Football Exam

Seventh Graders in North Carolina were asked this question on a state exam:

If a football team’s first six plays of a drive are a 6-yard loss, a 3-yard gain and a 2-yard loss, a 7-yard gain, a 12-yard gain and a 4-yard gain, what is it’s average gain per play?

Anyone else see a problem with this question?

Jerry did too.

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  • My 3rd grader just finished taking her EOG exams, so I’m more than happy to see them mess something like this up. Actually, my first reaction to your question was to have doubts about the Tarheels moving the ball forward. 😉

  • rob

    Yeah, Tarheels and moving the ball forward is kind of oxymoronic.


  • I had to rain on your parade, but from a football statistics view, those numbers are correct.

    For example, a team can have a 6-yard loss, a 3-yard gain, and a 2-yard loss. On fourth down, they punt. In most football statistics, that fourth down punt does not show up as a “play”. Generally, a “play” is not counted if the ball is intentionally kicked (punt, field goal, quick kick, etc.)

    So, if John Madden were to show the stats of the “first six plays of the game”, He would show downs 1, 2, and 3 of the first drive, and downs 1, 2, and 3 of the second drive. He would also correctly state that the team has an average of 3 yards per down, even though that extra down was there.

  • jlo

    I think the wording is still incorrect. It states “the first three plays of ‘a’ drive”. Now that sounds to me like a singular drive and not a plural drive. Not pissible unless, you have two consecutive drives as you mentioned, Tom. But the question asked about “a” drive.

    I bet the person who wrote the question didn’t play a lot of football. I thought that was pretty funny, by the way.