Friday, February 5, 2010

Just in Time for the Super Bowl: Economic Lessons from the NFL

In today's issue of The Wall Street Journal, the page 1 story for the Personal Journal section is about what it takes to win the Super Bowl. If you're into football (and even if you're not), it's a fascinating piece and it offers several interesting opportunities for applying economic thinking.

Concepts that leapt to mind as I was reading included productivity (time spent per foot of offense), marginal thinking (value of additional hour of prep time), psychic income (return on effort because they love the game), marginal thinking (benefit of an additional hour studying film), and even a little labor economics (hints at the expiration of the current contract with the players' union).

While I haven't dissected it to the point of developing any lessons, it might make a good follow-on discussion on Monday when some of the class is discussing the game. We’re having our annual "family Super Bowl party" with the cuisine determined by which teams made the game. And some of us like The Who, so we'll make it half-time. Enjoy the weekend, and share your thoughts.

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