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# Math in the News: Issue 89

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In this issue of Math in the News we look at football statistics to examine who stands the best chance of winning Super Bowl XLVIII. This is an excellent opportunity for data analysis.

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### Math in the News: Issue 89

1. 1. Who Will Win Super Bowl XLVIII? Math in the News Issue 89
2. 2. Super Bowl XLVIII Denver is a slight favorite to win the Super Bowl against Seattle. But predictions are usually as good as the statistics that underlie the prediction. In this issue we look at the two team’s statistics. (Source: NFL.com.)
3. 3. Super Bowl XLVIII We start by comparing the statistics of two key players: the Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson Rank Player Completion Percentage Yds/G 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Peyton Manning Drew Brees Matthew Stafford Matt Ryan Philip Rivers Tom Brady Andy Dalton Carson Palmer Ben Roethlisberger Ryan Tannehill Joe Flacco Tony Romo Andrew Luck Eli Manning Cam Newton Russell Wilson 68.3 68.6 58.5 67.4 69.5 60.5 61.9 63.3 64.2 60.4 59 63.9 60.2 57.5 61.7 63.1 342.3 322.6 290.6 282.2 279.9 271.4 268.3 267.1 266.3 244.6 244.5 255.2 238.9 238.6 211.2 209.8 TD 55 39 29 26 32 25 33 24 28 24 19 31 23 18 24 26
4. 4. Super Bowl XLVIII As you can see, Peyton Manning is not only in first place on several key statistics, he has a dominant position, especially compared to Russell Wilson. These statistics are from the Regular Season. Let’s look at them in more detail. Rank Player Completion Percentage Yds/G 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Peyton Manning Drew Brees Matthew Stafford Matt Ryan Philip Rivers Tom Brady Andy Dalton Carson Palmer Ben Roethlisberger Ryan Tannehill Joe Flacco Tony Romo Andrew Luck Eli Manning Cam Newton Russell Wilson 68.3 68.6 58.5 67.4 69.5 60.5 61.9 63.3 64.2 60.4 59 63.9 60.2 57.5 61.7 63.1 342.3 322.6 290.6 282.2 279.9 271.4 268.3 267.1 266.3 244.6 244.5 255.2 238.9 238.6 211.2 209.8 TD 55 39 29 26 32 25 33 24 28 24 19 31 23 18 24 26
5. 5. Super Bowl XLVIII This is a box-and-whisker plot showing the completion percentage for all quarterbacks in the NFL who attempted at least 100 passes.
6. 6. Super Bowl XLVIII We overlay the statistics for Manning and Wilson for comparison. As you can see, Manning was well above the median. W M
7. 7. Super Bowl XLVIII This is a box-and-whisker plot showing the yards/game for all quarterbacks who attempted at least 100 passes.
8. 8. Super Bowl XLVIII We overlay the statistics for Manning and Wilson for comparison. As before, note Manning’s dominant position. W M
9. 9. Super Bowl XLVIII Finally, here is a box-and-whisker plot showing the total number of touchdowns in the regular season. Note the outlier.
10. 10. Super Bowl XLVIII The overlay of Manning’s and Wilson’s statistics shows that Manning accounts for the outlier. W M
11. 11. Super Bowl XLVIII So why is Denver just a slight favorite over Seattle? As strong as Denver’s offense is, Seattle has an equally formidable defense. Let’s look at the statistics.
12. 12. Super Bowl XLVIII A good defense keeps the opposing team from not gaining many yards per game. These are the collective stats for the Regular Season showing the total number of yards defenses allowed. Note the outlier.
13. 13. Super Bowl XLVIII Here we overlay Seattle’s and Denver’s defenses. You can see that Seattle allowed the fewest yards per game and accounted for the outlier. S D
14. 14. Super Bowl XLVIII Related to the total yards allowed is the total number of points allowed. Here is a box-andwhisker plot for all the teams.
15. 15. Super Bowl XLVIII The overlay shows the statistics for Seattle and Denver. S D
16. 16. Super Bowl XLVIII Based on the statistics you’ve seen, what is your prediction about the outcome of the Super Bowl?