Super Bowl prop bets 2014: Coin toss historical results for the true degenerate gambler

Mike Ehrmann

The Super Bowl prop bet that provides everybody with a 50/50 chance of winning is the coin toss. Time to look at the history of coin tosses!

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Every year, the Super Bowl provides a chance for even the most amateur of gamblers to get in on the action. Even if you know nothing about the NFL, you can wager on events such as the National Anthem, or the color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach, or even the result of the coin toss.

You read that right, you can bet on what is essentially a 50/50 proposition. I say "essentially" because it turns out a coin toss might not be entirely 50/50. Professors from Stanford's Mathematics and Statistics departments put together a study that showed a coin toss is actually more like a 51/49 proposition based on whatever side is up before the flip. It is worth noting that the study is not entirely applicable to the Super Bowl coin toss, because the coin toss assumes no bouncing. In the Super Bowl, the referee lets the coin hit the ground. Yes, there is such a thing as too much information for determining whether to bet heads or tails.

A look through the history of Super Bowl coin tosses shows an almost dead even split of results. Prior to last year's Super Bowl, 46 coin tosses had resulted in 23 heads and 23 tails. Here is a rundown of all 47 coin tosses:

Year Super Bowl Coin Toss Result
1967 Super Bowl 1 Heads
1968 Super Bowl 2 Tails
1969 Super Bowl 3 Heads
1970 Super Bowl 4 Tails
1971 Super Bowl 5 Tails
1972 Super Bowl 6 Heads
1973 Super Bowl 7 Heads
1974 Super Bowl 8 Heads
1975 Super Bowl 9 Tails
1976 Super Bowl 10 Heads
1977 Super Bowl 11 Tails
1978 Super Bowl 12 Heads
1979 Super Bowl 13 Heads
1980 Super Bowl 14 Heads
1981 Super Bowl 15 Tails
1982 Super Bowl 16 Tails
1983 Super Bowl 17 Tails
1984 Super Bowl 18 Heads
1985 Super Bowl 19 Tails
1986 Super Bowl 20 Tails
1987 Super Bowl 21 Tails
1988 Super Bowl 22 Heads
1989 Super Bowl 23 Tails
1990 Super Bowl 24 Heads
1991 Super Bowl 25 Heads
1992 Super Bowl 26 Heads
1993 Super Bowl 27 Heads
1994 Super Bowl 28 Tails
1995 Super Bowl 29 Heads
1996 Super Bowl 30 Tails
1997 Super Bowl 31 Heads
1998 Super Bowl 32 Tails
1999 Super Bowl 33 Tails
2000 Super Bowl 34 Tails
2001 Super Bowl 35 Tails
2002 Super Bowl 36 Heads
2003 Super Bowl 37 Tails
2004 Super Bowl 38 Tails
2005 Super Bowl 39 Tails
2006 Super Bowl 40 Tails
2007 Super Bowl 41 Heads
2008 Super Bowl 42 Tails
2009 Super Bowl 43 Heads
2010 Super Bowl 44 Heads
2011 Super Bowl 45 Heads
2012 Super Bowl 46 Heads
2013 Super Bowl 47 Heads

Last year marked the fifth straight season, and sixth time in seven years, that the coin toss came up heads. If that has you thinking, "tails is due," you might want to re-assess your understanding of probability. Every coin toss is an independent event. History has shown it to be a truly 50/50 proposition, so saying one side is due in a single year is not correct.

Of course, if you're really trying to figure out the best way to play this particular proposition bet, you might just have a problem.

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