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# Pro Football Reference Blog

## 38 Questions Contest Update

Posted by Doug on December 16, 2008

Before the season started, we opened up the "38 questions" p-f-r contest. The purpose of this post is to update that with standings, and to make fun of the 21 people who said that the Lions would win more games than the Ravens this year.

At this point, I think 19 of the 38 questions are resolved. Some are not mathematically clinched yet, but can be treated as such. On those questions, the entries range from six correct answers to 14. For each of the other 19 questions, I spent approximately 6 seconds estimating the probability of each side, and the probability of a tie. From there I can compute the expected number of questions for each contestant. The leader is an entry named 'JT':

```                                     ----------------- question number ------------------------
ExScr  WinPrb    3  5 11 16 19 21 24 26 27 28 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
------------------------------------+----------------------------------------------------------
JT                13  24.17   13.2  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1
```

This means that JT has 13 of the 19 already-resolved questions correct, that his expected score on all 38 questions is 24.17, and that his estimated probability of winning the contest is 13.2% (I'll explain how I got that at the very end of the post). Following that information is a list of JT's answers on the open questions. Below the standings you'll find a full list of questions, along with the probability estimates I used. For example, here is Question #11:

```11-1  - 49 - 0.40 - Number of wins by AFC West teams
11-2* - 10 - 0.60 - Number of wins by NFC West teams
```

As you can see above, JT answered '1' on question 11, which means he, like most people, was on the side of the AFC West. Remember, if it's a tie, it goes to the minority side, which in this case would be the NFC West. That's what the asterisk means, but the probabilities I used (.4 and .6) already factor that in. The 49 and 10 are the number of entries that chose each side.

Here are the full standings:

```                                     ----------------- question number ------------------------
ExScr  WinPrb    3  5 11 16 19 21 24 26 27 28 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
------------------------------------+----------------------------------------------------------
JT                13  24.17   13.2  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1
Pacifist Viking   13  23.83   14.7  |  1  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2
Elton             13  23.77    8.2  |  1  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  2  1  2  2  1  2
Braden            12  23.33   11.8  |  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  1
Omroth            13  22.87   12.5  |  2  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  2
Rick              12  22.83   10.3  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  2  2
Jason             12  22.73    2.1  |  2  2  1  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  2  1  2  2  1  2
Eric              14  22.67    2.2  |  2  2  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  1
MattieShoes       13  22.53    5.3  |  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  2  1  1  1
ChrisFromNJ       11  22.17    2.4  |  2  2  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  2
Justin            13  21.97    2.3  |  2  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  1  1  2  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2
Sam Hozman        11  21.93    2.2  |  2  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  2  2  1
JWL               10  21.87    2.6  |  1  2  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  1
Nick              10  21.77    1.2  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  1
the K             10  21.53    0.0  |  2  2  1  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  2  2
JWM               11  21.37    2.9  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  1  2
Richie            11  21.27    0.3  |  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  1
ES                11  21.23    0.4  |  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  2
Dan               12  21.17    1.8  |  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1
Eric J            11  20.97    0.1  |  2  2  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  1  2  1  2  2
Downpuppy         13  20.77    0.6  |  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  1  2  1  2  2  1  2  1  1  2
Kevin from Kansa  10  20.67    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2
sepporepi          9  20.47    0.2  |  2  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  2
Russ              11  20.33    0.2  |  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  1  1  2  1  2
Joseph            12  20.27    0.3  |  2  1  2  1  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  1  1
Jamie Stuart      11  20.07    0.1  |  2  2  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  1  1
Chase Stuart      12  20.03    1.7  |  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  1
Ben                8  19.73    0.1  |  1  1  1  2  1  1  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  2  1
Don                9  19.57    0.1  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  1  1
PWS               11  19.47    0.1  |  2  1  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  2  2  1  2
Josh              11  19.33    0.1  |  1  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  2
shake n bake       9  19.33    0.0  |  2  2  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  1  2  2
Andrew            10  19.17    0.1  |  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  1
Fonner             9  19.17    0.0  |  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1
Nick B            10  19.07    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  2
Staubach12         9  19.03    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2
Doug W             9  18.83    0.0  |  2  1  2  1  1  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  1
Mr Shush          11  18.83    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  1  1  1
MAB               11  18.73    0.1  |  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  2  1
Goo                9  18.43    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  1  1  2  1
ScreamingYelloCs   8  18.37    0.0  |  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  2  2  2  2
Eddo              10  18.37    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  2  2  2  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  1
Roger              9  18.23    0.0  |  1  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  1
mesq              11  18.13    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  1  1
Danish Denver-fa  10  18.13    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  1
Felden             8  17.83    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  1  1
Scott             10  17.83    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  1  2  1  1  1  1
Vince              8  17.77    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  1
D                  9  17.77    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2
Jason W            9  17.63    0.0  |  1  1  1  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  1  1
Spencer            8  17.57    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1
Vik                8  17.03    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  2  2  1  2  2  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  1
cromartie          8  16.63    0.0  |  2  1  2  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1
coods              8  16.57    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  1  2  2  2  1  1  2  1  1  1
ABW                7  16.23    0.0  |  2  1  1  2  1  2  1  1  1  1  2  2  1  2  1  2  1  2  1
Yaguar             5  16.17    0.0  |  2  2  1  1  1  1  2  2  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  1
BigCheese          8  15.93    0.0  |  1  1  1  1  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  1  1  2  1  2  2  1  1
MET                6  15.57    0.0  |  2  1  1  1  2  1  2  2  2  1  2  2  2  2  1  1  2  1  1
```

