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02-02-2009, 08:49 PM
EA Scores on Superbowl Prediction
Posted By Yukari Kane On February 2, 2009 @ 5:47 pm In Yukari Iwatani Kane | No Comments

By Yukari Iwatani Kane

Every year, video game maker Electronic Arts runs a simulation of the Super Bowl, using the latest installment of its popular Madden football video game to predict the winner. While the company has a pretty good track record getting the predictions right, this year the results came in scarily near-accurate.

In the actual game, the Pittsburgh Steelers won against the Arizona Cardinals with a final score of 27-23. EA’s simulation, meanwhile, projected an outcome of 28-24 in favor of the Steelers. Even EA’s prediction of the half-time score–21-7—was close to the actual 20-7.

On a player-by-player basis, EA’s predictions also came in close. For example, EA expected Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to throw the ball 28 times for 238 yards and complete 21 of those 28 passes. In the actual game, he completed 21 of 30 passes for 256 yards. EA’s simulation said Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes would make eight catches for 131 yards. In the real game, he made nine catches for 131 yards.

The one mistake EA’s simulation made was that it predicted Roethlisberger would win the MVP award instead of Holmes. But then again, plenty of people believe that Roethlisberger deserved the award too.

Lest people count on EA’s prediction next year to place a bet on the winner, just a word of caution: The simulation doesn’t always get it right, especially when it comes to upset wins. Last year, it thought like everyone else that the New England Patriots would win over the New York Giants. Instead, the Giants pulled off the victory.