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Fall for Football...with Mathematics

The Resource for this week is the book The Physics of Fotball. Thus, it is only appropriate that complementary web sites be reviewed as well.

Much has been written about the mathematics of football, at varying levels of complexity. These web sites and resources are offered as being useful or accessible:

  • David Romer's article "It's Fourth Down and What Does the Bellman Equation Say? A Dynamic-Programming Analysis of Football Strategy" (February 2003)
  • The web site TwoMinuteWarning.com focuses on the statistical side of football...with users hoping to gain the upper hand as fantasy team managers, regular fans with passions, or even gamblers. Everything is charted and analyzed--drives, plays, players, team tendencies, coaching decisions. A mathematics teacher will find that the most useful section is Research Articles. As a starting place, consider "Correlations of Stats to Wins" or "The Case for Better Numbers."
  • Iver Peterson's article "Football's Overtime Bias" (November 2004)
  • Virginia Postrel's article "Strategies on Fourth Down, From a Mathematical Point of View" (September 2002)
  • Adaptation of COMAP's article "The Mathematics of a Football Kick"
  • Ask a Scientist's response to the question: "What is the Mathematical Shape of a Football?"
  • How Stuff Works' explanation of the mathematical computation of football rankings (e.g. BCS)
  • Iver Peterson's comments on connections between Superbowls and the Stock Market
  • A collection of 649+ lesson plans aimed at connecting mathematics and football (of varying quality)
  • A "lite" lesson plan that peripherally uses a football context to get at some mathematics
In future weeks, I will do similar reviews for basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, etc.