## Posts tagged ‘Giants’

### When a Half Is More Than a Half (and When It Ain’t)

Tonight, the dreadful Philadelphia Eagles defeated the pathetic New York Giants 22‑21 in a match-up of horrendous one-win teams. But not all one-win teams are created equal: in late September, the Eagles played the Bengals to a 23‑23 tie in a game that might have featured the all-time worst ending ever. As a result, the Eagles entered tonight’s game with a horrid 1‑4‑1 record, but not to be outdone, the Giants entered the game with a slightly more putrid 1‑5 record.

In football, a tie counts as a half-win (and a half-loss). But half-wins are sometimes worth more than half a win, sometimes they’re worth less than half a win, and sometimes they’re worth exactly half a win. Let me ‘splain.

After their win tonight, the Eagles record is 2‑4‑1. For the time being, that puts them atop the lowly NFC East:

Eagles | 2-4-1 |

Cowboys | 2-4 |

Washington | 1-5 |

Giants | 1-6 |

Philadelphia has played 7 games and won 2 1/2 of them. That is, they’ve won

of their games. That puts them ahead of Dallas, who has won

of their games. So, the Eagles are currently in first place by 1/42 of a game.

But let’s say the Eagles had entered tonight with a 3‑2‑1 record and the Cowboys were 4‑2. After tonight’s win, the Eagles would be 4-2-1, and they would’ve won

of their games. The Cowboys, on the other hand, would have won

of their games, and the Cowboys would be leading the division by 1/42 of a game.

So that half-win tie? It’s worth more to the Eagles because they’re terrible. Were they at least mediocre, that tie wouldn’t be as valuable.

On the other hand, if the Eagles had entered tonight with a 2‑3‑1 record and the Cowboys were 3‑3, then the Eagles would have been 3-3-1 after tonight’s win, and they would’ve won

of their games. Similarly, the Cowboys would have won

of their games, and the teams would’ve been tied for first in the pitiful, talentless, miserable NFC East.

(Yes, I’m being hard on the NFC East, but it isn’t unwarranted. The average power ranking of the four teams is 28, when the lowest possible is 30.5. The four starting quarterbacks have thrown nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns (24 TDs, 22 Ints), and the four teams’ top running backs have more fumbles than touchdowns (11 TDs, 12 Fum). Seriously, this division may be all-time bad.)

All that said, it’s highly unlikely that the season will end with the Eagles having played more games than the Cowboys. Then again, with COVID‑19, who knows what might happen?

It’s often been said that football is “a game of inches.” But given the importance of half-wins, isn’t it time we started saying that football is “a game of fractions”?

### Super Bowl Math (and Results of the Super Bowl Squares Online Contest)

There were a lot of interesting mathematical things that happened tonight.

First things first: Big props to Valerie Strauss of The Answer Sheet, who asked, “Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning: Who’s Smarter?” and then was smart enough to link to one of my previous posts when trying to answer the question.

Math Incident #1

Within the first five minutes of coverage, it was announced that the NFC had won 14 consecutive coin tosses. Posted on the screen:

Odds: 1 in 16,384

I was a little bummed that it didn’t say, “Odds: 1 in 2^{14}.” But I can’t complain. It’s not every day that probability gets international publicity.

Math Incident #2

With just under 4:00 left in the game, Wes Welker dropped a pass from Tom Brady. During the replay, Cris Collinsworth said that it was a pass that Welker makes “100 times out of 100.” Um, Cris, in case you missed it… I don’t know how many passes just like this that Wes Welker has caught, but he missed this one, so we have at least one data point showing that, in fact, he doesn’t always catch this pass. If you want to revise your statement to “99 out of 100,” I could live with that.

Super Bowl Squares Online Contest

The results of the Super Bowl Squares Online Contest have been posted at http://mathjokes4mathyfolks.com/super-bowl-squares-results.html. But allow me to spoil some of your fun before you click that link:

- There were no winners for the first quarter score (Patriots 0, Giants 9; winning square, 9‑0).
- There were no winners for the second quarter score (Patriots 10, Giants 9; winning square, 9‑0).
- There were no winners for the third quarter score (Patriots 17, Giants 15; winning square, 7‑5).
- There were
**two**winners in the fourth quarter (Patriots 17, Giants 21; winning square, 7‑1).

That means that Ben Morris and Tom Coffin were the only winners of the 31 participants, so they split the $155 pool of Monopoly money, each receiving $77.50.

### Football Math for Super Bowl Week

Super Bowl week seems an appropriate time to share some jokes that involve football and math.

**[Super Bowl Squares Online Contest]**

What is this?

B

BA

BACK

Here’s another one involving fractions. (And that lead-in should be a hint if you had trouble with the question above.)

What do you call a Patriots fan with half a brain?

Gifted!

And just to be an equal opportunity offender…

What did the average Giants player get on his Wonderlic test?

Drool.

There are several one-liners involving football and math (sort of).

Pro football players are so huge, it takes only four of them to make a dozen.

