I recently analyzed the NFL’s “Play-by-Play” dataset to test some of my own preconceived notions around football. I’ve been watching football for many years, and like many folks, I have longstanding preconceived notions about plays, team stats, weather and stadium conditions, and the like.
One of my longstanding football preconceptions centered on high altitude games, like those played at Denver’s Mile High Stadium, which sits at an elevation of 5,130 feet (the average elevation of NFL stadiums is 526 feet). Higher elevations mean less oxygen, which can affect player performance. During this year’s Broncos vs. Ravens season opener, players were shown ingesting pure oxygen to help prevent altitude issues. This got me to thinking: does altitude really affect gameplay, and could I use data to prove it?"