PATTERNS IN ROCK PAPER SCISSORS AND IN FOOTBALL. I note that Mark Cuban, in this article by John Breech (February 5), supports my post yesterday about Seattle’s using an element of randomness in its play calling in the last 26 seconds of the Superbowl. Cuban said: “You got to go with what got you there. The randomness of plays, that’s what got them there,”

Of course, while there was randomness in Seattle’s choice, there were patterns as well—the strength of the Seattle running game, the past tendencies of each team, the time left in the game, the number of time outs available. I posted here about how two 11 year old girls knew that rock paper scissors was not a purely random game.

Note that one of the factors that had to enter into Seattle’s calculations was that an incomplete pass would stop the clock. There might well be time to run three plays—-take three chances to score—if two of the plays were pass plays. I posted here that the choice by the Green Bay Packers of a running play at the end of the Ice Bowl was irrational and therefore surprising. If they had chosen a pass play they would have had two chances to score. Choosing to run and only have one chance to score was a great surprise.

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