Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research examines momentum in the NFL

Date:
March 15, 2012
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
Is the existence and effect of momentum real, or is it a sports superstition? New research analyzes five years’ worth of plays in the NFL.

New research out of the University of Cincinnati supports the argument that momentum is more like a myth in the NFL. The research by Michael J. Fry, a UC associate professor of operations and business analytics, and UC alumnus F. Alan Shukairy, who earned his master's of science in business analytics, is published in the current issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.

The word, "momentum," is often described by coaches, players, sports writers and announcers as those defining points in the game that causes a team to win or lose. "However, it is often difficult for human perception to separate intrinsic changes in probability from simple, random occurrences," Fry says.

In their paper, "Searching for Momentum in the NFL," the researchers analyzed data on five years' worth of plays during the NFL season, from 2002 to 2007. They examined four particular plays that are popularly described as "momentum-changing events:"

1. Successful fourth-down conversions

2. Unsuccessful fourth-down conversions

3. Turnovers

4. Allowing scores (touchdowns and/or field goals)

For each of the events, the researchers compared a team's performance up to the "momentum-changing event" to plays from a control data set. The data set used pairwise matching to control for field position, score differential, time of game and for whether the team was playing at home or on the road.

The researchers say their analysis found possible statistical evidence of positive momentum gains after a team successfully converted a fourth-down. They found no statistical evidence of in-game momentum resulting from turnovers or allowing scores.

Momentum is taken very seriously in the NFL and can be a turning point for coaches as they plan team plays.

"While our findings cannot conclusively disprove the existence of momentum in the NFL, they further support the argument that momentum should not be a guiding factor for in-game decision making," write the authors.

"We conclude that in many instances, players, coaches and writers may put too much credence on the existence of momentum and that this may affect play-calling," conclude the authors.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fry, Michael J. and Shukairy, F. Alan. Searching for Momentum in the NFL. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 2012 DOI: 10.1515/1559-0410.1362

Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Research examines momentum in the NFL." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315105900.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2012, March 15). Research examines momentum in the NFL. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315105900.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Research examines momentum in the NFL." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315105900.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Is Apple's iMessage Really Being Overrun By Spammers?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) A report says more than one third of all SMS spam over the past year came from a "single campaign" using iMessage and targeting iPhone users. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board, Has Advice For Nadella

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) In a letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ballmer said he's leaving the board of directors and offered tips on how the company can be successful. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

What Google Can Gain From Special Accounts For Children

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Google will reportedly offer official accounts for children younger than 13 years old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins