Oakland Raiders Data Is Looking Better, Looking Forward to Playoffs in 2011

Everyone should have a mentor to help them see the world differently. My mentor is a retired professor from the United States Military Academy.

After many years of watching him demonstrate the use and applications of mathematics in other disciplines, including sports, I learned a few things.

Eventually, I initiated a project with calculus students, requiring them to build a math model to compare former Oakland Raiders wide receivers. The paper that the students wrote gained a lot of attention. It was published in a West Point newsletter, edited by Don Small.

Since our effort, there has been a national day of awareness of mathematics and sports in 2009. I learned that one professor is active in a major project in the state of Maryland in which middle school teachers are being encouraged to teach topics including sports and mathematics. She discussed a little football with me at a recent math conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Since 2007, I have focused on discussing and analyzing NFL data, especially focused on the data for the Oakland Raiders.

I must add that the database is changing, and there are encouraging numbers and patterns to discuss since 2002.

Since I believe 2011 is going to be a fantastic year for the Oakland Raiders, I am encouraging others to add a little more data analysis to their opinions, forums and discussions. After all, ideas can be expressed using words, numbers, graphs and symbols, so let's get ready for a year that just might take us to the playoffs, and let's let the numbers tell their story, too.

Happy New Year! Expect great things, great numbers and outstanding winning patterns in 2011!

Thanks to the West Point professor for changing my perspective on the use of mathematics in sports and other areas.

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