(Submitted by  blog reader, loyal Seahawks Season Ticket holder Bill Young)

Like everyone else here in Seattle, I watched the Superbowl and noticed more than a few coincidences.

  • Of course Seattle is home of the 12th man.
  • Superbowl XXLVIII (48)
  • 4 + 8 = 48
  • Seattle scored at 12 seconds into the game.
  • Seattle’s first touchdown was at 12:00 in the second quarter.
  • Seattle scored at 12 seconds into the second half.
  • Russell Wilson passed for 206 yards (206 is Seattle’s area code)
  • Seahawks final score 43 points
  • 4×3 = 12

What are the odds?


Below are the extended notes provided by cognitive psychologist and statistician Barbara Drescher for use in Skepticality Episode 230. Take a look and leave your comments below. Also, please be sure to listen to the podcast  for our own sarcastic and hilarious commentary. Also, visit Barbara’s blog.

“The 12th man” refers to the fans. Teams are only allowed 11 players on the field at a time, but fans can affect the outcome of the game by cheering (it’s a subtle effect), so they call the fans “the 12th man”. I’m not sure how Seattle got to be known as “The Home of the 12th Man”.

The odds of all of those things happening are difficult to calculate, but not really worth examining. It’s a good example of post hoc data-mining and cherry-picking. He looked for things that relate to the number 12 and ignored all of the things that don’t. For example, what are the numbers of the players who scored? What was the score at the half? How many coaches were on the field? How many turnovers were there? Lots of numbers involved in the game don’t fit the idea that “12” is a special number that matches the Seahawk’s marketing campaign about the 12th man.