With only 16 games in an NFL regular season every game and every play is crucial. Teams need to win each week or jobs are on the line. To win you have to score points. Points translate to wins. So how do teams score points? Are they better off having a great passing game or a great rushing game? Take time to have small group and/or class discussions as to how we might answer this question. After students have had time to put their own ideas forward have them consider the data that we have complied. A sample of the data is below. This chart gives the average team season totals in rushing yards, passing yards and points scored by season. We have four scatter plots to be made and analyzed in this activity. Consider breaking up the work into teams of students, having each team create one scatter plot. Then host a whole class share or gallery walk.
Which offensive strategy (rushing or passing) has a greater positive correlation with points? Students also look at team total points, total passing and rushing yards for the 2013 NFL season for all 32 teams. A sample of the data is below: Which offensive strategy (rushing or passing) has a greater positive correlation with points? Students can plot data, look for correlations, find correlation coefficients, fit trend lines, consider causation versus correlation and talk football. Oh, and decide which is a more effective offensive strategy for scoring points, passing or rushing.
The activity: Rush-or-pass.pdf
For members we have an editable Word docx, solutions, and two Excel charts with our data.