Posts tagged ‘football’

The Book of Tebow

Editor’s Note: The following post is more about (American) football than math, but it does contain some humor (or, perhaps more correctly, it contains material similar to the other material that poses as humor on this blog). Just be forewarned. Read at your own peril.

Tim TebowI fell in love with Denver on a family trip in 1982. My favorite colors as a kid were blue and orange. So I was already a fan of the Denver Broncos when they acquired my favorite college player, John Elway, on May 2, 1983. (Ironically, my wife and I acquired our twin sons on May 2, also, albeit more than two decades later.) On Sunday afternoons growing up, I’d watch my hometown Pittsburgh Steelers at one o’clock, and I’d hope that NBC would show Elway and the Broncos during the late game.

So this whole Tebow thing? Yeah, I feel a little like I’m jumping on a bandwagon. Then again, I’ve been a fan of the Broncos for 28 years, so cut me a little slack.

Plus, it’s just so damned compelling. Any quarterback can win football games, but it takes a rare talent to repeatedly perform miracles. You better believe that I have already set our DVR to record tomorrow’s Broncos-Patriots game.

I also love the hype and the humor. The nickname “God’s Quarterback” seems to have stuck, and this great joke has surfaced:

And on the seventh day, God rested so he could watch his son play quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

A few days ago, a headline in The Christian Post caught my eye:

Tim Tebow God’s QB, But Does God Care About Football?

I have a Speed Bump cartoon on the door to my office suggesting, in fact, that He does:

Speed Bump - Miracle

I look forward to all that will follow. The legend of Tim Tebow continues to grow, and no doubt organized religion will begin to take advantage of the publicity. I suspect a rewrite to the Good Book before too long…

The Gospel According to Tebow

1 God created Tebow in his own image, in the image of God created He him. And God said unto him, Go forth, and run and score, and replenish hope in the city of Denver: and have dominion over the dolphins of the sea; and over the fowl of the air, over cardinals and eagles and ravens; and over cowboys and redskins and titans; and over every living thing that moveth upon the turf.

2 And lo, He made a great arena, called as the Stadium of the Authority of Sports, which was ten-thousand cubits from the one rim to the other. It was round all about, and a line of thirty-one thousand, four-hundred fifteen and nine-hundred twenty-six thousandths cubits (approximately) did compass it round about. And the incorrect approximation of pi previously appearing in scriptures was thus smote, and it was good.

3 He placed the stadium above the water five-thousand two-hundred eighty feet, providing a wonderful number with which to demonstrate the law of divisibility by eleven.

4 And He bade him, play your best, and do not be discouraged in half the first, or by thine rating of eighty-three-point-four, or by trailing your opponents at the end of quarter third; play well when the end is nigh, and best your enemy after regulation time has expired.

5 Lastly God said unto him: kneel before me, with but one knee upon the earth and a clenched fist upon thine brow, and let photographers take pictures; and all the peoples of the earth shalt imitate thee and post their pictures at www.tebowing.com, thus begetting an international phenomenon.

6 And Tebow did as commanded, and it was good.

December 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

144 Gross Jokes

12x12Recently, I gave a presentation that contained 288 jokes. But most members of the audience were turned off, claiming it was two gross.

But one guy really liked it. “Your jokes are funny,” he said, “though I don’t think my wife would like your humor. How many off-color jokes do you know?”

“I have a collection of 144 gross jokes,” I told him.

“Wow!” he said. “How did you find the time to collect 20,736 jokes?”

Sorry. Just seems like 12/12 is a good day to be making such jokes.

The word dozen comes from the Old English word doziene, which comes from the Old French word dozaine, which is a derivative of the Latin word duodecim (duo = two, decim = ten).

Warning! Off-color joke approaching!

A man calls his friend and asks, “What has a two-inch penis and hangs down?”

“I dunno,” says his friend.

“A bat,” says the man. “Now, what has a twelve-inch penis and hangs up?”

“I dunno,” says the friend.

Dial tone…

The following is a list of my favorite things that come in groups of 12.

