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.

Related Articles


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 March 29, 2015 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 March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Bracelet Changes Design With the Touch of a Button

Smart Bracelet Changes Design With the Touch of a Button

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) Interactive jewellery that allows users to change designs and doesn&apos;t need charging. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Twitter's Periscope New Rival for Meerkat

Twitter's Periscope New Rival for Meerkat

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Twitter has unveiled Periscope, its live-streaming app to rival Meerkat and other emerging apps that have captured the attention of the social media industry. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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