The coin flip has an extensive history in sports

With all of the coin flips needed on Saturday to determine high school football playoff spots it got me thinking – ‘how did this coin toss thing begin in the first place?’

Here’s what my extensive research turned up…

— The birth of the metal coin flip can be traced back to 7th century BC. In the Roman times it was called ‘navia aut caput’ (ship or head).  Since Julius Caesar’s head was on one side of the coin, guess which side always won?

— June 1st is “Coin Flip Day” each year…Who knew?

— The New England Patriots have been in 8 Super Bowls and have a 4-4 record.  3 times the coin toss has been heads, 5 times it has been tails.

— The story goes that Wilbur Wright won a coin toss with his brother, Orville, in 1903 to take the first crack at flying that plane. It didn’t and after three days of repairs, Orville got the plane airborne. But most pictures show Wilbur with the plane!

— In the NFL, the visiting captain calls ‘heads or tails’ before the flip. The change to call it ahead of the flip came in 1998. Remember the famous Thanksgiving Day referee Phil Luckett faux pas?

— Remember the short-lived XFL? (Vince McMahon, et al) They didn’t use a coin flip, they used a faceoff type scramble where one player from each team tries to recover a loose ball. (Until the injuries started mounting up)

— In the sport of cricket the toss is important because the decision to bat or bowl first really affects the outcome of the game. (Don’t hold me to this one – I know nothing about cricket.)

— Just thinking…wouldn’t a coin flip be a better way to determine World Series home field advantage than the current all-star game winner?

— Someone once said, “Every side of a coin has another side.”

— Dr. Persi Diaconis, a professor of statistics and mathematics at Stanford, says the ‘heads or tails’ result is not 50-50. It’s more like 51-49 with the coin more likely to come up the same side it started. Who am I to argue with him?

— Anyone remember(or care) that the Boston Celtics actually lost a NBA coin flip before last year’s draft? The C’s got a first round pick as part of the deal letting Doc Rivers go coach the LA Clippers. It was going to be either the 27th or 28th pick because the Clips tied with Houston in the standings. The Celts/Clippers lost the toss and the C’s picked 28th. They selected guard R.J. Hunter from Georgia State. (And I think he’s going to be pretty good!)

— The best way to get a 100%  guarantee of winning a coin flip…remember to say the following…’heads I win, tails you lose!’