Their nickel defense is only worth 3¢.

His uniform number was 29, which was also his house number. He wore it to make sure he remembered where to go after the game.

That last one reminded me of a mathy football joke involving dumb people…

By the time Bubba arrived to the football game, the first quarter was almost over. “Why are you so late?” his friend asked.

“I tossed a coin to decide between going to church or coming to the game.”

“I don’t understand. How long could that have taken?”

“Well,” Bubba said, “I had to toss it 14 times.”

For a similar, non-football coin-tossing joke, read the one about the student at the final exam.

### Super Bowl Squares Contest

Laurence Tynes, the hero; Billy Cundiff, the goat. And so we head to Super Bowl XLVI with a rematch of the game four years ago. One can only hope that this game will be half as exciting as that one.

Your math/football trivia for the day? **Super Bowl XLVI is the second to require each of the first four Roman numerals (I, V, X, L)**; the first was Super Bowl XLIV two years ago. [Thanks to Eric Langen for pointing out my previous error.] Personally, I’m looking forward to Super Bowl LXVI, when the first four Roman numerals will occur in decreasing order. A real treat will occur in 3532, when Super Bowl MDLXVI will be played, wherein all six of the Roman numerals will appear in decreasing order. While I’m fairly certain I won’t be around to see that one, I hold out hope that I am reincarnated as a star football player who earns that game’s MVP honors; though it’s far more likely that I will return as a football to be used by adolescents in a backyard game.

Buoyed by the success of the online version of my favorite game, I’ve decided to run another online contest. This one relates to Super Bowl XLVI, and you’re asked to predict the units digit of each team’s score at the end of each quarter when the Patriots and Giants square off on Sunday, February 5.

Probably the most common type of office betting pool is a square football pool, which is often referred to as just The Squares. The pool is played on a 10 × 10 grid, and contestants can buy squares within the grid for a certain amount of money. **After all 100 squares have been purchased**, the numbers 0‑9 are randomly assigned to each row and column. The numbers for each row represent the units digit of the score for one team, and the numbers for each column represent the units digit of the score for the other team. The winners are the four people whose squares correspond to the units digit of the actual score of the game at the end of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters.

Feel free to use this Excel spreadsheet if you’d like to run your own version of this game. (Though be sure to check all applicable laws, to ensure that you’re not in violation of local or state gaming laws.)

The difference between the typical version of this game and the version I’m running here is that **you get to pick which pairs of numbers you want**. Consequently, winning isn’t solely a matter of random luck. But there’s a catch — you can pick the most likely number pairs, but chances are other folks will pick those numbers, too, and the winnings are divided among everyone who picked that pair. So, should you pick 0‑0 and divide the pot with a thousand others; or should you pick the highly unlikely 5‑2 and have the winnings all to yourself?

*Please note that the game I’m running is for entertainment only. No money is required to play, and there will be no pay-out to the winners.* If all goes well this year, perhaps next year there will be a real version that allows you to wager your hard-earned money in such a silly manner — assuming, of course, that I can find a way to skirt the myriad state gaming laws that would prevent me from running such a contest.

In case you’re wondering, “Why are you doing this?” remember that I’m the author of a math joke blog. Why do I do any of the things I do? For fun, mainly, and because I’m a certifed math geek. I like the math psychology of this game, and I’m just interested in the numbers that people will pick.

Here are the official rules:

- Imagine that you have $5, and each square costs $1, so you can buy up to five squares. It’s your money, spend it how you like — if you want to choose the same pair of numbers for all five bets, go ahead, knock yourself out. And what the hell do I care? Enter as often as you like; if you’ve got nothing better to do with your time than repeatedly submit entries for this contest, well, that’s your problem.
- All money bet will be divided equally among the four quarters, so the total amount will be equal to $5
*n*, where*n*is the number of contestants. (Should a contestant enter fewer than five choices, the last entered choice will be repeated multiple times to get the total to five.) - If you pick a winning square, you will share the winnings with everyone else who picked the same square. (For example, if 200 people play this game, there will $1,000 in the pot, so the winning amount for each quarter will be $250. If ten people choose 7-3 and it hits for one quarter, each person will receive $25.)
- Enter your five choices as two-digit numbers,
**where the tens digit represents the Patriots’ score and the units digit represents the Giants’ score**. (For instance, if you want Patriots 7, Giants 3, enter 73; but if you want Patriots 0, Giants 7, enter 07.)

That’s it. Access the form via the link below:

My friends Andy and Casey Frushour have been keeping data about which pairs of numbers occur most often. Before making your picks, you might want to check out their analysis of data from six years of NFL games as well as from all 45 Super Bowls.

Bets will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 4, and an image showing the number of times each square was chosen will be posted at:

**Super Bowl Squares Contest – Summary of All Bets**

The complete results for this contest will be posted on Monday, February 6, at the URL below. (But note that this link will return a “404 Error – File not Found” message prior to February 6.)

**Super Bowl Squares Contests – Results**

Good luck!