Researcher Finds Home-Field Advantage

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Jan. 10 (UPI) — An Indiana University researcher said his analysis of NFL statistics between 1981 and 1996 found the home team won 57 percent of the games.

Motz, a cognitive scientist with the school’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, said the home-field advantage may be attributable to officials seeking to appease local fans.

“If 100,000 fans are screaming at you, you’d be a sociopath if you weren’t affected by the crowd,” Motz said.

He said the home-field advantage decreased slightly when instant replay was introduced in 1999.

Motz said students in his “Prediction, Probability, and Pigskin” course this fall will use fantasy football to understand statistics.

“When I joined a fantasy football league recently, I realized that people in my league who I’d never thought of as quantitatively minded — people who think in terms of numbers — were doing what I want my students to do,” Motz said. “They were thinking critically about data, using patterns they were seeing and making extrapolations about data yet to come. It was pretty clear to me that it had the power to help people think empirically about data.”

 

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