"Extremal events", that is, large events that are more likely than would be expected from a random process, can be a signature of complexity in nature. In the case of matter moving in accretion disks around black holes it tells us about the turbulent flow in the accreting matter. Whist seeking to compare this distribution of events with other patterns in the world around us, two University of Warwick postgraduate physics students (John Greenhough and Paul Birch), with their supervisor Sandra Chapman and colleague George Rowlands, looked at the number of goals scored by the home and away teams in over 135 000 games in 169 countries since 1999 and found that the results followed the pattern of "extremal statistics" .
However they also compared their data with an analysis they made of the scores of 13 000 English top division games and 5000 FA Cup matches between the 1970/71 and 2000/01 seasons. They found that these scores contained far less high scoring games than the world as a whole and rather than fitting an extremal statistics pattern the English games more closely fitted either Poisson or negative binomial distributions.
In summary their analysis revealed that a total score over 10 goals in any one game occurs approximately only once in every 10,000 English top division matches (once every 30 years) but in top division matches world-wide, such a score is seen once in 300 games (about once every day).