Monthly Archives: January 2012

The mathematics of football

I don’t know much about football other than what I’ve learned from movies. I am, however, really good at math. In fact, I’m so good at math, I can solve an easy-difficulty LA Times sudoku in fewer than 30 minutes. So, inspired by the football playoffs, I’ve decided to put together this mathematical analysis of football strategy. So, here we go!

The following is a table of various types of scoring and their point values:

Touchdown 6
Field goal 3
Safety 2
Extra 2 points after a touchdown 2
Extra point after a touchdown 1


The following is a bar graph based on the data above:


We then applied a scatterplot analysis of the data above and created this output.


We then attempted to curve fit the data above. We found that it fit a polynomial regression with an R2 value of .9382 further confirming that our data must be correct.


Conclusion – here are the ITG Keys of the Game:

Offense: touchdowns are twice as good as field goals, so all things being equal, teams should also go for them. Also, based on the rules of football, it always makes sense to attempt either an extra point or 2 extra points after a touch down. There’s almost no reason not to.

Defense: getting safeties is good, but if you can gain possession of the ball and score a touch down, that’s at least 300% even better.

Next week: The mathematical analysis of the point value of Kevin Love’s 3 pointers. (Hint: They’re worth 3 points)

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Universal office supply safety rules

my-staplerUnbeknownst to most, January is Office Supply Safety Month. Though many would question the value of an “Office Supply Safety Month,” we should all remember the time that Plaxico Burress brought a stapler to a club and stapled his foot to his sweat pants. If that wasn’t enough, who can forget the press that Gilbert Arenas got when he brought an unloaded stapler to the Wizards locker room? Sure, the stapler was unloaded, but the incident did create a sense of unease for fellow teammates who always considered the locker room to be a sanctuary for piles of documents to remain unattached to each other.

So here are a few rules that we should all follow in being safe with our staplers:

  1. All staplers are always loaded.
  2. Never point a stapler at anything you’re not willing to attach to each other.
  3. Keep your fingers on one side of the fulcrum until the target is properly aligned in the stapler.
  4. Always be sure of your target and what is behind and beyond it.

Following these simple rules will ensure that everyone can enjoy their staplers year around.

Coming up next week: Paper – Useful office supplies or tree-y knives?

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