QUESTIONS:

1-1* - 26 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the Texans
1-2 - 32 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the Panthers

2-1* - 16 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the Jaguars
2-2 - 43 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the Cowboys

3-1* - 12 - 0.50 - Number of wins by the Browns
3-2 - 47 - 0.50 - Number of wins by the Packers

4-1* - 21 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the Lions
4-2 - 38 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the Ravens

5-1* - 29 - 0.60 - Number of wins by the Cardinals
5-2 - 30 - 0.40 - Number of wins by the Redskins

6-1 - 38 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the Saints
6-2* - 21 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the Giants

7-1 - 42 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the Chargers
7-2* - 17 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the Raiders and Falcons combined

8-1* - 14 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the Rams and 49ers combined
8-2 - 45 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the team with the most wins

9-1 - 30 - 1.00 - Number of wins by the Bears
9-2* - 29 - 0.00 - Number of wins by the last place team in the AFC South

10-1* - 18 - 0.00 - Number of home wins by the Bills
10-2 - 41 - 1.00 - Number of road wins by the Colts

11-1 - 49 - 0.40 - Number of wins by AFC West teams
11-2* - 10 - 0.60 - Number of wins by NFC West teams

12-1* - 28 - 1.00 - Number of games started by QBs drafted in the 2008 draft
12-2 - 31 - 0.00 - Total number of TD passes thrown by the Jets.

13-1* - 16 - 0.00 - Number of receiving TDs by Randy Moss
13-2 - 43 - 1.00 - Number of combined receiving TDs by Sidney Rice, Vincent Jackson, Isaac Bruce, and Anthony Gonzalez

14-1* - 8 - 0.00 - Number of distinct players to have a 100-(or more)-yard rushing game
14-2 - 51 - 1.00 - Yardage of the longest passing TD thrown by a Falcon.

15-1 - 52 - 0.00 - Number of rushing yards by LaDainian Tomlinson
15-2* - 7 - 1.00 - Number of combined passing yards by all 49er players EXCEPT FOR the week one starting QB.

