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January 30, 2015

Proceedings of the Natural Institute of Science | Volume 2 | HARD 3

Our Super Bowl Prediction: Seattle Seahakws 29.02, New England Patriots 17.98

PNIS Editorial Staff1
1 - Editor, PNIS

Errata: This article originally claimed to have predicted the Seattle Seahawks winning Super Bowl XLIX by 11.04 points. The prediction should have read: "We really have no idea what we are doing. We are a Science Publication, not a Sports Magazine." We have realized our error in trying to shift from science-related articles to sports-themed predictions and apologize for the mistake. We also apologize for any gambling losses that may have occurred, but, with all due respect, you shouldn't get your gambling advice from a science journal, much less a journal entitled PNIS.

If you've been following along with PNIS this past week, you know we've been trying to determine accurate predictors of Super Bowl success. On Tuesday, we took a serious approach to see what football-relevant criteria (like Total Points Scored) could best predict a team's probability of winning the Super Bowl. On Thursday, we relaxed our "serious" stipulation and came up with some irreverant predictors (like Genome Size of the Animal in the Team's Name). With such good predictors that predicted, on average, 60% of the Super Bowl's, how could we not make a prediction for Super Bowl 49?

Thus, for each of our 24 serious criteria and 24 absurd criteria, we determined which team had the better ranking, and then added them up for each team. To get a prediction for the score, we multiplied our sums by 2, so that the combined score would equal 48 (this would closely mimic the over/under of the game, which is at 47.5. The over/under is the expected combined score of the two teams). We made separate predictions for the serious and absurd criteria.

Prediction based on serious criteria:
Seattle Seahawks 34, New England Patriots 10

Seattle is ranked higher in 17 criteria, New England is ranked higher in 5 criteria, and there were 2 criteria in which the teams were tied. Seattle is so far ahead rankings-wise, that if New England wins, it will be the second biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

Prediction based on absurd criteria:
Seattle Seahawks 30, New England Patriots 18

Seattle is ranked higher in 15 criteria, New England for 9 criteria and no ties. The Patriots (Humans) had a larger genome size and population size, but Seattle was more bible-minded, had more sister cities, had a lower average Area Code, and was incorporated at a later date. Sorry, New England, should have probably gotten more sister cities.

So both these predictions have Seattle out in front. We can make another set of predictions using the weighted criteria scores instead of just seeing if one team was ranked higher or not (see our first article for details):

Predictions based on serious & weighted criteria
Seattle Seahawks 26.63, New England Patriots 21.37

Apparently, Seattle's defense is really good...

Predictions based on absurd & weighted criteria
Seattle Seahawks 25.47, New England Patriots 22.53

This is as close as New England is going to get in our predictions.

Because averaging model outputs seems to be all the rage for modellers these days, we averaged all four of our predictions for our final prediction:

Seattle Seahawks 29.02, New England Patriots 17.98

Perhaps the only consolation for Patriots Fans is that the Person-who-knows-nothing-about-football, who correctly predicted 65% of past Super Bowls, has picked the Patriots in this game.




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