  • Signs of the Chinese Zodiac — what’s not to love with dragons, roosters, and pigs?
  • Angry Men — sure, it’s a little sexist with an all-male cast, but three of those males were Jack Klugman, Ed Begley and Henry Fonda, and it’s ranked #6 in the IMDB Top 250.
  • Donuts — mmm, donuts…
  • Eggs — can’t really have a list of dozens that doesn’t include eggs, right?
  • Inches in a Foot — how many inches in a nose?
  • Labours of Hercules — though I can’t decide which was the best, cleaning shit out of stables or stealing a belt from a woman.
  • Players on a Canadian Football Team — in the U.S., it’s 11 players on a 100-yard field; in Canada, it’s 12 players and a 110-yard field; the next country to don a football league must have 13 players on a 120-yard field, to follow the little known but never broken n + 1 players on a 10n-yard field edict.
  • Ounces in a Troy Pound — because, really, who needs Avoirdupois?
  • Function Keys on a PC Keyboard — F7 is the most-used function key on my laptop, since Shift-F7 lets me synonym search in Word.
  • Roses — red if you’re nice, black if you’re naughty.
  • Face Cards in a Deck — jacks, queens, and kings.
  • Keys on a Phone Keypad — yet only eight have letters associated with them… weird.

December 12, 2011 at 9:53 pm 1 comment

Questions Needing Answers

Inquiring minds want to know, so here are answers to questions that you’ve surely been pondering.

Q: If one man can wash one stack of dishes in one hour, how many stacks of dishes can four men wash in four hours?
A: None. They’ll all sit down together to watch football.

Q: Why don’t members of the Ku Klux Klan study Calculus?
A: Because they don’t like to integrate.

Q: What did the circle say to the tangent line?
A: “Stop touching me!”

Q: Why did the statistician cross the interstate?
A: To analyze data on the other side of the median.

April 13, 2011 at 11:46 pm 1 comment

Smart Quarterbacks, the Super Bowl, and SAT Scores

This weekend, when the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, it’ll be a match-up pitting a very smart quarterback against, well, a guy who’s not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

If you’re like most of the world, you probably don’t perceive Ben Roethlisberger to be very smart.  He attended Miami University, but information about what he studied is considerably harder to find, and few would call him intelligent. After all, he rides his motorcycle without a helmet, frequently fraternizes with underage co‑eds, and associates with people who occasionally urinate in public. So it will come as no surprise that Roethlisberger scored lower on the Wonderlic test — the 50‑question, 12‑minute exam administered by the National Football League to measure the problem-solving ability of players who will enter the draft — than Aaron Rodgers.

The maximum possible score on the Wonderlic test is 50. Roethlisberger scored 25, Aaron Rodgers scored 35. (Wanna know how you compare? Try a sample Wonderlic test for yourself.)

So, does this mean that Rodgers has an advantage in Sunday’s game? Not necessarily.

Below is data from the last ten Super Bowls. The winning quarterback is listed first, and his Wonderlic score is given in parentheses. (Sorry, I couldn’t locate the Wonderlic score of Brad Johnson.) But for the other nine games, the team whose quarterback had a higher Wonderlic score won four times, the team whose quarterback had a lower Wonderlic score won four times, and last year, the two quarterbacks had the same score.

Super Bowl XXXV – 1/28/01
Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens – Fresno State (22)
Kerry Collins, New York Giants – Penn State (30)

Super Bowl XXXVI – 2/3/02
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – Michigan (33)
Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams – Northern Iowa (29)

Super Bowl XXXVII – 1/26/03
Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Florida State (unavailable)
Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders – Delaware (27)

Super Bowl XXXVIII – 2/1/04
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – Michigan (33)
Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers – Louisiana-Lafayette (32)

Super Bowl XXXVIX – 2/6/05
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – Michigan (33)
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia – Syracuse (14)

Super Bowl XL – 2/5/06
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – Miami, Ohio (25)
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle – Boston College (29)

Super Bowl XLI – 2/4/07
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts – Tennessee (28)
Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears – Florida (29)

Super Bowl XLII – 2/3/08
Eli Manning, New York Giants – Ole Miss (39)
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – Michigan (33)

Super Bowl XLIII – 2/1/09
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – Miami, Ohio (25)
Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals – Northern Iowa (29)

Super Bowl XLIV – 2/7/10
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints – Purdue (28)
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts – Tennessee (28)

As it turns out, the average Wonderlic score of an NFL player is 20, while the average score of an NFL quarterback is 24. Only one Super Bowl quarterback in the past ten years had a Wonderlic score below the league average. That was Donovan McNabb (14) in 2005. So while a higher Wonderlic score may not imply Super Bowl success, it does seem that quarterbacks who make it to the Super Bowl have above average scores.

