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Falcons Collapse & The Frequency of Improbable Outcomes in Sports

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Sports fans love to root against the odds. At least the non-bandwagon ones do.

Because there's nothing quite like watching your team look probability dead in the eye and defeat it. The only explanation for such improbabilities is that your team has something special... that your team and its fanbase possess the intangibles that tell math it made a miscalculation.

And whereas the goal for most fans in sports is to watch their team win as many championships as possible, some would argue that an improbable championship run outweighs a dynasty.

To Boston Red Sox fans, following up a 3-0 ALS deficit against New York with a World Series run in 2004 provided a thrill that no Yankees fan could enjoy in its 27 World Series titles.

To New York Giants fans, a 2007 Super Bowl victory over Tom Brady's undefeated New England Patriots provided a storybook ending that New England's championship machine failed to produce.

And to Auburn football fans, the famed "Kick Six" proved Auburn's magical environment could produce the unforgettable moments that Alabama's manufactured super-teams could never.

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And for every Dallas Cowboys improbable comeback there is an equal and opposite Atlanta Falcons collapse. In this week's episode, Professor Mike Lewis and I discuss the statistical anomalies that shook the sports world this weekend - from the Cowboys' comeback to Anthony Davis's buzzer beater against Denver to Seattle's goal line stand against Cam Newton. We observe the fanbases at play as well as the narratives these anomalies create for both the winning and losing franchises.

Listen here;

Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.



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