16-1 - 39 - 0.05 - Number of combined kick and punt return TDs by Devin Hester
16-2* - 20 - 0.95 - Number of combined kick and punt return TDs by Josh Cribbs

17-1 - 30 - 1.00 - Number of receiving TDs by Reggie Bush
17-2* - 29 - 0.00 - Number of rushing TDs by Vince Young

18-1 - 34 - 1.00 - Number of interceptions thrown by Kurt Warner
18-2* - 25 - 0.00 - Number of interceptions thrown by Chad Pennington

19-1 - 33 - 0.80 - Margin of the Chiefs biggest win.
19-2* - 26 - 0.20 - Number of Rushing TDs scored by (the Vikings') Adrian Peterson

20-1* - 10 - 1.00 - Maximum number of points scored in a game by the Ravens
20-2 - 49 - 0.00 - Number of Passing TDs thrown by the league's leader in passing TDs

21-1 - 48 - 0.70 - Number of rushing yards by Brian Westbrook and Steven Jackson combined
21-2* - 11 - 0.30 - Number of rushing yards by Jerious Norwood, Fred Taylor, and Maurice Morris combined

22-1* - 21 - 0.00 - Number of receptions by the player with the MOST receptions from this group: Jason Witten, Kellen Winslow, Antonio Gates
22-2 - 38 - 1.00 - Highest single-game receiving yardage by a player from this group: Owen Daniels, Tony Scheffler, Zach Miller

23-1 - 33 - 1.00 - Maximum number of passing TDs by a player from this group: Jeff Garcia, Tarvaris Jackson, Chad Pennington, Trent Edwards
23-2* - 26 - 0.00 - Minimum number of passing TDs by a player from this group: Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger

24-1* - 29 - 0.33 - Number of players in the NFL's top 10 in rushing yards who were born in the 1970s
24-2 - 30 - 0.67 - Number of players who throw 32 or more TD passes

25-1* - 26 - 0.00 - Number of games started by Brodie Croyle
25-2 - 33 - 1.00 - Number of games started by Kyle Orton

26-1* - 16 - 0.80 - Number of Kris Brown missed field goals
26-2 - 43 - 0.20 - Number of Edgerrin James rushing TDs

27-1* - 23 - 0.40 - Number of Larry Johnson rushing yards
27-2 - 36 - 0.60 - Number of Braylon Edwards receiving yards

28-1 - 33 - 0.10 - Number of total TDs scored by Marion Barber III
28-2* - 26 - 0.90 - Number of Mario Williams sacks

29-1 - 32 - 0.00 - Number of divisions whose 2008 champ is the same as the 2007 champ
29-2* - 27 - 1.00 - Number of divisions whose 2008 champ is NOT the same as the 2007 champ

30-1* - 11 - 0.20 - Number of postseason games decided by 7 or more points
30-2 - 48 - 0.80 - Number of rushing TDs by the player with the MOST rushing TDs from this group: Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Kevin Smith, Ray Rice, Darren McFadden

31-1* - 17 - 0.30 - Number of playoff (non-Super Bowl) games won by the visiting team
31-2 - 42 - 0.70 - Maximum number of TDs thrown by Drew Brees in a single game

32-1* - 21 - 0.05 - AFC Championships by Patriots and Jaguars
32-2 - 38 - 0.95 - AFC Championships by all other teams combined

33-1* - 24 - 0.40 - NFC Championships by the NFC East
33-2 - 35 - 0.60 - NFC Championships by teams not in the East

34-1 - 40 - 0.40 - Number of points scored in the AFC Championship game
34-2* - 19 - 0.60 - Number of points scored in the NFC Championship game

35-1* - 18 - 0.80 - Number of playoff games won by NFC South teams
35-2 - 41 - 0.20 - Number of playoff games won by the Patriots

36-1* - 24 - 0.20 - Super Bowl Championships won by the Pats, Colts, and Chargers
36-2 - 35 - 0.80 - Super Bowl Championships won by all other teams

37-1* - 24 - 0.20 - Number of receptions by the player with the MOST receptions from this group: Ryan Grant, Darren McFadden, Ronnie Brown
37-2 - 35 - 0.80 - Total points scored in the Super Bowl

38-1 - 37 - 0.30 - Number of interceptions thrown in the Super Bowl
38-2* - 22 - 0.70 - Number of double-digit losses suffered by the Cowboys during the regular season.

How the estimated win probabilities were derived: using the probabilities above, I simulated the results 10,000 times and counted up how many times each contestant won. (Remember that a tie goes to the entry that was submitted first). Note that, for the purposes of the simulation, I assumed that the questions are independent of each other, which they most certainly are not. Adjust your confidence in it accordingly.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 3:51 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.