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Statistics and analytics in football

One area of math that is key to football is analytics, taking data and statistics and analyzing it all to help coaches and players excel. This content is provided by the 49ers Museum Education Program..

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Video transcript

(upbeat music) - Hi, I'm Brian Hampton, Director of Football Administration and Analytics for the San Francisco 49ers. Math and football? Yes, indeed. Math and football are connected in many ways and they are much cooler and more complex than just using numbers to add up the score. One area of mathematics that is super important to the game of football and the potential success or failure of a team is a field called analytics, which is basically a way to explain how we use data and statistics to develop information that is used to inform the coaches and players about what tends to happen in certain situations, what plays to call, the likelihood of certain things happening, things like that. So how does this work? NFL teams collect all kinds of data about their own teams and their opponents. These things include how fast each player is, how much each person plays, what plays are typically called when a certain person is on the field. Then teams have a staff of professionals whose job it is to analyze this information and translate it into ideas and suggestions for the coaches. We sort through the data looking for trends to try and find anything that gives us an idea of what our opponent is going to do in a given situation. One example from last season came from where a certain tight end lined up. I won't say which team, but this one player would line up right next to the offensive tackles some of the time and would line up out wide, like a wide receiver some of the time. We analyze every bit of data we can and find that when this player lines up out wide, it's a pass play 97% of the time. If he lines up next to the tackle, we can't predict what play they're gonna run. But if he lines up out wide, we know to expect a pass play. This information lets our defense get a head start. We break down every piece of information to try to find the nuggets which will be useful to the team and only share those items of value that way we avoid giving too much information. Wanna learn a little more about how statistics and analytics impact the game of football? Keep exploring this learning module.