## Super Bowl Squares Breakdown

## 2010 Super Bowl Squares Breakdown Now Available

We’ve all been in one of those Super Bowl Squares pools. You know, the kind you put a buck in the pot and are assigned a square on a 10×10 grid. Each square corresponds to a pair of numbers, one for the NFC team and one for the AFC team. The score at the end of each quarter — specifically the ones digit for each team’s score — determines which square wins 25% of the total cash pot. For instance, if the Colts lead the Bears 17-14 at halftime, the person with 7 on the Colts axis and 4 on the Bears axis wins the cash.

I’ve always wondered which squares were most likely to win. Logic tells you that a combination of 0s, 3s and 7s could be good, while 2s and 5s are not so good. So what squares are the best and which numbers should you hope to randomly draw? I looked at data from the entire 2006-07 NFL season to determine the answer to that question, and then I looked at results from past Super Bowls and scores from the 06-07 Colts and Bears games to determine your best bets for Super Bowl XLI in Miami.

## 2006-07 Season

There were 256 regular season NFL games and ten postseason games so far this year for a total of 266 games…or more importantly, 1,064 quarters played and 1,064 combinations of winning scores. Even though there are 100 squares on the board, we’ll group like combinations (i.e. 3-7 and 7-3) to make our findings a little clearer (figure 1).

As expected, the most frequent scores this year ended in 0 (617 times), 7 and 3 – over 2/3 of the possible scores. The least frequent were 5 (24 times), 2, 9 and 8. And the most frequent combinations? 7-0 (146 times), 3-0 , 7-3 , 0-0 and 4-0. Almost 50% of the combinations were made of these five winners.

Three combinations did not happen a single time during the past NFL season 5-5, 9-9 and, surprisingly, 2-1.

## 2006-07 Season

There were 256 regular season NFL games and ten postseason games so far this year for a total of 266 games…or more importantly, 1,064 quarters played and 1,064 combinations of winning scores. Even though there are 100 squares on the board, we’ll group like combinations (i.e. 3-7 and 7-3) to make our findings a little clearer (figure 1).

As expected, the most frequent scores this year ended in 0 (617 times), 7 and 3 – over 2/3 of the possible scores. The least frequent were 5 (24 times), 2, 9 and 8. And the most frequent combinations? 7-0 (146 times), 3-0 , 7-3 , 0-0 and 4-0. Almost 50% of the combinations were made of these five winners.

Three combinations did not happen a single time during the past NFL season 5-5, 9-9 and, surprisingly, 2-1.

## Super Bowl History

Data from 40 years of Super Bowls tells much of the same story as the 06-07 NFL season (figure 2). The top five combos from 160 Super Bowl quarters are the same as the 06-07 (7-4 is tied for fifth), and again, almost 2/3 of the scores end in 0, 3 or 7. On the flip side, 19 combinations of numbers have failed to appear in the Super Bowl, including the three that didn’t hit in all of 06-07. The number you certainly want to stay away from is 5 as it has partnered only with 0, 1, and 9 for winning combinations (not even 5-3 or 5-7 have happened in the Super Bowl!).

## Bear/Colts Info

While we can’t do the same type of combination matrix for individual teams as we have in the rest of the analysis, we can look at the Colts and Bears most frequent scores this year (figure 3). The Colts have played 19 games (76 quarters of data) while the Bears have played one less game (four less quarters). The top three numbers for the Colts were 7, 4 and 0 (in that order, with 3 a close 4th) while the Bears most frequent scores were the predictable 0, 3 and 7. Indy managed to hit all ten numbers at some point in the season although 2 and 8 only once and 5 twice. The Bears never landed on 5 and they only had 2 once.

## Prediction

So what does all this analysis tell us about this year’s big game? That I wasted two hours proving to myself that 0, 3, 4 and 7 are good and that if I get 2 or 5 I’m screwed. Good luck, and here’s to a field goal and a couple of first quarter safeties, no further scoring, and four winning 5-2 quarters.

## Interesting Notes

The most frequently hit final quarter numbers in 06-07 (the final quarter often pays more than other quarters) are, in order from best to worst 0-7-4-3-1-6-8-9-2-5. The combos that hit more than 10 times include 7-0, 7-4, 4-1, 3-0, 4-0 and 7-3. Combos that NEVER hit this year were 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 5-3, 5-5, 9-5 and 9-9.

The most common final Super Bowl score combination? 7-4 hit in four of the 40 years. Interestingly enough, the NFC had the 7 each time.

The numbers 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9 hit only eight times out of a possible 532 first quarter scores in 06-07. In fact, 8 never hit. On the other hand, 0, 3 and 7 hit 91% of the time. Also, 1, 2, 5, 8 and 9 have NEVER hit in the first quarter of the Super Bowl.