’ll get to proving that the 1985 Bears was the best team ever.)

Superbowl Nielson Ratings

I’ve written about football in several posts. One analyzes the Patriots’ decision to let the Giants score a touchdown in last year’s Superbowl using a decision tree.

I also have three presentations on football decision making.

The first illustrates when a team should go for a two point conversion using dynamic programming:  

The second looks at when a team should go for it on fourth down using decision trees: 

The third uses game theory to find the best mix of run and pass plays. 

One response to “Superbowl reading for number crunchers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: