(Submitted by  blog reader John Hordyk)

What are the chances the two teams (from states) that legalized pot, both made it to the Super Bowl?

I came up with on in 509,600 to 1.

Fifty states could have legalized pot, if you assume two would, you have a 2450 to 1 chance it would be those two.

Twenty-two states that have football teams, so a chance that it would be those two, this will take a little longer to figure out.

Two hundred eight to one chances it would be these teams, so.

509,600 to one chance the two teams that legalized pot would be in the Super Bowl?

Is that right?


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.

I think this is an interesting question, but I got a different answer from the author.

According to my calculations, there are 1225 ways to pick 2 from 50, so the chance of any two specific states legalizing pot (assuming that two would, which is a big assumption, but one we have to make) is 1 in 1225.If the Super Bowl teams were chosen at random (rather than performance), there are 231 ways to pick 2 from 22.We can then calculate the odds that both events will happen by multiplying them: .00082 x .00432 = .0000035.Pretty small! BUT… football teams making the Super Bowl and the passing of legislation like the legalization of pot are not random events. There are probably all kinds of factors which make these two things correlated, even if that correlation is extremely small. Even the smallest correlation can have a dramatic effect on the likelihood of the event.