NFL Teams that had the most protesters preformed poorly on Sunday

25 Sep , 2017  

In discussing the controversy over NFL players protesting during the National Anthem, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said: “I would probably be lying if I said no.”  Research conducted by the CPRC shows that this turmoil didn’t just affect the Steelers, but it had a large and statistically significant effect on teams.  The teams that had more players protesting were much more likely to perform poorly relative to the point spreads this past Thursday predicted.

We used Thursday’s point spread, the day before Trump’s first remarks, to predict how the teams were likely to play in Sunday’s games. The reason for doing it before Friday is that the bettors might have had some idea how the conflicts created by Trump might have affected the team’s performances so that it would already be in the change in the spread by Sunday.

We found that the difference in the number of players that protested the Anthem between any two teams was closely related to how much the actual scores differed from what was expected. If your team had thirteen more players protesting than your opponents, the average difference between teams, your team would be spotting your opponent about one-touchdown.

We have an op-ed that we have written with more details at Fox News.

Given that these protests are a result of fears that white police officers are systematically shooting blacks, here is a copy of our research showing that isn’t actually what is occurring.

T1 and T2 indicate Team 1 and Team 2, respectively.

A Stata file of the data is available here: NFL Games Kneeling.dta.  Data and links for sources in an Excel format: NFL Data Kneeling.xlsx

While it would be great to have more than 13 observations here (which is a small sample), it seems like it will be difficult to extend this test to additional weeks.  The whole point of using the point spread on Thursday rather than Sunday was to get estimates of expectations before Trump’s statement.  For this next week’s games whatever effect from Trump’s is likely to already be in the expected point spread.

UPDATE: It appears that some people who are complaining about the small sample don’t understand that the F- and t-statistics already take into account the small sample size.


11 Responses

  1. RugerDan says:

    Aside from all the hoopla surrounding this issue, I have yet to hear any specific facts as to what’s supposedly causing this alleged “oppression” that gets bandied about. What oppression specifically are you “protesters” experiencing? And be specific. Is it something someone has done or said to you personally or are you just repeating rhetoric from the mainstream tabloids and other race-baiters? If you feel you have been oppressed in some manner, was it done by every single person in this Nation? Because if it isn’t then aren’t you painting everyone in this Nation with the same broad brush of bias that you claim is oppressing you? Let’s hear some specific facts, not just some general rhetorical terms that were coined by someone else who is also pretending to be a victim of some make-believe crime.

  2. […] How much did the actual point spread differ from what the odds makers predicted?  We used the odds makers’ predicted point spreads from Thursday, the day before Trump’s first remarks.  (A copy of the data and the regression results are available here.) […]

  3. […] How much did the actual point spread differ from what the odds makers predicted?  We used the odds makers’ predicted point spreads from Thursday, the day before Trump’s first remarks.  (A copy of the data and the regression results are available here.) […]

  4. […] How much did the actual point spread differ from what the odds makers predicted?  We used the odds makers’ predicted point spreads from Thursday, the day before Trump’s first remarks.  (A copy of the data and the regression results are available here.) […]

  5. […] How much did the actual point spread differ from what the odds makers predicted?  We used the odds makers’ predicted point spreads from Thursday, the day before Trump’s first remarks.  (A copy of the data and the regression results are available here.) […]

  6. […] How much did the actual point spread differ from what the odds makers predicted?  We used the odds makers’ predicted point spreads from Thursday, the day before Trump’s first remarks.  (A copy of the data and the regression results are available here.) […]

  7. […] How much did the actual point spread differ from what the odds makers predicted?  We used the odds makers’ predicted point spreads from Thursday, the day before Trump’s first remarks.  (A copy of the data and the regression results are available here.) […]

  8. PHILLIP RIDER says:

    TRUMP STARTED IT BUT GOD PUT THE FINISHING TOUCHES TO THE FINIAL RESULTS.

  9. Adam says:

    What’s keeping you from extending this to previous weeks? You’ll get a larger sample size. Also, I think you should have explained why your article ignores the results of your second regression. Shouldn’t you have a much higher R^2/t-score before you claim that 13 protesters spots opponents one touchdown? Based on your confidence interval it looks more like they spot them between an extra point and two touchdowns. Shouldn’t the historical accuracy of the spread makers feature into this somehow?

    • johnrlott says:

      Adam, the point of the study is to see how the scores differed from what was expected. That is the reason that the point spreads were taken from before Trump’s statement. After Trump’s point spread you run the risk of betters taking into account the impact that the controversy will have on Team performance. For anything after the first weekend, it would be hard to have expected point spreads that were contaminated by people’s adjusted expectations. If you have point spreads for the following weeks that were available before Trump’s Tweet please send us the link. Thank you.

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