Twenty-four percent of all NFL games are decided by three-points or less. If that happens this weekend at the 51st Super Bowl, all the glory (or the blame) will fall on Matt Bryant (placekicker, Atlanta Falcons) or Stephen Gostkowski (placekicker, New England Patriots). It seems reasonable to give them the credit, but in this case reason has it wrong. Giving Bryan or Gostkowski the MVP for making a crucial kick is like giving a gambler credit for the roulette wheel landing on red.In American football the team is generally a single unit, but the kicker is a unique position. Quarterbacks are the de facto leaders of the team, but a quarterback is only as good as his offensive line, receivers, and running backs. Unlike baseball or even basketball, measuring the performance of an individual player in football is notoriously difficult. Unless that player is the kicker. In that case, it’s easy. Continue reading →
It makes perfect sense that this job is both new and popular, since every move you make online is actively creating data somewhere for something. Someone has to make sense of that data and discover trends in the data to see if the data is useful. That is the job of the data scientist. But how does the data scientist go about the job? Here are the three skills and three tools that every data scientist should master.