Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Not so fast

Football fans in favor of sweeping reform in the NFL's overtime procedures might want to think again.

Despite perception to the contrary, winning the coin toss does not automatically equate to an overtime victory in the NFL.

Winning the coin toss does have its advantages - as well it should - but not to as great an extent as most fans think.

Last season, the team which won the coin toss emerged victorious 57.1% of the time. The coin-toss losers won 42.8% of those games.

In it's history, the team that won the coin toss has won the game just 52.9% of the time. More than 71% of the time, both teams have had at least one possession in overtime regardless of the coint-toss outcome.

The NFL's overtime coin toss, just as it's designed to do, provides a measurable advantage for the winning team.

But, it's no sure thing.


jeff said...

where does it say that the coin toss is supposed to give an advantage? i thought it was just a random way of determining who started with the ball.

Why would the NFL want to give one team an advantage based entirely on luck? Why not just flip a coin a few times during the game to then? "Sorry, you called tails, that field goal doesn't count."

Seems reasonable that people would want advantage to be determined by skill, strategy, endurance, and will rather than guessing.

Chris at Redleg Nation said...

Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself.