Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ShadyBillsFan

How mathematicians are trying to make NFL schedules fairer

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

How mathematicians are trying to make NFL schedules fairer

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/26523224/how-mathematicians-trying-make-nfl-schedules-fairer

 

I recall this being talked about (basically every year)  

 

The whole project was sparked, in fact, by his hometown Buffalo Bills complaining about how often they faced teams who were coming off either a bye or a Thursday night game, which gives their opponents a rest advantage. As it turned out, between 2002 and 2014, the Bills had twice as many of those games as some other teams. The Bills were at a seemingly permanent disadvantage.

 

 

The NFL has managed to create a national holiday out of the schedule release, in part because it makes the upcoming season feel imminent but also because of the anger and debate it sparks. And with the full list of constraints in hand, Karwan and his team -- including one of his Ph.D. students, Zach Steever -- determined it is impossible to eliminate every potential quirk or disparity. But working with a dedicated computer chained to a wall for security, on a secure internet connection in a room that requires a password to enter -- "It's like working for the Department of Defense," Karwan said -- the team is focused on lowering the number of those undesirable outcomes.

Edited by ShadyBillsFan
  • Like (+1) 4
  • Awesome! (+1) 1
  • Thanks! (+1) 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that's hilarious, best laugh of the day so far!

 

had to make sure it wasn't The Onion first.

 

 

  • Haha (+1) 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, boater said:

Interesting read. Thanks.

no prob. 

 

some "data" to support what some of thought 

 

  • Like (+1) 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

they've been skewing the schedule for decades to make it easier for the suckfest teams, and hand them the top draft pick every year, what more can they possibly ask for?

 

(and my team STILL can't build an honest winner for 20 or so years now...)

 

the worst teams get the cushier opponents in the variable games since the mid 1960s.

 

there is no scientific way to improve on this without a Merlin hat and a time machine....

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About time that some real mathematicians look into the Bills getting screwed on the schedule year after year! And as with any good scientific process, the results should be peer-reviewed. I would suggest that the chair of mathematics at MIT, Tom Mrowka, should be the lead reviewer (Buffalo native, LOL  😎 ).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Stranded in Boston said:

About time that some real mathematicians look into the Bills getting screwed on the schedule year after year! And as with any good scientific process, the results should be peer-reviewed. I would suggest that the chair of mathematics at MIT, Tom Mrowka, should be the lead reviewer (Buffalo native, LOL  😎 ).

 

No matter what pointless jiggery-pokery "math" is put into this, the Bills have to face the Pats twice a year,

 

thank goodness the Colts left the Bills division or it would have 0-4 against Brady and Peyton for many many years.

 

 

  • Like (+1) 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parity is incalculably important to the league's continued success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just like every two years we get another article saying "a new scientific survey proves there are only 12 minutes of action in a football game"

 

which isn't true at all, and we've kind of known this kind of thing since the stopwatch first hung around a maniac coach's neck, but they keep on insisting it's new and scientific...  :D

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, row_33 said:

they've been skewing the schedule for decades to make it easier for the suckfest teams, and hand them the top draft pick every year, what more can they possibly ask for?

 

(and my team STILL can't build an honest winner for 20 or so years now...)

 

the worst teams get the cushier opponents in the variable games since the mid 1960s.

 

there is no scientific way to improve on this without a Merlin hat and a time machine....

 

 

 

 

They're talking about minimizing things like having one team disproportionately play more teams coming off byes than other teams, not strength of schedule stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Stranded in Boston said:

About time that some real mathematicians look into the Bills getting screwed on the schedule year after year! And as with any good scientific process, the results should be peer-reviewed. I would suggest that the chair of mathematics at MIT, Tom Mrowka, should be the lead reviewer (Buffalo native, LOL  😎 ).

 

So I know a little about this. Recently, the NFL was hiring a consulting firm to design their schedule, which was actually run by a couple MIT PhD alums specializing in optimization.

 

From my understanding, the NFL's focus was almost entirely on building a schedule to take advantage of the primetime spots, in order to maximize viewership (since that translates to more money in future TV deals and more fans). There's a reason why the Cowboys play Sunday/Monday/Thursday night football every year, and the Bills do not. While I never actually heard the Bills mentioned in this regard, I did hear a couple other teams explicitly named as undesirable. Any unfairness in the schedules resulting from this approach was basically an afterthought, from what I know. It's good that the Buffalo researchers noted schedule unfairness, because I doubt it was really on the NFL's minds at all, but it should be fixable with only a small impact on what the NFL really cares about ($).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, row_33 said:

they've been skewing the schedule for decades to make it easier for the suckfest teams, and hand them the top draft pick every year, what more can they possibly ask for?

 

(and my team STILL can't build an honest winner for 20 or so years now...)

 

the worst teams get the cushier opponents in the variable games since the mid 1960s.

 

there is no scientific way to improve on this without a Merlin hat and a time machine....

 

 

How is that still possible when the schedules are predetermined, minus the strength of schedule games?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Mark Vader said:

How is that still possible when the schedules are predetermined, minus the strength of schedule games?

maybe he meant  to say "the darlings" get the cushier opponents at home or away depending on how its laid out.

 

if you get my meaning ..  There may be an advantage to playing team X at home verses on the road.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Stranded in Boston said:

About time that some real mathematicians look into the Bills getting screwed on the schedule year after year! And as with any good scientific process, the results should be peer-reviewed. I would suggest that the chair of mathematics at MIT, Tom Mrowka, should be the lead reviewer (Buffalo native, LOL  😎 ).

Might want to run that suggestion by @DC Tom first. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, row_33 said:

they've been skewing the schedule for decades to make it easier for the suckfest teams, and hand them the top draft pick every year, what more can they possibly ask for?

 

(and my team STILL can't build an honest winner for 20 or so years now...)

 

the worst teams get the cushier opponents in the variable games since the mid 1960s.

 

there is no scientific way to improve on this without a Merlin hat and a time machine....

 

 

 

I literally have no idea why you would think this, or why you think trying to clean up a broken process is a joke.  Bad breakfast this morning?  Of course there are ways to improve it.

 

This is not about WHO you play - it's about not having teams get games against opponents with extra rest that week 6 times in one season (this happened to the Bills a few years back).

 

It's about not having a team (the Patriots* did) have multiple division games coming off more rest than their opponents.

 

There is frankly NO excuse for a team to play any of their 6 division games with more rest than their opponent - and yet this happened repeatedly for the Patriots*.

 

As with the part-time refereeing situation, the NFL gets caught being lazy/sloppy/cheap an absurd number of times for such a huge profitable business.  Any time they take a step towards less incompetent is a good thing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, BobChalmers said:

 

I literally have no idea why you would think this, or why you think trying to clean up a broken process is a joke.  Bad breakfast this morning?  Of course there are ways to improve it.

 

This is not about WHO you play - it's about not having teams get games against opponents with extra rest that week 6 times in one season (this happened to the Bills a few years back).

 

It's about not having a team (the Patriots* did) have multiple division games coming off more rest than their opponents.

 

There is frankly NO excuse for a team to play any of their 6 division games with more rest than their opponent - and yet this happened repeatedly for the Patriots*.

 

As with the part-time refereeing situation, the NFL gets caught being lazy/sloppy/cheap an absurd number of times for such a huge profitable business.  Any time they take a step towards less incompetent is a good thing.

 

Spoken for truth. 

About 4-5 years ago, The Big Cat was a poster here who really did a cogent analysis of several years of NFL Schedules with the focus on The Bills and in particular how the Pats*** got extra time off WRT some key opponents. Ah showed how they played The Bills coming off NE’s bye week or a Thursday night game. It happened a half dozen times.

 

The local sports wags who lurk around here eventually picked up the storyline and published it in their media. Some attention was given, eventually. And it hasn’t been quite as onerous as it had been since then. 

Hats off and a nod to The Big Cat, where ever he is. 

Edited by Nanker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quite liked our schedule last year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, K-9 said:

Might want to run that suggestion by @DC Tom first. 

 

"Lowering the number of undesirable outcomes" of sporting events?
 

MIT can have it.  I don't want to touch that bull####.

  • Like (+1) 1
  • Haha (+1) 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, DC Tom said:

 

"Lowering the number of undesirable outcomes" of sporting events?
 

MIT can have it.  I don't want to touch that bull####.

Of course you wouldn't touch that, I was just wondering if you thought MIT was up for the task. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, K-9 said:

Of course you wouldn't touch that, I was just wondering if you thought MIT was up for the task. 

 

Sure...not like Cornell, or Princeton.

 

But no one's making "more fair" an autocorrelated system punctuated by random events.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..mathematics entering into the equation is presumptively asinine IMO....makes about as much as sense as pre-season strength of schedule forecasts and the "doom 'n gloom" thereafter upon release.....it precludes all variables......injuries, cuts, releases, trades, PS promotions, coaching/philosophy changes, suspensions, etc.....would be an interesting for one of TBD's "stat rat gurus" to do a study of pre-season vs post-season strength of schedule comparatives.....despite it being an tedious exercise WELL beyond my intellect, I'd bet the differences are generally substantial because of the variables...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good teams get too many prime time games, wouldn't this affect them negatively.

 

What are they doing about that?

 

Flex games, don't get me started.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sloan Sports Analytics Conference has a 3 year grant from the NFL to help balance the NFL schedule...the team from UB first made the NFLs radar a few years ago when they found the Bills had 6 games against teams coming off byes or Thursday night games while other teams had none...they wrote to the NFL and said the schedule can hardly be fair when this type of stuff is taking place where one team plays an inorndinate amount of games against teams with extra time to rest and prepare while other teams play none...

 

Apparently the NFL paid attention as they will be helping balance the schedule for the next 3 years.

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/sports.yahoo.com/amphtml/nfl-ssac-researchers-balance-schedules-224914583.html

Edited by matter2003
  • Like (+1) 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...