Brodie barks on the coin toss

The Super Bowl…one of the super star icons of the United States of America…a defining day where hard-fought football…played for over 4 months…teams from sea to shining sea faced off and moved up the football madness to this day…Super Bowl 51..

As a golden retriever…I can tell you that this day is a record breaker for food…human food that normally NEVER touches my dog lips…I’m talking pieces of chicken wings…a bit of a hot dog…oh don’t get me started…and then there are the many delicacies prepared with loving football lover hands…I can’t wait for the coin toss.

Speaking of the coin toss…did you know that the physics of the toss has been studied…you know the probability…of course you did..but let me put this in front of you today….you gotta look at this if you care about your team...seems though…the NFL has it down regarding fairness.  Bring on the wings and things!!….and look for a possible golden retriever to show up in one of the million dollar plus commercials.  I’m just saying 🙂

Here are the broad strokes of the physics of going flipping:

  1. If the coin is tossed and caught, it has about a 51% chance of landing on the same face it was launched. (If it starts out as heads, there’s a 51% chance it will end as heads).
  2. If the coin is spun, rather than tossed, it can have a much-larger-than-50% chance of ending with the heavier side down. Spun coins can exhibit “huge bias” (some spun coins will fall tails-up 80% of the time).
  3. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor, this probably adds randomness.
  4. If the coin is tossed and allowed to clatter to the floor where it spins, as will sometimes happen, the above spinning bias probably comes into play.
  5. A coin will land on its edge around 1 in 6000 throws, creating a flipistic singularity.
  6. The same initial coin-flipping conditions produce the same coin flip result. That is, there’s a certain amount of determinism to the coin flip.
  7. A more robust coin toss (more revolutions) decreases the bias.

11 thoughts on “Brodie barks on the coin toss

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