Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Hey Look, More Things Wrong With NFL Overtime!

Illustration for article titled Hey Look, More Things Wrong With NFL Overtime!

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.


Come Overtime, Here's A Tip For The Chiefs [KC Star]

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