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An innovative approach to National Football League standings using bonus points

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We investigate the inclusion of bonus points in the National Football League (NFL) using a prediction model built on league points. Both touchdown-based and narrow-loss bonuses are shown to be significant determinants of match outcomes. This implies that including bonus points in league standings generates a more accurate ranking of teams from best to worst than a system that only rewards wins and ties. Our preferred system awards four points for a win, two for a tie, one point for scoring three or more touchdowns and one point for losing by seven or fewer points. Such a system would also make it easier for supporters to identify playoff contenders and place importance on otherwise meaningless end-of-game plays in some matches, which would increase spectator interest.

Keywords: C20; C60; L83; NFL; sports predictions; sports ranking systems; tournament design

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, E19-411, CambridgeMA 02139, USA 2: Electrical Engineering Department,California State University, Long BeachCA 90840, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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