Thursday, January 05, 2006

Soccer more exciting then football

What's that smug feeling coming over me and all the other US soccer fans this morning? Could it be that so many barroom bets are now settled thanks to the handy work of a very scientists and computers over at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

That's right, the same people that brought us the atomic bomb have done the math and proven that soccer is more exciting then American football. They proved this by looking at the results of games in the English soccer league, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. The matches analyzed date back to 1946 in the NBA's case and more than a century for soccer and baseball (a data set of more than 300,000 games).

So let's go to the table
Excitement table
Place - Sport
1 - Soccer
2 - Baseball
3 - Hockey
4 - Basketball
5 - Football

But how did they figure out excitement levels? Basically they looked at how often the underdog won. Here are the percentages:

Soccer - 45%
Baseball - 44%
Hockey - 41.5%
Basketball - 37%
Football - 36%

One interesting thing, the 'excitement level' of English soccer has decreased since the 1940's when it was 48%. However, the level for football has increased since the 1950's 31% mark.

I only have two problems with this study. First, how did they determine the underdog. Second, why are the people in charge of the US nuclear secrets taking time to figure out the excitement level of sporting events? I seem to recall there being some issues with the lab not so long ago.


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