A Graphic Super Bowl

In a week, a parade will be scheduled in Boston or Philadelphia to celebrate a Super Bowl championship team. For now, the days, hours, and minutes tick away until the kick-off of the 52nd NFL championship game. Parties are scheduled. Analysts offer their predictions. Anticipation builds.

With so much attention on the big game, you can feed your sports hunger at ESPN with its buffet of insights, videos, images, stats, and miscellaneous sports tidbits. Students learning data science can get inside the game, getting graphic about the Super Bowl and making infographics.

Why tell a story of data with pictures? First, we process pictures all at once, unlike text. About 30% of our brain’s gray matter is responsible for visual activity. We are drawn to images. Jakob Nielsen, a web usability expert, found that the average person will read only about 20% to 28% of the words on a web page.  Make an image and you can make a point that sticks!

Let’s get to our Super images.

We need data. For that, we turned to ESPN and found the article Uni Watch: Let’s Get Super from February 1, 2017. The article contains various facts about uniforms and the Super Bowl. Most noteworthy, did you know that of the last 13 Super Bowls, the team in white has won 12? Did the Patriots secure their win with their choice of a white jersey?

This fact alone can led to an infographic like that below.

However, we can also dig deeper into the article and be inspired by the numbers on ESPN to find more. We did, and it led to the infographic at the end of this article.

This Super Bowl, you can take your chips and dip to a party. You can also take an infographic, showing your skills in displaying data and giving graphical insight on the game.


This article is by Victoria Bonagura (a student member of the Davidson College Cats Stats sports analytics group) and Dr. Tim Chartier. This is a new Cats Stats series on using ESPN in the Curriculum. Thanks to Winnie Newton for her insights on the infographic.

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