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Math Professors Break Down How Steelers Beat Slim Odds To Make Playoffs

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Steelers had slim chances of making the playoffs entering Sunday. Fast-forward to Monday and they're in.

Fans hoped for the best but expected the worst.

"Certainly it wasn't expected, I'll be honest with you," Darlene Sciulli from South Park said.

The Steelers needed to win, have the Jaguars win and the Chargers and Raiders not tie.

"It's an and-so. What we would do is multiply the probability of the Steelers winning, times the probability of the Jaguars winning -- so you have those, right? -- and then we need to go with something that Chargers-Raiders game doesn't end in a tie," University of Pittsburgh Professor Jeffrey Wheel said about determining the probability of the Steelers getting in the playoffs.

According to ESPN, the Steelers had a 43.5% chance of winning. The Jaguars had a 21.1% chance. The Raiders and Chargers had less than a 1% chance to tie.

Once you do the math, it gave the Steelers about a 9.1% chance to get in.

"At the end, the most likely thing to have happened watching the game was the tie. Once the game played out," Penn State Professor Andy Wiesner said.

The Raiders didn't kick the game-winning field goal until there were two seconds left on overtime. If they miss, the game ends in a tie.

"If there were 10,000 parallel universes in exactly the same situation, and that game got played 10,000 times, in only three of those universes we would have had the results we got," Professor Wheeler said about the probability of the Steelers winning, Jaguars winning and the Raiders and Chargers tying.

The math breaks down to about a .036% chance of that happening before the Sunday Night game.

"It was a little hairy after 11 o'clock on the late game, but it worked out great," Tammy Angeletti of Hermitage said.

Steelers fans are hoping for a playoff run.

"The Kansas City Chiefs are pretty tough. They were last year and they're hungry. Ben and his crew are going to have to step it up," Cindy Reynolds from Mercer said.

Currently, ESPN gives the Steelers a 24.1% chance to win.

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