Mathalicious: Driving Question

When should NFL teams go for it on fourth down?

In a fourth down situation in football, most coaches in the NFL decide to punt the ball to the other team. But is giving the ball away with such regularity really a good idea, and should teams punt as often as they do?

In this lesson, students use quadratic functions to develop a model of expected points, which measure how many points a team can expect to score from different field positions. They then apply this model to determine when teams should punt the ball, and more importantly, when they shouldn’t.


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Math Topics
Algebra & Pre-Algebra, Probability, Quadratic Equations, Sports
High School
9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade

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