The Correlation between Turnover Differential and Winning in the National Football League

     

©2010 Hank Koebler, IV

Table  of  Contents  
Cover  Page........................................................................................................................................... 1   Table  of  Contents.........................................................................................................................................2   Preface .........................................................................................................................................................3   Introduction .................................................................................................................................................5   Review  of  Literature ....................................................................................................................................6   Research  Question .......................................................................................................................................7   Hypotheses ..................................................................................................................................................7   Treatment  of  the  Data .................................................................................................................................8   Pearson’s  Correlation  Coefficient................................................................................................................8   Chi-­‐squared  Test  of  Independence..............................................................................................................9   Scatter  Plot  of  the  Data .............................................................................................................................10   Best-­‐Fit  Line................................................................................................................................................11   Determining  the  Accuracy  of  the  Best-­‐Fit  Line  Equation..........................................................................12   Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................14   Validity  of  the  Investigation’s  Mathematical  Processes  and  Conclusions ...............................................16   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2000 ...........................................................17   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2001 ...........................................................18   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2002 ...........................................................19   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2003 ...........................................................20   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2004 ...........................................................21   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2005 ...........................................................22   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2006 ...........................................................23   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2007 ...........................................................24   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2008 ...........................................................25   Turnover  Differential  and  Predicted  Wins  for  NFL  Teams  in  2009 ...........................................................26   Notes ..........................................................................................................................................................27   Works  Cited................................................................................................................................................28                      

Preface One of the greatest of all time. Precise, accurate, unflappable in the face of pressure. Able to read a defense both better and quicker than any other quarterback in a league. Considered by some one of the best to ever play the game. He had already won one Super Bowl ring, and many more were sure to come. Yet something was still missing. By any statistical measure, he has consistently been the best quarterback in the league for years, putting up all kinds of records every season. But when the regular season ended, he collapsed annually. Every year his team entered the playoffs with high expectations, and every year his play fizzled and the playoffs ended with heartbreak and disappointment. It was possible to make the case that one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time was also a perennial disappointment in the playoffs. Even in the one year that his team did win a Super Bowl, he had played terribly and the team’s defense won the game for them. For this reason, even his Super Bowl ring wasn’t enough to allay concerns that he couldn’t win a big game. On this night, he can lay all those claims to rest, and establish once and for all that he is worthy of being considered the best quarterback of all time. It is his second Super Bowl appearance, and this time, the defense can’t save the day for him. The spotlight is now on him, and he has to put the team on his shoulders and win this game. His team is down 24-17, a margin of only one touchdown, with 3 minutes and 24 seconds left in the Super Bowl. His team has possession of the ball, and is quickly moving downfield. A few short completions bring the ball into the opposing team’s side of the field. Like sharks smelling blood, he and his team can smell the endzone getting closer and closer. This is it. Tying the game with a touchdown will be huge – he will then have a chance to win the game in

overtime, providing a dramatic finish to the biggest game of his career. This is his moment, his time to shine. He drops back to pass and spots his top receiver apparently wide-open at the 26-yard line. He releases a pass with the velocity of a rocket and precision of a laser. Another completion, another first down, and another few yards closer to tying the game. Except the pass isn’t completed. He has misread the defense, and a defensive back leaps in front of his receiver and intercepts the pass. He watches, helpless, as the interception is returned 74 yards for a touchdown. His team is now down by a score of 31-17, and when they get the ball back, their drive ends as they are stopped on fourth down near the goal line with just over a minute left. As soon as this happens, he walks off the field and into the locker room, not even waiting for the customary postgame handshakes. He now has an entire offseason to cope with the all-too-familiar bitterness of a postseason ending in disappointment yet again. This isn’t how it was supposed to turn out. Instead of basking in the glory of a Super Bowl win, he now has to wallow in defeat. He has failed once more in the postseason, adding fuel to the fire of the claims that he is a big-game choker. In the blink of an eye, his mistake cost his team the Super Bowl in front of a record-setting television audience. On the world’s biggest stage, they have come up short because of one play. This narrative is no mere dramatization. It is a real-life account of the most important play of Super Bowl XLIV, the most recent championship game of the National Football League. This study will examine game-changing moments like these. Turnovers, and their enormous impact on American football.

Introduction Sports have always played an enormous role in the culture and psyche of nations. From the days of the ancient Olympics, to the modern era where millions, if not billions, of dollars are spent worldwide on professional sports, human culture has always relied on sport for spectacle. For this reason, the National Football League, the United States’ professional American football league, is one of the most popular sporting institutions in the United States of America. This study hopes to highlight one aspect of winning American football, using the National Football League and determine that aspect’s importance in deciding the outcome of football games. Specifically, it probes the issue of turnovers, defined for the purposes of this study as when the team with possession of the ball loses possession, either throwing an interception or fumbling the ball. A team’s turnover differential is defined as the amount of times their opponents turned the ball over against them that season, minus the amount of times that they turned the ball over that season. Conventional coaching wisdom suggests a high turnover differential is a good thing, but this study examines the mathematical correlation between a team’s turnover differential and their winning percentage that season in order to test the validity of that commonly held belief. The task of this investigation is to determine the correlation between turnover differential and winning percentage. This task will be achieved through use of Pearson’s p-test along with a chi-squared test to determine the link between turnover differential and winning percentage in the National Football League.

Review of Literature Conventional wisdom holds turnover differential to be one of the most important factors in determining which team will win a football game. According to NFL Hall of Fame inductee and NFL Network analyst Rod Woodson, “If you look at the history of games in general, the more turnovers [a team commits], the less likely that team will win. Turnovers can come in critical situations where a quarterback can either throw an interception or a defensive back can get an interception or a fumble can happen – all of those things play a huge role in a momentum swing or outcome of a game.”(1) In the 2008 NFL season, the five teams with the highest turnover differential each made the playoffs, won at least 11 of the 16 games they played in the regular season, and had a combined record of 59-21.(2)

Team

Takeaways

Giveaways

Differential

Record

Source: National Football League

Miami

30

13

+17

11-5

Tennessee

31

17

+14

13-3

Baltimore

34

21

+13

11-5

New York Giants

22

13

+9

12-4

Indianapolis (3)

26

17

+9

12-4

In the history of the Super Bowl, the NFL’s league championship game, teams with a turnover differential of zero in the Super Bowl have a combined 9-9 record, while teams with a positive turnover differential have a combined record of 30-3(4). According to Sportscapping.com writer Steve Janus, “Turnovers are one of the most basic fundamentals of winning football.”(5) This sentiment is shared by Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, who explained the importance of turnovers in a September 2009 interview, saying “turnovers not only can kill a drive if you lose the ball or start one if you recover it, but it can also reverse the momentum of a game like no other play, instantly changing field position and giving one team a huge advantage over the other."(6) Research Question What correlation exists between an NFL team’s turnover differential in a given season and their percentage of games won that season? Hypotheses Null Hypothesis There is no significant correlation between a team’s turnover differential and their winning percentage, and winning percentage is independent of turnover differential. Alternative Hypothesis There is a significant correlation between a team’s turnover differential and their winning percentage, and winning percentage is dependent on turnover differential.

Treatment of the Data Using the NFL’s official statistics found on their website, I took each team in the NFL, and listed their turnover differential and winning percentage each season from the 2000 NFL season to the 2009 NFL season. As there are 32 teams in the NFL, this should have provided 320 sets of data to analyze. However, because the Houston Texans did not exist until the 2002 season, there were 2 years (2000-2001) with only 31 teams, leaving the total sample size at 318. Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient Using the data gathered in the manner described above, a two-tailed Pearson’s p-test was run in SPSS, Inc.’s PASW Statistics to find Pearson’s product–moment correlation coefficient according to the formula for product-moment correlation coefficient as listed in the IBO Diploma Programme Mathematical Studies SL Information Booklet:

Correlations Winning Percentage Winning Percentage Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N Turnover Differential Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N 318 .646 .000 318 318 1 Turnover Differential .646 .000 318 1

According to the results of this p-test, the value of the correlation between winning percentage and turnover differential is equal to 0.646 (3SF). This suggests a strong positive correlation between turnover differential and win percentage.

Chi-Squared Test of Independence Running a chi-squared test also supports the conclusion that turnover differential and winning percentage are not independent of each other. For the purpose of organizing the data into a format that can best be implemented into a chi-squared test, I listed teams as having a losing record if they won 8 or less games in a season, and a winning record if they won more than 50% games. Additionally, I listed a team as having a positive turnover differential if their turnover differential is greater than zero and a negative turnover differential if their turnover differential was zero or less. These are the charts for the Observed and Expected values:
Winning   record   102   42   144  

Observed  Values   positive  TOD   negative  TOD   Total  

Losing  record   53   121   174  

Total   155   163   318  

Expected  Values   positive  TOD   negative  TOD   Total  

Losing  record   84.8   89.2   174  

Winning   record   70.2   73.8   144  

Total   155   163   318  

As the values resulted in a two-by-two matrix, the number of degrees of freedom of this chi-squared test is equal to 1. Running a chi-squared test resulted in a chi-squared value of 51.4, according to the IBO Diploma Programme Mathematical Studies SL Information Booklet’s formula:

The Mathematical Studies SL Information Booklet also provides a chart to determine critical values of chi-squared:

This chi-squared value exceeds the critical value of 7.879 for testing dependence at a 99.5% significance level with one degree of freedom. This suggests that winning percentage is strongly dependent on turnover differential. Scatter Plot of the Data The data for teams’ winning percentage and turnover differential was also put into a scatter plot, with each team’s turnover differential as the x-axis, and their winning percentage as the y-axis.

Best-Fit Line In order to predict team’s winning percentage based on their turnover differential, Microsoft Excel’s best-fit line feature was applied to the scatter plot of the data. This resulted in the creation of a line with the equation f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004. To test the accuracy of this equation, each team’s turnover differential was substituted into the equation to determine the team’s Predicted Winning Percentage for that season. For example, the 2003 Tennessee Titans had a turnover differential of 13, meaning that in the 2003 season their opponents turned the ball over against the Titans a total of 13 more times than the Titans turned the ball over. Substituting the 2003 Titans’ turnover differential into the function results in the following equation: f(13) = 0.0127(13) + 0.5004 f(13) = 0.01651+0.5004 f(13) = 0.6655 Therefore, the 2003 Titans’ Predicted Winning Percentage was 66.55%. In actuality, the Titans won 75% of their games that season, with a difference of 8.4% between the real winning percentage and the Predicted Winning percentage. There are sixteen games in the NFL season, which means that this formula projected the 2003 Titans to win 10.648 games that year, as 66.55% of 16 is equal to 10.648. Because there are only two outcomes of a game, a win or a loss, a decimal value would suggest a partial win, which is impossible in the scope of this study. Therefore, the predicted number of wins for each team was rounded to the nearest whole number for the purposes of determining the difference between Predicted Wins and Actual Wins.

Determining the Accuracy of the Best-Fit Line Equation These calculations were performed on all 318 of the collected data sets to find the predicted number of games won by each team in each season from the 2000 season to the 2009 season. The differences between predicted wins and actual wins ranged from -7 to 8, for a total range of 15. For a sixteen-game season, an error margin of fifteen is highly unimpressive and gives the impression that the equation of the best-fit line is not a remotely accurate predictor of a team’s win-loss record. However, closer examination of the statistics disproves this theory and upholds the validity of the equation in question. The mean Difference in Games Won is -0.00377, suggesting that this equation is extremely accurate. To account for the possible presence of outliers, the median was taken as well, and the median was equal to zero, further confirming the accuracy of the equation. The lower quartile of the differences was -2, and the upper quartile was 2. The standard deviation of the values of difference in games won is 2.37 games. Out of the 318 data sets, 223 of them had a difference in games won that ranged from -2 to 2. Therefore, 70.1% (223/318) of the sample size falls within only one standard deviation. As there are five possible values that fit this margin of error (a difference of 2, 1, 0, -1, or -2), this equation has a five in sixteen (31.3%) probability of being correct within one standard deviation In theory, any prediction of the amount of games a team wins in a season has a 31.3% probability of being correct within 2 games. However, this equation predicted the correct number of wins within two games 70.1% of the time. 70.1 divided by 31.3 is equal to 2.23, so the equation predicted the correct number of games won 2.23 times as frequently as it would have if its predictions were not accurate.

When allowing for a margin of error of plus or minus one game, the equation is correct 45.9% of the time. As there are three possible values that fit this margin of error (a difference of 1, 0, or -1), this equation has a three in sixteen (18.8%) probability of being correct within one game. 45.9/18.8 = 2.44, so this equation is correct within one game 2.44 times as frequently as it would have if its predictions had no significant accuracy. Out of the 318 sets of data, there were 50 instances where the predicted number of wins was equal to the actual number of wins. This means that the equation predicted the exact number of wins 15.7% of the time. As there is only a 1 in 16 (6.25%) chance of accurately guessing the exact number of games won in a season, and 15.7/6.25 = 2.51, this formula is exactly right 2.51 times as often as it would be if win percentage were independent of turnover differential.

Conclusion Given the pre-existing literature suggesting that turnover differential is one of the key aspects of winning in American football, and the mathematical evidence from this investigation that strongly supports this theory, it is evident that turnover differential plays an enormous role in a team’s winning percentage. The Pearson’s product-moment correlation coefficient of 0.646, obtained from the twotailed p-test, suggests a strong positive correlation among turnover differential and winning percentage. In other words, the teams with higher turnover differentials in a season tend to win more games. The chi-squared test results further suggest that winning percentage is highly dependent on turnover differential. The chi-squared value of 51.4 greatly exceeds the critical value for 1 degree of freedom at the 99.5% significance level, which is indicative of a major discrepancy between observed and expected values in the chi-squared data tables. For these reasons, this investigation rejects the null hypothesis that there is no significant correlation between a team’s turnover differential and their winning percentage, and winning percentage is independent of turnover differential. Without a doubt, there is a statistically significant correlation between a team’s turnover differential and their winning percentage, and winning percentage is indeed dependent on turnover differential. Though there is no way to determine the cause of this correlation, it is possible to hypothesize as to the reasons that these two variables are so closely tied to each other. As

mentioned before, teams that obtain a higher turnover differential tend to win more of their games. There are two potential causes of this. It is possible that these teams that win the most games are simply the best teams, and therefore, they are better at achieving a high turnover differential. On the other hand, it is possible that a high turnover differential makes a team much more likely to win the game. In reality, it is probably a combination of these two factors that explains why turnover differential and winning percentage are so closely linked.

Validity of the Investigation’s Mathematical Processes and Conclusions The amount of data for this investigation was adequate enough to prevent outliers from skewing the data. 318 sets of data was more than enough to avoid this, although the study is limited in the sense that it only evaluates the past 10 years. For a more thorough and informative investigation, one could examine one could examine turnover differential on a team-by-team basis, and determine if there are some teams with consistently high or low turnover differentials. One could then discuss the teams’ winning percentage over this period of time, and determine each team’s correlation between turnover differential and winning percentage. The reason this correlation could differ by team is because all teams perform differently. Some teams are able to capitalize on turnovers and exploit even their opponents’ smallest mistakes, while other teams are so ineffective that they have difficulty scoring no matter what the situation. Therefore, teams vary in their ability to obtain points from turnovers, and that could affect their winning percentage as well. As far as mathematical processes, this investigation used both a two-tailed p-test and a chi-squared test, which both resulted in an incredibly strong correlation between the two variables. These were appropriate methods of determining the correlation and dependence, and their results were very convincing. The best-fit line equation appeared to be quite accurate, but it only works within the range of -39 < TOD < 39; otherwise it results that are nonsensical in the context of this investigation – winning percentages that are either negative numbers or over 100%. Since the largest value of TOD was 24, and the lowest was -28, this does not appear to have affected the validity of the results.

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2000
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Titans   Vikings    TOD   2   -­‐9   -­‐14   6   19   -­‐3   17   -­‐24   -­‐28   3   -­‐7   -­‐14   15   2   -­‐9   8   1   -­‐5   11   -­‐5   3   -­‐2   17   -­‐10   23   0   9   -­‐9   12   2   -­‐11   Predicted  Win  %   52.58%   38.61%   32.26%   57.66%   74.17%   46.23%   71.63%   19.56%   14.48%   53.85%   41.15%   32.26%   69.09%   52.58%   38.61%   60.20%   51.31%   43.69%   64.01%   43.69%   53.85%   47.50%   71.63%   37.34%   79.25%   50.04%   61.47%   38.61%   65.28%   52.58%   36.07%   Wins   6   5   4   8   11   3   10   3   1   7   10   5   11   11   4   12   7   9   9   9   7   5   12   10   12   8   10   6   9   13   11   Predicted  Wins   8   6   5   9   12   7   11   3   2   9   7   5   11   8   6   10   8   7   10   7   9   8   11   6   13   8   10   6   10   8   6   Difference  in  Wins   -­‐2   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐4   -­‐1   0   -­‐1   -­‐2   3   0   0   3   -­‐2   2   -­‐1   2   -­‐1   2   -­‐2   -­‐3   1   4   -­‐1   0   0   0   -­‐1   5   5  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2001
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Titans   Vikings    TOD   15   13   -­‐9   -­‐14   10   9   17   -­‐3   2   -­‐7   -­‐13   -­‐9   -­‐10   9   2   -­‐1   -­‐3   18   -­‐16   12   1   7   -­‐1   -­‐10   -­‐8   6   -­‐5   6   7   -­‐4   -­‐21   Predicted  Win  %   69.09%   66.55%   38.61%   32.26%   62.74%   61.47%   71.63%   46.23%   52.58%   41.15%   33.53%   38.61%   37.34%   61.47%   52.58%   48.77%   46.23%   72.90%   29.72%   65.28%   51.31%   58.93%   48.77%   37.34%   39.88%   57.66%   43.69%   57.66%   58.93%   44.96%   23.37%   Wins   12   13   6   3   8   7   9   7   5   6   6   5   11   11   7   7   6   10   2   12   1   11   10   14   10   8   7   9   13   7   5   Predicted  Wins   11   11   6   5   10   10   11   7   8   7   5   6   6   10   8   8   7   12   5   10   8   9   8   6   6   9   7   9   9   7   4   Difference  in  Wins   1   2   0   -­‐2   -­‐2   -­‐3   -­‐2   0   -­‐3   -­‐1   1   -­‐1   5   1   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐2   -­‐3   2   -­‐7   2   2   8   4   -­‐1   0   0   4   0   1  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2002
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   10   -­‐7   -­‐15   -­‐12   -­‐5   -­‐2   17   -­‐10   3   16   -­‐5   -­‐4   0   14   12   -­‐2   12   4   -­‐7   17   -­‐7   5   12   -­‐19   -­‐1   -­‐14   8   2   0   -­‐8   4   -­‐18   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   62.74%   10   41.15%   4   30.99%   2   34.80%   8   43.69%   9   47.50%   9   71.63%   12   37.34%   5   53.85%   8   70.36%   8   43.69%   4   44.96%   5   50.04%   9   67.82%   12   65.28%   9.5   47.50%   10   65.28%   6   55.12%   9   41.15%   3   71.63%   12   41.15%   7   56.39%   9   65.28%   11   25.91%   7   48.77%   7   32.26%   7   60.20%   9   52.58%   7   50.04%   10.5   39.88%   4   55.12%   11   27.18%   6   Predicted  Wins   10   7   5   6   7   8   11   6   9   11   7   7   8   11   10   8   10   9   7   11   7   9   10   4   8   5   10   8   8   6   9   4   Difference  in  Wins   0   -­‐3   -­‐3   2   2   1   1   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐3   -­‐3   -­‐2   1   1   -­‐0.5   2   -­‐4   0   -­‐4   1   0   0   1   3   -­‐1   2   -­‐1   -­‐1   2.5   -­‐2   2   2  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2003
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   12   -­‐9   2   -­‐16   -­‐4   -­‐11   2   -­‐13   -­‐11   19   10   -­‐4   2   4   0   -­‐16   -­‐4   0   0   0   -­‐5   17   -­‐1   7   3   2   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐3   -­‐5   13   11   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   65.28%   7   38.61%   7   52.58%   8   29.72%   6   44.96%   10   36.07%   5   52.58%   7   33.53%   4   36.07%   4   74.17%   13   62.74%   12   44.96%   10   52.58%   10   55.12%   12   50.04%   5   29.72%   4   44.96%   5   50.04%   6   50.04%   5   50.04%   10   43.69%   11   71.63%   14   48.77%   4   58.93%   12   53.85%   10   52.58%   5   48.77%   8   48.77%   10   46.23%   6   43.69%   5   66.55%   12   64.01%   9   Predicted  Wins   10   6   8   5   7   6   8   5   6   12   10   7   8   9   8   5   7   8   8   8   7   11   8   9   9   8   8   8   7   7   11   10   Difference  in  Wins   -­‐3   1   0   1   3   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐2   1   2   3   2   3   -­‐3   -­‐1   -­‐2   -­‐2   -­‐3   2   4   3   -­‐4   3   1   -­‐3   0   2   -­‐1   -­‐2   1   -­‐1  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2004
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   -­‐19   -­‐8   4   10   -­‐9   -­‐11   -­‐9   1   15   -­‐6   19   -­‐15   -­‐18   6   2   4   5   18   4   -­‐13   12   9   -­‐17   -­‐24   11   -­‐1   7   7   11   5   -­‐1   1   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   25.91%   2   39.88%   5   55.12%   8   62.74%   9   38.61%   10   36.07%   4   38.61%   5   51.31%   6   69.09%   12   42.42%   7   74.17%   12   30.99%   6   27.18%   4   57.66%   13   52.58%   11   55.12%   6   56.39%   9   72.90%   10   55.12%   6   33.53%   10   65.28%   7   61.47%   12   28.45%   5   19.56%   8   64.01%   9   48.77%   6   58.93%   8   58.93%   9   64.01%   15   56.39%   7   48.77%   5   51.31%   8   Predicted  Wins   4   6   9   10   6   6   6   8   11   7   12   5   4   9   8   9   9   12   9   5   10   10   5   3   10   8   9   9   10   9   8   8   Difference  in  Wins   -­‐2   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐1   4   -­‐2   -­‐1   -­‐2   1   0   0   1   0   4   3   -­‐3   0   -­‐2   -­‐3   5   -­‐3   2   0   5   -­‐1   -­‐2   -­‐1   0   5   -­‐2   -­‐3   0  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2005
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   -­‐9   6   24   4   20   -­‐7   7   -­‐11   -­‐8   8   12   -­‐5   1   -­‐7   0   12   11   -­‐6   1   -­‐24   16   -­‐6   -­‐4   -­‐10   -­‐10   1   -­‐24   10   7   -­‐8   -­‐6   5   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   38.61%   4   57.66%   11   80.52%   11   55.12%   5   75.44%   13   41.15%   6   58.93%   11   36.07%   5   39.88%   9   60.20%   10   65.28%   14   43.69%   9   51.31%   9   41.15%   6   50.04%   8   65.28%   11   64.01%   12   42.42%   4   51.31%   5   19.56%   4   70.36%   11   42.42%   10   44.96%   4   37.34%   6   37.34%   6   51.31%   10   19.56%   3   62.74%   13   58.93%   11   39.88%   2   42.42%   4   56.39%   9   Predicted  Wins   6   9   13   9   12   7   9   6   6   10   10   7   8   7   8   10   10   7   8   3   11   7   7   6   6   8   3   10   9   6   7   9   Difference  in  Wins   -­‐2   2   -­‐2   -­‐4   1   -­‐1   2   -­‐1   3   0   4   2   1   -­‐1   0   1   2   -­‐3   -­‐3   1   0   3   -­‐3   0   0   2   0   3   2   -­‐4   -­‐3   0  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2006
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   -­‐5   8   7   -­‐5   0   -­‐15   -­‐12   3   13   4   7   1   2   5   6   0   1   0   -­‐9   0   -­‐5   8   -­‐23   14   17   -­‐5   -­‐4   -­‐8   -­‐8   -­‐3   2   4   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   43.69%   7   60.20%   13   58.93%   8   43.69%   7   50.04%   9   30.99%   4   34.80%   4   53.85%   8   66.55%   14   55.12%   9   58.93%   12   51.31%   9   52.58%   6   56.39%   10   57.66%   7   50.04%   8   51.31%   8   50.04%   10   38.61%   3   50.04%   8   43.69%   8   60.20%   12   20.83%   2   67.82%   8   71.63%   13   43.69%   5   44.96%   10   39.88%   9   39.88%   8   46.23%   6   52.58%   8   55.12%   6   Predicted  Wins   7   10   9   7   8   5   6   9   11   9   9   8   8   9   9   8   8   8   6   8   7   10   3   11   11   7   7   6   6   7   8   9   Difference  in  Wins   0   3   -­‐1   0   1   -­‐1   -­‐2   -­‐1   3   0   3   1   -­‐2   1   -­‐2   0   0   2   -­‐3   0   1   2   -­‐1   -­‐3   2   -­‐2   3   3   2   -­‐1   0   -­‐3  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2007
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   -­‐12   -­‐1   5   9   1   -­‐2   15   -­‐7   24   -­‐11   18   5   -­‐7   -­‐8   4   -­‐9   9   -­‐4   -­‐1   4   1   16   -­‐11   -­‐10   -­‐17   -­‐5   -­‐7   10   3   -­‐13   0   1   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   34.80%   5   48.77%   7   56.39%   7   61.47%   7   51.31%   7   47.50%   10   69.09%   9   41.15%   8   80.52%   11   36.07%   4   72.90%   13   56.39%   13   41.15%   1   39.88%   8   55.12%   4   38.61%   10   61.47%   11   44.96%   4   48.77%   7   55.12%   13   51.31%   7   70.36%   16   36.07%   4   37.34%   3   28.45%   5   43.69%   9   41.15%   7   62.74%   10   53.85%   10   33.53%   8   50.04%   10   51.31%   8   Predicted  Wins   6   8   9   10   8   8   11   7   13   6   12   9   7   6   9   6   10   7   8   9   8   11   6   6   5   7   7   10   9   5   8   8   Difference  in  Wins   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐2   -­‐3   -­‐1   2   -­‐2   1   -­‐2   -­‐2   1   4   -­‐6   2   -­‐5   4   1   -­‐3   -­‐1   4   -­‐1   5   -­‐2   -­‐3   0   2   0   0   1   3   2   0  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2008
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   -­‐17   -­‐6   -­‐2   -­‐8   -­‐17   5   4   0   4   5   9   -­‐11   17   3   -­‐3   9   -­‐7   -­‐1   -­‐9   -­‐2   6   1   1   -­‐5   13   0   -­‐4   -­‐8   4   -­‐10   14   6   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   28.45%   7   42.42%   9   47.50%   4.5   39.88%   7   28.45%   8   56.39%   4   55.12%   9   50.04%   9   55.12%   8   56.39%   2   61.47%   12   36.07%   9   71.63%   11   53.85%   9.5   46.23%   11   61.47%   12   41.15%   5   48.77%   9   38.61%   0   47.50%   6   57.66%   12   51.31%   11   51.31%   5   43.69%   2   66.55%   11   50.04%   8   44.96%   8   39.88%   4   55.12%   12   37.34%   8   67.82%   13   57.66%   10   Predicted  Wins   5   7   8   6   5   9   9   8   9   9   10   6   11   9   7   10   7   8   6   8   9   8   8   7   11   8   7   6   9   6   11   9   Difference  in  Wins   2   2   -­‐3.5   1   3   -­‐5   0   1   -­‐1   -­‐7   2   3   0   0.5   4   2   -­‐2   1   -­‐6   -­‐2   3   3   -­‐3   -­‐5   0   0   1   -­‐2   3   2   2   1  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Turnover Differential and Predicted Wins for NFL Teams in 2009
Team   49ers   Bears   Bengals   Bills   Broncos   Browns   Buccaneers   Cardinals   Chargers   Chiefs   Colts   Cowboys   Dolphins   Eagles   Falcons   Giants   Jaguars   Jets     Lions   Packers   Panthers   Patriots   Raiders   Rams   Ravens   Redskins   Saints   Seahawks   Steelers   Texans   Titans   Vikings    TOD   9   -­‐6   0   3   7   -­‐12   -­‐5   -­‐7   8   1   2   2   -­‐8   15   3   -­‐7   2   1   -­‐18   -­‐2   6   6   -­‐13   -­‐13   10   -­‐11   11   -­‐8   -­‐3   -­‐1   -­‐4   6   Predicted  Win  %   Wins   61.47%   8   42.42%   7   50.04%   10   53.85%   6   58.93%   8   34.80%   5   43.69%   3   41.15%   10   60.20%   13   51.31%   4   52.58%   14   52.58%   11   39.88%   7   69.09%   11   53.85%   9   41.15%   8   52.58%   7   51.31%   9   27.18%   2   47.50%   11   57.66%   8   57.66%   10   33.53%   5   33.53%   1   62.74%   9   36.07%   4   64.01%   13   39.88%   5   46.23%   9   48.77%   9   44.96%   8   57.66%   12   Predicted  Wins   10   7   8   9   9   6   7   7   10   8   8   8   6   11   9   7   8   8   4   8   9   9   5   5   10   6   10   6   7   8   7   9   Difference  in  Wins   -­‐2   0   2   -­‐3   -­‐1   -­‐1   -­‐4   3   3   -­‐4   6   3   1   0   0   1   -­‐1   1   -­‐2   3   -­‐1   1   0   -­‐4   -­‐1   -­‐2   3   -­‐1   2   1   1   3  

• •

TOD = Turnover Differential, defined in the introduction as the amount of times a team’s opponents lose possession of the ball (via an interception or a fumble) in one season, minus the amount of times the team loses possession of the ball in one season Predicted Win % is according to the function f(x) = 0.0127x + 0.5004 Difference in Wins = Actual Wins – Predicted Wins

Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Turnover Differential - Key to Victory in the NFL Turnover Differential - Key to Victory in the NFL Turnover Differential - Key to Victory in the NFL Turnover Differential Often Determines Super Bowl Outcome NFL Handicapping: Turnovers Turnover Differential - Key to Victory in the NFL

Works Cited IBO Diploma Programme Mathematical Studies SL Information Booklet. Geneva, Switzerland. November 2004. Janus, Steve. "NFL Handicapping: Turnovers." Sportscapping.com. 14 Oct. 2009. Web. 25 Jan. 2010. <http://sportscapping.com/articles/nfl-handicapping-turnovers/>. "Turnover Differential - Key to Victory in the NFL." IHaveNet.com. 7 Sept. 2009. Web. 24 Jan. 2010. <http://www.ihavenet.com/NFL/NFL-2009-Turnovers-Key-to-Victory-in-NFL.html>. "Turnover Differential Often Determines Super Bowl Outcome." NFL.com. National Football League, 22 Jan. 2009. Web. 24 Jan. 2010. <http://www.nfl.com/superbowl/story?id=09000d5d80e5d3d9&template=withvideo&confirm=true>.