Math and Sports

            Image by:  Idea G.


To be honest, it was a memorable Superbowl game last night.  Watching the game brought back many memories from past professional sports games, specifically the Chicago Bulls dynasty in the 1990s.  One memory that caught up with me dealt with middle school math.  I started to enjoy math in middle school.  I started to view sports as percentages, ratios, and decimals.  This started my journey in appreciating math. Most of my students watched the Superbowl and I think that this is a great opportunity to delve into statistics as well as data analysis concepts in the classroom.

Let’s take Eli Manning as an example ….

*All of the football images and statistics were found on Wikipedia

Let’s take a look at Eli’s statistics:


Using Eli Manning’s statistics, we can view trend data.  Here are some questions to ask the students:

  • How many yards do you think Eli will pass for next year?
  • How many games do you think Eli will play next year?
  • Predict Eli’s passing rating for the 2012 season?  Explain your prediction.
  • Do you notice any trends?  If so, can you explain why the trends exist?

After asking the questions above, we can take a gander at Eli’s post season statistics.

  • Compare Eli’s regular season and post season performances.
  • What differences do you see in the data?
  • What do you think contributes to a quarterback rating.  Why?
  • Using the data, what factors do you think impact a quarterback rating?
After discussing the questions, you may want to have a conversation how statistics often relate to percentages.

Additional Sports and Math Links:

Dice Game

NFL Probability

Math and Football

Incorporating Sports into Math

Velocity in Sports

Math in Sports PowerPoint

Math and Sports Webquest

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