I heard a tease on ESPN.... Chuck?
Posted By: Gregg Cattanach In Response To: I heard a tease on ESPN.... Chuck? (eXtreme Gammon)
Date: Sunday, 22 November 2009, at 1:47 p.m.
In Response To: I heard a tease on ESPN.... Chuck? (eXtreme Gammon)
Unlike rugby which has a free-form format, (very few decisions on planning a 'play'), American football is divided into descrete plays, every one which has many possible decisions. One of the most critical decisions is when to give up possession of the ball voluntarily by punting. It has been 'common knowledge' in football that you almost never risk failing on 4th down by always choosing to punt, the two biggest exceptions being around the opponent's 40 yard line when a punt often will gain only a small field position advantage and a field goal is too far. The other is during desparation at the end of the game when scoring now is the only way to win.
Zeus has quantified based on years and years of NFL statistics probabilities for 'success' based on down/distance/time/timeouts remaining/score, etc., and thus can give a realistic estimate of your chances of winning the game based on the various decisions available.
One major result of Chuck's analysis is that almost all coaches are far too risk-adverse and fail to go for it on 4th down when it is clearly the best decision. Football coaches have been ignoring or at least downplaying the cost of voluntarily giving up possession of the football ever since the game has been played.
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