As if it weren't enough that a random coin toss essentially decides the winner in a significant majority of overtimes, now comes SCIENCE! to tell us that the flip of the coin may not be so random.
Nearly two-thirds of teams that get the ball first end up winning the game. If only there were a way to better your odds of winning that coin toss...
Stanford professor Susan Holmes, who co-authored the paper "Dynamical bias in the coin toss," said it's actually a 51-49 proposition with the side facing up predicting the side that will land up. And it can be even more pronounced a difference than that.
"The bigger the coin," Holmes said in a phone interview, "the more bias there would be."
And wouldn't you know, as the games get more important, the coin gets bigger; the playoffs and Super Bowl use special commemorative coins that increasingly resemble Pogs, pepperoni slices and coasters.
So just take a glance at the coin before the ref flips it, and pick the side you can see*.
An interesting fact I gleaned from this article: when there's no special coin, the ref can use any old change he's got in his pocket, be it penny, gold dollar, or the Panamanian Balboa coin I got as change at the bodega yesterday.
*Advice not practical, as ref will most often have heads facing up. And as we all know, tails never fails.