IronRank analyzes NFL team’s stats and previous games to rate teams and predict the outcomes of potential games. Sports Techie, what if IronRank could use data and analysis to improve your chances of winning your weekly thousand dollar football pool, would you use them? The Sports Techie community blog was able to talk with founder, Brenden Sherratt, about his big data sports technology startup located in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and find out more about what makes IronRank tick.
Historically, Iron Rank has predicted the outcome of a game correctly 64% of the time using the Elo System, and they are continuing to improve upon their proprietary model. Their success rate puts them right below Las Vegas odds makers and bookies success rates that are nearing 67%-70% accuracy. Winning a football pool or your fantasy football league just got easier thanks to IronRank sports tech.
Predicting head-to-head NFL games are what they do best, in fact, no one else in the world has a software Solution that truly compares. There are bloggers who have their own prediction models, however, they do not assign each team an IronRank (a numeric rating) using the standard Elo Rating System.
IronRanks are then used to predict the score for NFL football games by auto-generating the outcomes. The team with the higher IronRank is given a higher expected score and thus a higher probability of winning the game. While they do look at past season results, a major emphasis is placed on this season’s games. As the season gets closer to Super Bowl 48 in New York City at MetLife Stadium, their recommendations will become more accurate. Elo has been used for Tennis and Chess for many years, and appears to be a natural fit for Football, which is also a head-to-head contest.
- They rank each team based on their division, and offensive and defensive capabilities
- Make it easy to compare any two teams head-to-head: Ravens vs 49ers
- Break down how each team will perform offensively and defensively
- Track a team’s performance over time
- Its all free
Brenden and a team of four have collected tons of data on each game like offense and defense performance over the past three seasons, and break down how each team stacks up for everything from passing and rushing yards, to interceptions and sacks. Then they use their decision engine and a variation of the Elo Rating System to predict the outcome of a game. IronRank compiles all the data up in an easy to understand infographic-style visualization, helping you understand how each team stacks up.
In addition to an overall team rating, they use an Elo-like approach to evaluate a team’s offensive and defense team, passing yards, touchdowns, red zone performance just to name a few. For each of these categories they maintain an offense and defense rating that changes over time similarly to IronRank.
Elo Rating System
The Elo system was invented as an improved chess rating system, and today it is also used in many other games. This method calculates the relative skill levels of players in competitor-versus-competitor games. The rating system is named after its inventor, Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor, and an original Sports Techie.
It is also used as a rating system for multiplayer competition in a number of video games, and has been adapted to team sports including association football, American college football, basketball, Major League Baseball, and the exploding eSports Industry.
Individuals maintain rankings based on the Elo algorithm. These are usually unofficial, not endorsed by the sport’s governing body. The World Football Elo Ratings rank national teams in men’s football. In 2006, Elo ratings were adapted for MLB teams by Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus. Based on this adaptation, Baseball Prospectus also makes Elo-based Monte Carlo simulations of the odds of which teams will make the playoffs. One of the few Elo-based rankings endorsed by a sport’s governing body is the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, based on a simplified version of the Elo algorithm, which FIFA uses as its official ranking system for national teams in women’s soccer.
American College Football uses the Elo method as a portion of its BCS rating systems. Jeff Sagarin of USA Today calculates and publishes team rankings for most American sports, including Elo system ratings for College Football. The NCAA uses his Elo ratings as part of a formula to determine the annual participants in the College Football National Championship Game.
They are a small business with 23 employees. The tech companies ‘Decision Engine’ was originally used successfully in other vertical markets such as the MMA. Another use was to help Canadian consumers decide on what smartphone to use. Now it has been morphed to predict NFL games, including the Super Bowl, AFC vs. NFC games, and all H2H matchups.
Revenue will come in the form of advertising. This solution is completely free and Brendon says, “It pays for itself.” They have no subscription model in the works; it will continue to be a free service.
A sponsor would be a good fit I believe. I asked if they have plans to solicit a Fortune 500 company like Chevrolet or a technology company flush with cash, which Sherratt responded by saying that, “They need to make a name for themselves first. Advertising is the end goal.”
I wanted to know how he came up with the name IronRank. Because domain names are becoming more and scarcer, this was a challenge. They had $1,000 budgeted for a domain name purchase and were asked for over $10,000 by some squatters. In the end, they settled on IronRank because it is close enough to GridIron and Rank to work and the price was right.
Knowing nothing about Waterloo, Sherratt explained to me how it has become the Silicon Valley of the Province and perhaps all of Canada. Of course I had to ask whether NHL hockey was a sport they would pursue next and of course the answer was yes, however, “IronRank wants to focus on NFL football right now,” said Brenden.
Sports Techie, The key to IronRank is they will only get better over time. Once the regular season starts, Iron Rank will begin to improve its prediction rating in anticipation that they will exceed the 64% accuracy it is currently operating at.
Be sure to visit the new IronRank.com web site that and compare any two NFL teams and predict the outcome of the game. I was asked who my favorite NFL team is. The answer is obviously the Seattle Seahawks. I have Hawks blue blood flowing through my veins like many of the 12thMan fans do to. Based on the data, IronRank has predicted a 13-3 season and first Super Bowl win the for Seahawks.
IronRank will unveil a “Road to the Super Bowl” promotion closer to the playoffs so watch for that.
I wish them the best with their pioneering sportsbiz and sports technology. I predict they will be a big data success and have accurately predicted that the Seattle Seahawks will win Super Bowl XLVIII. You can take that prediction to the bank.
I will see ya when I see ya, THE Sports Techie @THESportsTechie – http://twitter.com/THESportsTechie
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