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Deadspin article on going for it on 4th down

Discussion in 'NFL Football Forum' started by Deus Irae, Oct 1, 2012.

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  1. Deus Irae

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    Was The Panthers' Fourth-Down Decision Dumb Enough To Change The NFL's Punt-To-Win Philosophy?

    I was against the BB call, as many here will remember, but this guy's gotten it at least partly right by acknowledging the difference in circumstances, as opposed to just pointing to the raw, league-wide numbers. And his article is not one which should make Ron Rivera happy with his decision yesterday.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
  2. Palm Beach Pats Fan

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    maybe after they pin the opposition at the 1 yard line they could've also, you know, defended against the 50 yard bomb.

    stupid? yes
    then stupider.
  3. Danger Zone

    Danger Zone On the Roster

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    I respect every head coach's right to make or not make this call.

    I also respect Belichick's choice more than any other head coach (though I realize the article wasn't about him). It is my opinion that he wins us a hella lot more games than he loses us.

    He has my permission to go for it on fourth down whenever he wants.
  4. lamafist

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    The only reason coaches opt not to go for it so often is that they're afraid of the criticism. If they got for it and fail, the coach gets blamed for the decision. If they punt on fourth down, and the other team gets the ball and scores, the defense gets blamed.

    Belichick don't give a sh**. The next time BB makes a decision based more on covering his own ***** instead of winning the game will be the first time.
  5. PATSYLICIOUS

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    I was watching the game as it happened and I honestly didnt know at the time whether I'd go for it or not. I mean what are the chances driving 70+ yards from your own 1 with no TO's in 1:20 or whatever they had.

    I guess I would considering how easy it is to get called for PI these days. Especially being the big underdog usually in that situation you play like you have nothing to lose.
  6. Deus Irae

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    As long as we have permission to call for their firing when they screw it up....
  7. Zeus

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    The Panthers' best chance to win the game was to go for it. And as the article points out, Rivera didn't know (and wouldn't assume) that the punt would be downed onthe 1 yard line.

    Most people evaluate decisions based on outcomes. That's called hindsight.

    In business, life and sports, good decisions can have bad outcomes (and vice versa). A sound, disciplined decision-making process is designed to bring about favorable outcomes more often. All you can do is tilt the odds in your favor.
  8. Gwedd

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    Except that Kevin Faulk made those two yards. The replays clearly showed him being past the marker with his forward progress.

    That the refs chose not to "see" that isn't on Coach Belichick, nor on Faulk, nor anyone else except the refs. No one will ever be able to convince me that there wasn't a desire from the league office to ensure that the Colts made it to the Superbowl.

    Manning has always been the league's poster-boy, because of his dad and his brother. Brady simply usurped that coronation, the same way that Henry IV overthrew Richard II.

    Bitter? Yeah, I am. There are damned few things in this world that I'll hold a grudge over, but that's one of them.
  9. Deus Irae

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    I said that at the time, as well. My position was that Faulk made it, but it was a stupid decision to go for it. I don't have any aversion to going for it on 4th down. I have aversion to going for it on 4th down in specific circumstances.
  10. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats Rookie

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    Coaches should go for it on 4th down MUCH more than they do. A punt is a turnover--albeit one that improves field position. But it's still a turnover.

    Cam Newton needed to get a couple feet. Please.
  11. Deus Irae

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    I agree. These coaches have statistical breakdowns for everything else. They should have a percentage chart for these 4th downs to help them with the call.
  12. Zeus

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    I heard Belichick talk about the Colt game a week ago on WEEI. He still stands by the decision, saying that was what gave his team the best chance to win. I also recently watched the "A Football Life" Belichick episodes - got the impression that he had decided well before the game that if faced with that particular situation, he was going for it. It was not an impulsive decision.

    I also recall the Patriots going for it on 4th and short late in the home game against Atlanta (I think it was earlier that same season) and Brady completing a long sideline fade to Moss. That seemed crazier than what they did in the Colt game by a mile, but no one complained because they made it.

    I'd be surprised if teams (or least some of them) don't have those probability charts. I also seem to recall the the win probabilities in the Colt game clearly indicated that going for it was the superior strategy.

    I think that reasonable people can disagree on the Colt decision. I don't think it was a poor decision but understand why others would have approached it differently. For me, the question is not - how did it turn out? - but rather, if I did this 10 (or 100 ) times, how many times would I win the game?
  13. aluminum seats

    aluminum seats Rookie

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    That's the point, really. Any decision on the field can ultimately seem OK if it works. (It's like in basketball: guy takes a terrible shot and you go, "no no no...! YES!" when it goes in.)

    In this most recent example, there was certainly a good chance Atlanta wouldn't score--they were backed up to their goal line. And it didn't seem to me that punting was a TERRIBLE decision. I could see Atlanta scoring maybe 2-3 times out of ten in that scenario (obviously I'm just making that number up, but as it's been noted, coaches could/would have this info). On the other hand, I'd think Newton goes for a foot or so more than 9 out of 10 times.
  14. Deus Irae

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    Without getting too much into that Colts call because I wanted to see where people fell on the "league-wide stats plus factors" argument v. just a general "well, it's a 65% success rate" idea, as opposed to just jumping back into that one specific play, the offense was a stuttering cluster for that entire set of downs. Going for it on 4th there was quite possibly the stupidest on-the-field call of Belichick's career.

    Of course, that's me coming from the "stats plus factors" perspective, as opposed to a pure numbers angle.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  15. Zeus

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    So it's definitley an interesting question. I doubt that Belichick (or any other head coach) would go strictly by the numbers. For example, I've heard BB say that one of the considerations is whether you have a play that you feel good about in the particular sitation.

    This has been debated at length in baseball (Moneyball vs. old-time scouts) but also elsewhere in business. The proponents of the quantitative approach would say that emotions cloud judgment and that our experience based intuition is not necessarliy borne out by actual data.

    I'd say coaches would benefit by going with the numbers more than they do but that you do need to consider situational factors that add valuable information - things such as weather, field conditions, are we blocking well, do we have the right play, etc.

    In that regard, your evaluation of the Colts decision has merit, although I believe Bill's stated criterion for the decision (best chance to win the game) has significant merit as well. That, combined with the fact that he had thought about it ahead of time is why I come down on the side of being okay with what he did (even if it did cost me a week's worth of sleep).
  16. PatsWickedPissah

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    Good post but,
    Keep your monarchist sympathies in the political forum!
  17. PatsWickedPissah

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    Like your analysis, but BB's "best chance to win the game" is his information free standard response.
  18. Zeus

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    Sure, but in this particular instance, I really do believe that's how he thinks about the problem.
  19. Gwedd

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    This reminds me of the game against Denver where New England was backed up against it's goal line and was forced to punt on 4th down. The Patriots lined up to punt, but had Paxton snap it up and hit the goalpost/crossbar for a safety. It was an excellent call, as it allowed the Patriots to move the ball further upfield to kick from, and pinned Denver back close to THEIR own goal line at the cot of only two points.

    Again, Belichick was pretty confident his defense could hold the Broncos to a 3&out, and he'd get the ball back with time to try and score. It was a gutsy call, but it played out like he thought it would and New England walked away with it's first win at Mile High in a long time.

    You can look at the stat sheets all day, but in the end, it still (IMHO) comes down to the confidence a coach has in his players and their ability to execute in a specific situation.
  20. PatsWickedPissah

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    Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're getting at but shouldn't EVERY in game coaching decision meet that metric?
    It's an information free statement.
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