A Note About Luck In Sports

     Because of how often I mention luck and probability in this blog, and because of people's aversion to calling sports figures "lucky", I thought it was necessary to make a special page about it.  Luck can take many forms within a game.  It can be a bounce of the football that stops a punt at the 1 instead of carrying it into the end zone.  It can be a tiny change in arm movement that makes a three-pointer hit the rim instead of going in or turns a 10-yard out into a pick-six.  It can be making a mistake on defense that accidentally puts you where the offensive play is supposed to go.  It can even be Andrew Luck.
     Most of it, however, is just the general feeling of each of the players.  Everybody has good days and bad days that can't be explained, and athletes are no exception.  If one team has 5 more guys that are "in the zone" than the other team does, the first team will probably win even if they're somewhat less talented.  Take the Browns' demolition of the Patriots' in 2010.  The Patriots were much more talented and didn't really get beaten schematically; they just weren't feeling it that day.  That kind of thing happens sometimes, and it's okay if we can't find an explanation for it.