Tartan Data Science Cup

Episode IV: Return of the Kickoff

The Problem

Your team works in the Analytics Department for the Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT). The Steelers play tonight (Sunday, October 29th, 2017) against the Detroit Lions (DET) at 8:30pm.

The Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff needs your help preparing for tonight's game. The coaches just sent you an email that reads as follows:

Subject: URGENT: Game plan vs. DET

Body: The person who stole JuJu Smith-Schuster's bike also stole our gameplan for tonight. We're meeting at 5pm to create a new gameplan. Please bring us a document with anything you can find using NFL data that will help improve our chances of winning tonight vs. DET. We're short on time, so keep it under three pages of analysis. See you at 5pm.

Your Task: Respond to this request from the coaches by 5pm.

*****Shortly after receiving this email, you receive another email, but this time from the team's coaching staff:*****

Subject: Receiver Recommendation

Body: We are considering incorporating receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (abbreviated as J.Smith-Schuster) more into the offense. What is your recommendation? Please address this question in your gameplan for tonight, and still keep it under three pages of analysis.

Your Task: Incorporate your answer to this question in your report by 5pm.


The dataset you will work with comes from the National Football League via an R package called nflscrapR. All data (and documentation of the data) be found here. If you choose, you can use other data sources to answer these questions, as long as they are publicly available.


First and foremost, you must use the data provided as the primary source when justifying your answer.

You are welcome to use supplementary information to justify your answer, but only if this information is publicly available. We suggest doing the following in your submission:

Submissions: Each team should submit the following: The

Your slides should be prepared for presentation to a panel of both technical and non-technical judges.

Submission constitutes permission to post (anonymized) winning team entries online.

Links for submission will be available on this page at 3pm.

The submission site for the report is here.

The submission site for the slides/code (zipped together or submitted one at a time) is here.

Finalists: 6-8 teams will make the finals based on the quality of their reports. Winners are chosen based on the quality of their presentations.