NC State student’s creation can predict football plays


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – An engineering student at N.C. State University created a program that can predict what type of plays will be run during a football game.

Will Burton admits he created the play predictor to get to the “Joint Statistics Conference” over the summer.

Not because of his love for football.

“This year it was in Seattle so we’re like wow, we’ve got to do some sort of project where you get to go to Seattle,” Burton said.

Burton, who minors in statistics, began working on a way to predict plays on the football field.

“I’d work from about 6 to 5 every day,” he said.

He helped create the code using NFL plays from the past five years.

The program can predict whether a team will run or pass with a surprisingly level of accuracy.

“We tested it on the Super Bowl and it was 80 percent accurate,” Burton said. “First, we have two different models, they have just different methods of prediction but they have the same parameters. So for this one there are actually six different models and so some of these variables are used.”

The predictor even got one of the most famous play calls in Super Bowl history correct.

Burton’s creation said the Seattle Seahawks would ignore Marshawn Lynch and let Russell Wilson pass at the end of the game.

Burton said despite the buzz he’s getting about the program, he’s not sure if he will launch it for the public.

“It’s just a fun tool. I think we’re moving on to different projects,” Burton said.

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