Thursday, February 2, 2017

Atlanta Falcons Predicted to Win Super Bowl

Over time the use of information technology has become increasingly important and useful in several areas of practically all sports. NFL coaches for example use information technology to give them a competitive advantage over their opponent and to provide more strategic and trustworthy on-field decisions. The ability to analyze a football game with the help of information technology allows coaches and fans to better predict the outcome of a game as well as other situations throughout a game.  
With Super Bowl 51 around the corner, Konstantinos Pelechrinis, an associate professor in Pittsburg’s School of Information Sciences, used NFL data and statistics to form a model based on the analysis of in-game factors to create a Football Prediction Matchup (FPM) engine. This engine predicted the 2017 NFL playoff games so far with 90 percent accuracy and was used to determine that there is a 54 percent chance the Atlanta Falcons will be victorious over the New England Patriots this upcoming Sunday in the Super Bowl. Despite this model being successful so far, I feel that it is hard to rely on a predicted outcome based on previous data and statistics no matter how many simulations are ran. In all sports, especially football, anything could happen at any moment of a game, making it very difficult to predict anything with accuracy. There are a number of factors throughout the course of the game that will affect the outcome making it hard to rely on predictions based solely on data from the past. While researchers may be able to use information technology to predict numbers with some degree of accuracy, it is nearly impossible to predict and account for human error or other non-statistical factors that will affect the outcome of any game.
While many Patriots fans, as well as football fans in general, may laugh at the unexpected result of Pelechrinis’ model, I feel that overall the use of information technology in sports is important and useful not to predict the outcome of games, but to give coaches, players, and fans more overall knowledge. Without the information technology that is used in the NFL we would not know anywhere near as much as we do about teams, players, coaches and many more aspects of the game. I believe that football among other professional sports has become more fast-paced, more advanced, and most importantly more enjoyable for fans to watch and follow more closely due in part to the increased use of technology.
Overall, I feel that Pelechrinis’ model would be more efficiently used to study, analyze and predict moments throughout the game, such as how he discovered that coaches tend to be conservative in key situations, rather that predicting the result of the Superbowl. Whether or not to trust Pelechrinis’ prediction is up in the air, but as all football fans know, in Super Bowl 51, anything could happen.

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