- #ICEBae is reportedly a Democrat–and she has some things to get off her chest Tuesday 8:45 PM
- Fans are stoked that Taika Waititi is back to direct ‘Thor 4’ Tuesday 7:22 PM
- Sacha Baron Cohen thanks ‘co-stars’ Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin for making Emmy nominations possible Tuesday 6:43 PM
- Roger Stone barred from posting on all social media platforms Tuesday 6:03 PM
- The FaceApp challenge shows you how gracefully you’ll age Tuesday 5:16 PM
- Kylie Jenner opens up about her mental health in candid Instagram post Tuesday 4:38 PM
- Fans speculate wildly about Naomi Watts’ ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel role after leaked set photo Tuesday 3:54 PM
- New Jersey congressman joins House Democrats ‘Squad’ because of an Onion article Tuesday 3:09 PM
- Twitter begins rolling out new desktop redesign, and users aren’t happy Tuesday 1:54 PM
- Man asks his girlfriend to ‘unlove’ her ex—and people do not agree with him Tuesday 1:37 PM
- Relive a forgotten gem with the TurboGrafx-16 Mini console Tuesday 1:09 PM
- Judge says Daily Stormer founder must pay $14 million for harassing Jewish realtor Tuesday 1:01 PM
- Graphic depiction of suicide cut from Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ Tuesday 12:55 PM
- Streaming titles seize 2019 Emmy nominations Tuesday 12:19 PM
- ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein’ tries to find humor in bad actors Tuesday 12:02 PM
Last night’s NFL game was so bad, it broke all the probability graphs
Statistics just can’t predict catastrophic human error.
In a sport where every possible fact and figure is tracked, plotted, and scrutinized, statistics are king. But the NFL‘s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals is proof that numbers can’t predict catastrophic kicker meltdowns.
If you didn’t stay up to watch the game—lucky you—here’s how things unfolded: Seattle and Arizona engaged in a spirited duel of ineptitude and ended regulation in a 6-6 tie. Then, after nearly an entire overtime period of yawns and blank stares, Arizona finally had a chance to put the game away with a ridiculously short field goal.
As Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro lined up for the play, the probability graph for every statistic and sports blog claimed that there was virtually no way Arizona was going to lose the game. In fact, most graphs bottomed out, giving Seattle a 0 percent chance to win and Arizona a 100 percent chance to seal the deal:
Catanzaro missed the kick.
That’s when the favorite tool of sports sites, predictive analytics probability graphs, started to kind of freak out. The graphics immediately spun back in the other direction, and as Seattle drove down the field with just seconds left, the Seahawks found themselves with an easy-peasy field goal of their own.
The Seahawks missed it, too.
This created a scenario that predictive analytics tools almost never have to deal with: a game in which nobody wins. With roughly 10 seconds left on the game clock, some graphs kind of just waved a white flag, giving both teams something like a 10 percent chance to win, before the game was put out of its misery, ending in a tie.
Mike Wehner is a former tech editor for the Daily Dot who now writes for BGR. His work has appeared everywhere from Yahoo to CNN, and there’s a good chance his Apple Watch is dead right now.