As an MBA grad and co-author of "The Truth about Gambling," I enjoy examining the odds of pretty much everything...sports, gambling, investing, decision making, and life. Now that the Super Bowl matches two teams coached by African Americans, I started thinking about the odds of this event taking place.
Is this a statistical anomaly or predictable occurrence? Given 6 African American NFL head coaches out of 32 teams (at the start of the 2006 season), the odds of two African American coaches meeting in the Super Bowl were actually better than your favorite team making it. The event of two African American NFL head football coaches meeting again in the Super Bowl is likely to occur for the second time in the next 25 years. So how many years is it probable that two African American college coaches will meet in the national championship game for the first time? Based on today's numbers, this event should occur by 2475 A.D., hopefully a little sooner.
The Probability of Two African American Coaches Meeting in Super Bowl
Number of NFL African American head coaches at start of the 2006 season: 7
Dennis Green (fired)
Art Shell (fired)
At present, there are five African American AFC coaches (now that the Steelers hired Mike Timlin) versus only one in the NFC. Wonder if this has anything to do with fact that AFC is comprised mostly of old AFL teams, which was the "upstart" league? Also would be interesting to look at length of ownership and diversity of city to see if there's any correlation.
Chance of one African American head coach in Super Bowl: 21.88%
Chance of two African American head coaches in Super Bowl: 3.9% (Note 1)
Number of years it would take (assuming everything is held constant, including number of teams and number of African American head coaches) to have two black head coaches again: 25.6 years (Note 2)
Given that there are fewer African American coaches at the collegiate level, I thought it would be interesting to make the same calculations.
Number of African American D1-A head coaches: 6
Number of D1-A teams: 119
Chance of one black head coach in D1-A "championship game": 5.04%
Chance of two black head coaches in "championship game": .2136% (Note 3)
Number of years it would take (assuming everything is held constant, including number of D1-A teams and number of African American head coaches) to have two African American head coaches meet in the championship game: 468.2 years! I was taught to use exclamation points sparingly, but in this case it's appropriate!! (Note 4)
As the number of African American college football coaches increases so does the likelihood that two will meet in the championship game in the 21st century.
Note 1: Since only one team represents each conference, the calculation is (2/16) * (5/16) or 3.9%.
Note 2: 100/3.9 = 25.6
Note 3: (6/119) * (5/118) = .002136
Note 4: 100/.2136 = 468.2