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C. Alan Joyce

Analyzing Super Bowl 46 with Wolfram|Alpha

February 2, 2012 —
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Over the past few weeks, we’ve highlighted a ton of different ways that Wolfram|Alpha can help you explore and analyze NFL statistics. Neither team has a perfect record at stake in this weekend’s Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, but it still promises to be a tough contest and a typically over-the-top cultural experience—so in our final blog post of the 2011 NFL season, we’d like to suggest a few more useful stat queries, as well as some more unusual ways to use Wolfram|Alpha on Super Bowl Sunday.

First, the stats. The Giants won their regular season clash with the Patriots this year, and with the new game-level history plots we just added to team and player results, you can clearly see that the Giants’ defense put the pressure on Tom Brady that week, holding his passer rating to its lowest point of the season:

Tom Brady passer rating 2011

Neither the Pats nor the Giants have ever won a game at Lucas Oil Stadium, but the Patriots have the better record on turf this year—and they haven’t lost a game since that week 9 clash with the Giants. But will Rob Gronkowski’s ankle injury cancel out that momentum? He had the most receiving yards of any tight end in 2011 and was a huge part of the Patriots’ offense. How big? Ask Wolfram|Alpha to divide Gronkowski’s receiving targets by overall Patriots passing attempts, and you can see that his team threw to him about 20% of the time. That’s a big burden to spread across the team’s other leading receivers.

Much of this year’s pre-game noise is about how the Brady-Manning Super Bowl rematch will play out. But they’re not the only returning players from 2007. In the last Giants-Pats Super Bowl, Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw (in his rookie year) and Brandon Jacobs were the leading rushers. Jacobs got the bulk of the carries in the regular season that year, but Wolfram|Alpha’s season total plot shows how Bradshaw has come into his own since then, despite being out for a few games in mid-season 2011.

Ahmad Bradshaw versus Brandon Jacobs carries 2007

Also returning will be 330-pound Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie, for whom Wolfram|Alpha can compute some brand-new statistics—like that fact that the number of calories he’d burn playing 2 hours of football (2,830) is roughly equivalent to 7 bowls of chili con carne. (Note: unless you’re Kareem McKenzie, don’t try this at your Super Bowl party.)

Although they’ll probably have the roof up, it’s still good to know that fans in the area should be in for pretty good weather at Lucas Oil Stadium at 6:30pm this Sunday. And if you happen to be lucky enough to have a Super Bowl ticket and the Wolfram|Alpha app on your mobile device, don’t forget that you can use us to identify flights over Lucas Oil Stadium, if the tailgating isn’t exciting enough for you.

There’s a lot more to compute about this Sunday’s competitors, but we’ll leave the rest to you. And even though the season’s almost over, we’ll continue to expand and improve our NFL coverage. We’ll have more detailed player and team analysis, support for fantasy football, and much more by the time the 2012 season rolls around—and we encourage you to send us comments, suggestions, and just plain cool queries that you discover with Wolfram|Alpha.


Fun tip: For a single-person query, the week numbers in the game history plot are active links—you can click on the number to jump directly to full stats for that game.

Give it a try!

Posted by The Wolfram|Alpha Team February 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

“Ask Wolfram|Alpha to divide Gronkowski’s receiving targets by overall Patriots passing attempts…”
It made me smile – not at the stats – but at what Woflram Alpha can do. I use Wolfram Alpha multiple times a day and it never ceases to impress me and those whom I show the site. The power of Wolfram Alpha is simply amazing.

Posted by Juan February 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm

To bad wolfram alpha can not analise their demographics better. Still I found this interesting. Great job as always.

Posted by Sam February 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm