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Mathline

John P. Marchant
Retired mathematics teacher and statistician for the Green Pay Packers


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I 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.

The 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.

Before 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.

Here is an example of a play and the statistics kept by the statistician.

Start of play: Team A has possession, 2nd and 10 at midfield.

The 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.

The 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.

John 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.