John P. Marchant
Retired mathematics teacher and statistician for the
Green Pay Packers
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am a retired mathematics teacher and statistician for
the Green Bay Packers, a National Football League team.
I taught mathematics at De Pere High School in De Pere,
Wisconsin for 37 years. I served as a part-time lecturer
in the mathematics education department at St. Norberts
College, in De Pere, Wisconsin, for 22 years. In addition,
I have been one of the statisticians for the Green Bay
Packers football team for 33 years.
primary responsibilities of the statistician for an
NFL football team is dictated by the Guide For Statisticians
provided by the NFL. The statistics recorded are the
yards gained or lost and the individualís cumulative
yards immediately after each play, as well as each teamís
cumulative yards as the game progresses. The statistics
we record cover both the home and visiting teams.
I began my tenure with the Green Bay Packers, there
were only two people involved in collecting and providing
the required statistics. As the demand for more record
keeping increased, I was hired, bringing the number
of team statisticians to three. Currently, seven people
make up what is know as the stats team: two computer
operators, two spotters, one and with paper and pencil,
kept the statistics manually, and recorded the information
using manual typewriters. Today, the job is much easier.
We still have to determine the yards gained or lost,
but we then enter the yardage for each play into a computer
that updates individual and team statistics immediately
and simultaneously provides the information to the press
and scoreboard. If a play is too complex to record while
the play on the field continues, the operator transfers
it to a second computer to finish while the first computer
keeps current with the on-field plays. At the end of
each quarter, we fax the statistics to the Elias Sports
Bureau in New York. Elias Sports compiles all of the
statistics for the NFL and sends copies to all of the
teams after the Monday night game.
is an example of a play and the statistics kept by the
of play: Team A has possession, 2nd and 10 at midfield.
Play: Jones rushes for 10 yards and fumbles. Smith of
Team B recovers, advances one yard, and fumbles. Black
of team A subsequently gains possession of the ball
at the exact spot where Jones originally fumbled.
statistical record: Jones gets credited with a rush
of 10 yards and a fumble. Smith gets credited with an
opponentís fumble recovery and a fumble. Black gets
credited with an opponentís fumble recovery. No fumble
yards are credited and no first down is recorded because
of the losses of possession.
P. Marchant is 70 years old, married, and the father
of 8 children. He lives in De Pere, Wisconsin and continues
to work for the Green Bay Packers at this time.