Wolfram|Alpha Scores Again With Rich NFL Data

I am a long time admirer of Wolfram|Alpha and I’m happy to report that my admiration continues to grow, as you can now access NFL (National Football League) statistics using Wolfram|Alpha.

So, queries like:

all return results that often include visual elements like a graph.

Statistical data for every NFL team and every NFL player back to 1985 are available and the number of statistics and the combinations you can create are endless.

What’s available? This page lists all of the categories of stats available. A guide like this is something new for Wolfram|Alpha and I’m very happy to see it. Hopefully, more of these guides are in the works.

Where Is The Data Coming From?

It’s one thing to provide access to statistics, but it’s quite another to make sure they come from a reliable source.

Wolfram has partnered with STATS based in Chicago’s northern suburbs. STATS is the leading provider of sports data. It’s you follow a sport or sports, play in fantasy leagues, or just look at the latest scores, you’ve seen and used their services.

STATS has been around since 1981 and I’ve been watching them grow ever since. The STATS first office was only a few blocks from where I grew up. Currently, the company is owned jointly by the Associated Press and News Corp.

The one caveat (at least for now) is that NFL statistics are NOT real-time or near real-time. In other words, if you’re watching the games on Sunday, the stats accessible via Wolfram|Alpha will not be updated after every completed pass, made field goal, etc. Currently, NFL data is updated weekly.

Hopefully, this will change by next season and real-time data will be available. Also, I would love to see all-time statistics included in the database. For example, all-time NFL rushing leaders, all-time Chargers passing leaders, all-time Bears vs. Lions record, etc.

Wolfram will also be working with STATS to provide the same type of info for other sports including baseball and basketball.

Wolfram|Alpha’s Largest Hurdle

I said even before Wolfram|Alpha launched that the company’s biggest challenge is not the technology or data sources. They’re experts in this area and continue to do a great job.

The biggest obstacle Wolfram faces is marketing. Marketing Wolfram|Alpha in a time when most people live in a Google or Bing-centric world, is a serious challenge. Of course, this is challenge is one for many companies.

Luckily, after many years, I’m slowly starting to see more people open to trying something different and adding more tools to their search toolkit.

Of course, what search tool you use and when you use it all depends on what you’re looking for and your information need. More and more often, Wolfram delivers not only the data you need but also visualizations and related material.

Comparing Wolfram|Alpha to other search tools can be unfair. It’s not a general purpose search tool but rather a “fact engine” or interactive reference resource that you can query using natural language using data from curated and trusted sources.

I speak from experience that once people understand what Wolfram can and cannot do then see practical examples of what Wolfram has to offer, they’re often hooked.

By adding NFL statistics (and soon more sports statistics) Wolfram|Alpha has powerful ammo to reach out to new users with and not only provide them authoritative American football statistics but also show them all that their product has to offer.


Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Wolfram Alpha


About The Author: is a librarian, author, and an online information analyst based in suburban Washington, DC. He is the co-founder and co-editor of INFOdocket and FullTextReports.com and prior to that was founder/editor of ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. He has worked for Blekko, Ask.com, and at Search Engine Watch where he was news editor. In 2001, Price was the co-author (with Chris Sherman) of the best-selling book The Invisible Web.

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  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    i’ll be impressed when they have all of the NFL data from the past years, not just 201

  • http://www.gamerstube.com Joe Youngblood

    bah, i meant not just to 85

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