Of course, a football team has more than just one player, so it might be more informative to look at the Wonderlic scores for every player on a team. Sadly, I don’t have that kind of time, but such an analysis was done at least once. The Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII; the average Wonderlic score for the Broncos was 20.4, while the average score for the Packers was 19.6.

The Wonderlic test fascinates me. While it may not be the best predictor of success in the NFL, many companies use it to assess prospective employees’ problem-solving abilities. And it got me to thinking — if the Wonderlic test is adequate to predict job success, could it also be used to predict college success?

Consequently, I sought to answer the following question: Could the Wonderlic test be as good a predictor of college success as the SAT?

Unfortunately, acquiring data to analyze this question is no small task. Wonderlic scores of many NFL players are readily available online, but other companies aren’t willing to release the scores of their employees. (Truth be known, the NFL isn’t really willing to release its employees’ scores, either, but players’ scores are interesting trivia for the public, so sports reporters find ways to uncover them.) In a quick search, I was able to locate the Wonderlic scores of scads of NFL players. However, unearthing the college GPA and SAT scores of those players was exorbitantly difficult. I found all three numbers for just six players online (see table below). I tried to acquire the numbers for other players over the phone, but I met with limited success. A typical conversation went something like this:

Woman in Registrar’s Office at University of Virginia: Hello.
Me: Uh, good afternoon, ma’am. I’m trying to locate the GPA and SAT scores of one of your former students.
Woman: Whose information are you looking for, sir?
Me: Matt Schaub.
Woman: And you are?
Me:
 Patrick Vennebush.
Woman:
Are you related to Mr. Schaub?
Me: Um, no, ma’am.
Woman: Are you a prospective employer?
Me: No, ma’am.
Woman: So… why do you need Mr. Schaub’s information?
Me: Well, see, I’m comparing professional football players’ scores on the Wonderlic test…
Woman: The what?
Me: The Wonderlic test. It’s a test they give to professional football players to determine their problem‑solving ability.
Woman: Hold on — Mr. Schaub is a professional football player?
Me: Yes, ma’am. He played quarterback for the University of Virginia from 1999 to 2003, and now he plays for the Houston Texans.
Woman: So, why do you need Mr. Schaub’s GPA and SAT scores?
Me: Well, I’m trying to determine if the Wonderlic test could be used as a predictor of college success. I need Mr. Schaub’s GPA and SAT scores to see if the Wonderlic test was as accurate as the SAT in predicting how well he did in college.
Woman: Well, I can’t just go around giving out information about former students to total strangers.
Me: Yes, I understand, ma’am, but I’m not going to publicize the information. I just want to analyze it.
Woman: And what will you do with your analysis?
Me: Well, I was planning to post the results on my blog.
Woman: So, you write a sports blog?
Me: Well, no, ma’am. It’s actually a math blog.
Woman: A math blog that focuses on sports?
Me: Um, well, no.
Woman: Then what kind of math blog is it?
Me: Well, actually, it’s a blog about math jokes.
Woman: About what?
Me: Math jokes.
Woman: [click]

Several other calls met a similar fate. Consequently, I only have Wonderlic, GPA and SAT scores for six players. But, whatever. Let’s roll with it and see what happens. The three numbers for each player are shown below.

Player College Wonderlic GPA SAT
Tim Tebow Florida 22 3.66 890
Brady Quinn Notre Dame 29 3.00 1030
Peyton Manning Tennessee 28 3.61 1030
Aaron Rodgers California 35 3.60 1300
Myron Rolle Florida State 33 3.75 1340
Ryan Fitzpatrick Harvard 48 3.20 1580

From this limited sample, three pair-wise correlations were calculated:

  • SAT and GPA: r = ‑0.14
  • Wonderlic and GPA: r = ‑0.36
  • Wonderlic and SAT: 0.95

There’s not a very strong correlation between SAT and GPA. But here’s the thing: the correlation between SAT and GPA for this set of six football players isn’t that much worse than the correlation between SAT and GPA reported in Validity of the SAT for Predicting First-year College Grade Point Average, a study of 151,316 students at 726 four‑year institutions undertaken by the College Board; in that study, r = 0.29.

There’s not a very strong correlation between Wonderlic and GPA, either, but it’s stronger than the correlation between SAT and GPA for the six football players above and for the 151,316 students in the College Board study.

There is, however, a very strong correlation between Wonderlic and SAT, which is perhaps just another way of saying that both tests are equally lousy at predicting college success.

