Student Achievement

The NFL Wants to Use Fantasy Football to Help Teach Students Math

By Bryan Toporek — August 29, 2014 1 min read
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In an interview with Steven Perlberg of The Wall Street Journal, National Football League chief marketing officer Mark Waller shared how the league hopes to reach young football fans.

One strategy Waller shared? Using fantasy football to bolster their math skills.

It’s a complex game, fantasy. You should be able to learn a lot, particularly around math. How many points do I need? How many points does this player get? We’re also trying to work with groups to get the concept of fantasy based into the curriculum of elementary schools. If you love football and you teach them math through football, the chances are you may teach them better math and more quickly.

For those who haven’t taken the fantasy plunge, here’s the basic rundown: You draft an assortment of players—quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, at the very least—then accumulate points based on their exploits on the field each week. Scoring systems vary by league—some prefer bonuses for long touchdowns, others award extra points for every reception—but ultimately, the goal is to accumulate more points than your opponent on a week-to-week basis.

Here’s a screenshot of a fantasy scoreboard from last year, for the visually inclined:

With the fantasy sports industry expected to grow into a $2 billion behemoth in the next five years, according to research firm IBISWorld (via ESPN’s Darren Rovell), the NFL’s strategy of using fantasy football as a teaching tool may have some merit.

Back in 2011, Patrick Honner and Holly Epstein Ojalvo shared a common-core-aligned lesson plan tying fantasy football to the classroom


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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.