Anyone that follows me knows that I am an avid football fan. Specifically, I am a huge Steelers fan. I have been ever since I was eight years old. I found it very interesting then to find out recently that the folks over at EA Sports have been using their Madden franchise to predict the winner of the Superbowl.
They have been doing this since 2004 with some frightening accuracy…check this out:
This is what the games predicted would happen
“Madden NFL 2005″ — New England Patriots (41), Philadelphia Eagles (31)
“Madden NFL 2006″ — Pittsburgh Steelers (24), Seattle Seahawks (19)
“Madden NFL 07″ – Indianapolis Colts (38), Chicago Bears (27)
“Madden NFL 08″– New England Patriots (38), New York Giants (30)
“Madden NFL 09″ — Pittsburgh Steelers (28), Arizona Cardinals (24)
And this is how it actually turned out:
Super Bowl XXXIX — New England Patriots (24), Philadelphia Eagles (21)
Super Bowl XL — Pittsburgh Steelers (21), Seattle Seahawks (10)
Super Bowl XLI – Indianapolis Colts (29), Chicago Bears (17)
Super Bowl XLII — New York Giants (17), New England Patriots (14)
Super Bowl XLIII — Pittsburgh Steelers (27), Arizona Cardinals (23)
Check that last one again. Yeah my Steelers did turn in the win…but I think it is much more impressive that the scoring difference was only by one point for both teams. That is an incredible piece of statistical data. In fact the Madden game has been flawless except for the Patriots/Giants game last year. I’d say that makes David Tyree’s “lucky” catch even that much more magical.
You have to wonder how long it will be before these games transition from game to tools the teams might utilize in the future. I don’t think you could ever take the human element out of the game, but it could make for some interesting game planning. Many other industries use computer modeling as a tool to predict the outcome of their investments. It could only be a matter of time before the NFL does the same.