Of course, there are all kinds of reasons that this analysis might be invalid:

  • the sample is too small;
  • it is difficult to compare GPA from school to school, since it might be more difficult to earn a 3.20 at an Ivy League college than at a public university;
  • it is difficult to compare GPA between students within a school, since it might be more difficult to earn a 3.20 in electrical engineering than, say, in parks and recreation;
  • and, the grades of college football players may be artificially inflated.

Still, I think I’m onto something here. Wouldn’t it be great if we could replace the four‑hour SAT with the 12‑minute Wonderlic test? The marketing of it would be easy. For school administrators, simply tout a stronger correlation to college success than the SAT, and mention significantly lower costs. For students, simply state, “You can finish the Wonderlic in 5% of the time it takes to complete the SAT! You won’t have to give up your entire Saturday!” Now, wouldn’t that be grand?

January 31, 2011 at 3:01 am 14 comments

Mathematical Vick

It’s difficult to live inside the beltway and not cheer for the Washington Redskins. The cashier at the grocery store, the teller at the bank, and even the soft pretzel vendor at the corner of 7th and Independence — all of them are just a little friendlier after a Redskins victory. So even though I’ve been a Steelers fan since birth, I still root for the burgundy and gold, knowing that my reward will be better customer service the following day.

But this past Monday night, I found myself cheering against the Redskins and for Michael Vick. Are you kidding me? Six touchdowns — two running and four passing — with 333 passing yards, 80 rushing yards, and a 20-for-28 performance with 0 interceptions. Wow. With his effort, he set the record for most fantasy points ever earned by a quarterback.

His performance earned him a passer rating of 150.7, just shy of the perfect quarterback ranking of 158.3. Which brings me to a question — WTF? Since when has 158.3 ever been considered perfect? Why not just multiply the result by 100/158.3 and convert it to a 0‑100 scale? Or multiply by 28/158.3 to convert it to a 0‑28 scale, in which case the top score would be truly perfect?

Have you ever looked at the formula for passer rating in the NFL? What a mess. Here’s how it works:

Calculate a, b, c, and d as follows:

  • a = 5 × (completions/attempts – 0.3)
  • b = 0.25 × (yards/attempts – 3)
  • c = 20 × touchdowns/attempts
  • d = 2.375 – (25 × interceptions/attempts)

Then, the value of each of a, b, c, and d must be between 0 and 2.375. If the value is negative, use 0 instead; if it’s greater than 2.375, use 2.375. Finally, once you have the four values, the final passer rating is equal to:

100/6 × (a + b + c + d).

For Vick’s performance on Monday night, the calculations for a, b, c, and d look like this:

  • a = 5 × (20/28 – 0.3) = 2.071
  • b = 0.25 × (333/28 – 3) = 2.223
  • c = 20 × 4/28 = 2.857
  • d = 2.375 – (25 × 0/28) = 2.375

Note that c = 2.857 above, but because a, b, c, and d cannot exceed 2.375, a value of c = 2.375 is used in the final step. Consequently, his final passer rating was:

100/6 × (2.071 + 2.223 + 2.375 + 2.375) = 150.733,

which the media reports to the nearest tenth, 150.7.

There are some interesting questions that can be asked, based on the formula. For instance, to garner a perfect rating:

  • What percent of passes must be completed?
  • How many yards, on average, must be gained per pass attempt?
  • What percent of passes must result in a touchdown?
  • How many interceptions can be thrown?

(In case you want to think about these questions, answers are included at the bottom of the post.)

All of this football talk reminds me of a math joke…

A college football coach walked into the locker room before a big game, looked at his star quarterback, and said, “You’re academically ineligible because you failed your math mid-term. But we really need you today. I talked to your math professor, and he said that if you can answer just one question correctly, then you can play today. So, pay attention. I really need you to concentrate on the question I’m about to ask you.”

“Okay, coach,” the player agreed. “I’ll do my best.”

“Good,” said the coach. Then he asked, “Okay, now really focus. What is 2 + 2?” All of his teammates watched quietly while the quarterback thought about the question.

The quarterback thought for a moment. Sheepishly, he answered, “Um, 4?”

“Really?” said the coach. “Did you really just say 4?”

To which his teammates shouted, “Oh, c’mon, coach! Give him another chance!”

For a perfect passer rating of 158.3, a quarterback must do the following: 

  • Complete 31 of every 40 passes (77.5%).
  • Maintain at least 12.5 yards per attempt.
  • Score a touchdown on 19 of every 160 passes (11.875%).
  • Throw 0 interceptions.

November 18, 2010 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

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About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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