Patriots make a mockery of 249 to 1 odds against them

Check out this Super Bowl win probability chart by ESPN Stats & Info.  It remains bottomed out at an Atlanta Falcons victory from halftime on to the end of regulation, after which the Patriots ultimately prevail.  When New England settled for a field goal to cut their deficit to 16 points (28-to-12), the ESPN algorithm registered a 0.4% probability for them to win, being 9 minutes and 44 seconds left in the game.  That computes to 249 to 1 odds against a Patriot victory. Ha!

I am not terribly surprised that a team could overcome such odds.  The reason is that on December 29, 2006 I attended the Insight bowl in Tempe, Arizona where the Red Raiders of Texas, after falling behind 38-7 with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter, rallied to score 31 unanswered points and ultimately defeat my Gophers in overtime.  At the time it was the greatest comeback of all time in a bowl game, matched only after another decade passed with the 2016 Alamo Bowl victory by the TCU Horned Frogs, who trailed the Oregon Ducks 0-31 at halftime.  But they had more time than the Gophers to throw away their sure victory.  I entered our 2006 chances of victory in this football win probability calculator.  It says 100.00% that Minnesota must win.  Ha!

The laws of probability, so true in general, so fallacious in particular.

– Edward Gibbon


  1. #1 by hank on February 7, 2017 - 10:55 am

    Glen Mason had a number of embarrassing fourth quarter losses. I was at the Wisconsin game where the Gophers were up by 10 with 3 minutes to play. They ended up allowing a touchdown, then, unable to get a first down, botching the long snap. The ball ended up in the end zone, where Wisconsin recovered it for the win. That was almost worse than the Texas Tech loss (which I was also present for, as you know), because the Metrodome was half full of Wisconsin fans. They were pretty happy with the win, and let us Gopher fans know it as we left the stadium.

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