Hey, the playoffs are about to begin. The best teams from the leagues compete to determine the champion. Must be some really great teams! But wait, the 2014-15 Carolina Panthers made the NFL playoffs by winning the NFC South with a losing record! How often do teams with losing records qualify for the playoffs? Who was the worst team ever to make the playoffs? In this activity students explore teams in the three major US sports who have made their playoffs with a losing record. How will they determine which team had the worst record if many of the teams played a different number of games? Seems like a good time for students to think about ratios, percent and proportionality in a familiar context. Enjoy the playoffs … and the math.

CCSS: 4.NF.2 , 6.RP.1 , 6.RP.2 , 6.RP.3 , 7.RP.3

**The Activity:** losing-team-in-the-playoffs2015.pdf

For members we have an editable Word doc, teaching suggestions and solutions.

losing-team-in-the-playoffs2015.docx losing-team-playoffs-solution.pdf

Here is a great idea from math teacher & blogger Nat Banting. Have your students examine an NFL schedule and division make ups. Remember that each division winner automatically makes the playoffs, even if the team has a losing record. How many teams with a losing record can make the playoffs during the same year? What is the max?

@Yummymath Based on this year's matchups, is there a scenario that has 2 sub-500 teams in? What about 3? What's the max? #mathchat

— Nat Banting (@NatBanting) January 4, 2015