Thursday, October 10, 2013

11 comments Gregg Easterbrook, Yet Again, Writes about Fast-Paced Offenses

Gregg Easterbrook is talking about the offensive explosion in the NFL and college football again this week. It continues the pattern of Gregg talking about the same issues week-in and week-out in TMQ. His topics don't ever seem to change. He has written nine TMQ's since August and has repeated the main topic of discussion in TMQ often. So far since August we have gotten the following TMQ's:

A discussion on whether college football players should be paid (1 TMQ's)
A discussion of concussions and safety in football (2 TMQ's)
A discussion of fast-paced offenses (3 TMQ's)
A discussion of the zone-read offense (2 TMQ's)
A discussion of the unbeaten NFL teams (1 TMQ)

This week, for the third time since September 10, Gregg discusses fast-paced and high-scoring offenses in the NFL and college football. Needless to say, he will probably continue repeating these same topics as the NFL year goes on. In reality, his weekly TMQ rarely contains new material or unoriginal material that he hasn't covered in the weeks prior. Gregg repeats criticisms of television shows, repeats a discussion of the main topics he discusses in TMQ, and like he does this week, says the same thing just in a different manner on a weekly basis.

Is there any end in sight for the upswing in football offense?

Says Gregg Easterbrook for the ninth straight week.

Denver and Dallas played a contest with 99 points, 1,039 yards of offense and one punt. At 46 points per game, the Broncos are on a pace to score 736 points, which would pulverize the NFL season record of 589 points. At 490 offensive yards per game, they're on pace to gain 7,840 yards, which would best the league record of 7,474.

The Broncos are also on pace over the next six games to play Indianapolis, Kansas City, New England, and San Diego. So I'm guessing they are on pace to not be on pace for 736 points after these games are over.

And the Broncos are staring at the taillights of the Oregon Ducks and Baylor Bears!

That's crazy! Because Oregon and Baylor also play in the NFL, so this is a great comparison between football teams that all play the same level of talent on a week-to-week basis.

The offense surge is remarkable across football. A decade ago, the hot quarterback was the same -- Peyton Manning -- but no NFL team averaged more than 400 yards on offense. Today, Philadelphia's 453-yard average is practically ho-hum.

Every. Single. Week. That's how often Gregg talks about the offensive surge in football. New games are played during the weekend, and that gives Gregg more evidence of the offensive surge, but it doesn't mean he needs to keep beating this dead horse on a weekly basis...yet he does.

Also, the Eagles 453-yard average is not ho-hum, it is the second-most offense per game in the NFL this year. In fact, if the Eagles averaged that amount of offense for the rest of the season then it would be the third-most offense per game since 2002, and since I couldn't find a metric that went back further than that, I am guessing it probably would be the third-most offense per game in NFL history as well. But yeah, it's ho-hum.

Oh, and the Eagles are averaging 454.8 yards per game of offense, not 453 yards. I am aware of how much Gregg hates hyper-specificity so maybe he just rounded up in an incredibly sloppy fashion.

And the NFL is staring at the taillights of the NCAA! FBS scoring has risen from 20.6 points per game per team in 1972 to 28.3 points in 2012 to 30.4 points so far this season. The 122 schools of the FBS are averaging -- averaging -- 420 offensive yards gained.

Gregg subscribes to the "Throw a bunch of statistics that all essentially say the same thing to kill space and constantly reinforce the same point over and over" theory of writing it seems.

So far 19 big-time colleges average at least 500 yards per game. Roll in the FCS, Division II and Division III: All told, 69 colleges and universities are gaining more yards than the Denver Broncos. Even the small schools are making the scoreboard spin. Johns Hopkins, an elite academic college, is averaging 544 yards gained.

Yep, offense is skyrocketing in college football and in the NFL. Gregg writes about this topic every week. Every week there are new NFL and college football games, so it's not like this trend is going to stop in the next couple of days. I don't understand who reads TMQ on a weekly basis and enjoys these statistics from Gregg on a weekly basis. Is there someone who reads Gregg's weekly update of offensive statistics and says, "Man, offense is still up at a staggering rate in football. I thought for sure this would be the week where the defense suddenly catches up and offensive numbers go back to the levels they were in the mid-1990's, but I guess not"?

Also, if you will remember Gregg has stated prior to this season that there is no need to panic because runaway offenses always come back to Earth once defenses "solidify." I guess that football truth is no longer a truth? So Gregg doesn't think football defenses are eventually going to catch up to football offenses anymore, despite the fact he previously refuted his current "offense is out of control" argument by saying the defenses always catch up. It's always a sad state of affairs when Gregg is forced to contradict something he said just two years because reality doesn't match his beliefs.

Gregg Easterbrook in November 2011: "Everyone calm down about these runaway offenses. Stop acting stupid and assuming the offenses will always put up these large numbers. The numbers aren't permanent. The defense always ends up catching up around November. It's a football law."

Gregg Easterbrook in October 2013: "Look at all these runaway offenses. This must be a permanent change in football and the defenses aren't catching up EVER."

Broadly across football, rule changes that favor offense -- tighter pass-interference regulations especially -- are having the intended impact of increasing scoring. Coaches are putting their best athletes on offense, further shifting the balance.

I'm still not 100% sure this is a correct statement. It's hard to disprove it though, since disproving this statement would require me to be able to determine which team's athletes on offense or defense are better as compared to each other. I'm not sure there is a measurement for athleticism that I could use to determine if a team puts more athletic players on offense or defense, so Gregg wins, even though I feel like this is an untrue statement.

As the postseason approaches, defensive backs may start jamming Denver receivers, reducing the Broncs' gaudy numbers.

Ah yes, here is the hedge that we always knew we would get from Gregg. He's has to hedge just a little bit in order to prevent being wrong. Given Gregg's Tecmo Bowl-like knowledge of football, I wonder if he has thought that perhaps when teams start jamming Denver's receivers that Peyton Manning will just throw the ball over the defensive backs' head?

Ultimately, more snaps may account for the big offensive differentials in the NCAA versus the NFL. Dallas and Denver combined to average 8.2 yards per snap; Baylor and West Virginia, 7.4 yards per snap. But Baylor snapped 95 times versus 73 times for Denver.

This is just so obvious, it almost doesn't deserve to be mentioned. If two teams average a similar amount of yards per snap, but one team has 22 more snaps then that one team is going to gain more yardage. This is like saying "DeAngelo Williams rushes for 4 yards per carry and Adrian Peterson rushes for 4.3 yards per carry, but the fact Peterson has 350 rushes to Williams' 150 rushes MAY be the reason Peterson has almost a thousand more yards than Williams."

It's basic math.

It's hard to explain unless you've been on the field, but playing defense is more tiring than playing offense.

You don't have to have been on the field to know playing defense is more tiring than playing offense. Reacting to what the other team is doing on defense requires more energy than it requires for an offense to execute the plays that are called.

Can offensive numbers keep skyrocketing? Pendulums tend to swing: A swing back toward defense would not be a shock. For now at least, football has become a stat-addict's paradise.

Another hedge by Gregg. So if the staggering offensive numbers continue then he is correct and if the pendulum swings towards defenses slowing down offenses then Gregg can point to this sentence to say he knew it would happen.

In broadcasting news, Tuesday Morning Quarterback long has wondered why television announcers say a team "has to" punt on fourth down. It's not just that announcers call any fourth-down try a "huge gamble," when the odds favor conversion on fourth-and-short.

The odds don't always favor a conversion on fourth-and-short. Whether a team can convert a fourth-and-short is entirely dependent on that team's ability to gain yardage on fourth-and-short plays. If a team has only converted 18% of it's first downs on fourth-and-short, then the odds don't favor going for it on fourth down.

Philadelphia was called for offensive holding. Jersey/A coach Tom Coughlin's choice was to give Philadelphia fourth-and-4 on the Jersey/A 47 or let the visitors repeat the down as third-and-20 on their 37. When Coughlin chose the latter, Fox announcers Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick practically passed out...After commercial, the camera did a close-up on the announcers, who at this point had enjoyed five minutes to think about what occurred. "Philadelphia had to punt, why did the Giants not force them to punt?" Brennaman asked his partner. "The only explanation I can offer is that Tom Coughlin was confused about the situation and did not realize the Eagles would have to punt," Billick declared.

Coughlin took the penalty because he knew Chip Kelly would go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Giants' 47!...That it never occurred to professional football announcers, one a former NFL head coach, that a team might do anything other than punt on fourth down is an indicator of football orthodoxy.

I agree the announcers not even thinking that possibly the Eagles could go for it on fourth down is an example of football orthodoxy. Given the fact it was Chip Kelly coaching the Eagles it makes sense that the Eagles perhaps would have gone for it in this situation.

In football and society news -- tick ... tick ... tick. That's the sound of the clock ticking down on the R*dsk*ns name.

It's still very obvious you are typing "Redskins," Gr-gg.

Stats of the Week No. 1: Peyton Manning is on a pace to throw 64 touchdown passes. The NFL season record is 50, by Tom Brady in 2007.

That's incredible. Of course Gregg thinks NFL defenses may catch up with Manning...or they may not catch up...but they could. One thing Gregg knows for sure, NFL defenses will either catch up or not catch up with NFL offenses this year.

Sweet Play of the Week: Midway through the fourth quarter, Indianapolis scored to pull ahead of undefeated visitor Seattle 29-28. The Colts prepared for a deuce attempt. Reggie Wayne, who's almost always on the left, lined up right. Tight end Coby Fleener lined up in the backfield and did spin motion, first left and then back right. Andrew Luck rolled right. Wayne seemed to block for a Luck run; Luck slammed on the brakes and the safeties looked at Fleener on the flare; then Luck threw to Wayne, forgotten in the center of the end zone. Sweet. The play could have turned sour if Wayne had been called for offensive pass interference -- he blocked his defensive back at the point when the action looked, to officials, like a rush.

So the sweet play of the week is one in which Reggie Wayne committed pass interference. That's great to know.

Sour Play of the Week: New Orleans leading 23-10 with six minutes remaining, the Saints lined up to go for it on fourth-and-1 on their 47. Drew Brees practically held up a sign saying he would try to draw the defense offside, and if unsuccessful, call timeout. Don't fall for the guy who suddenly rocks back then goes in motion! Don't fall for the hard count! Bears veteran Lance Briggs fell for the hard count, jumping offside.

Only Gregg Easterbrook would criticize a defensive player who jumps offsides on fourth-and-short because there is a guy who rocks back and then goes in motion, while also stating teams need to "do a little dance" on fourth down to convert it into a first down. So defensive players shouldn't fall for the hard count when it's obvious (though I have no idea how it was obvious) the offense is just trying to get the defense to jump offsides, while he is also expecting the offense to run a play on fourth down? So the defensive player should not fail for the hard count, but also be fully prepared the Saints will snap the ball on fourth down, because NFL teams should usually go for it on fourth down.

Another sweet goal-line stand occurred when Dallas, jumping to a quick 14-7 lead over Denver, reached first-and-goal at the Broncos' 3. The Boys went penalty, incompletion, incompletion, sack, field goal. Holding Dallas to a field goal in this situation helped kick-start the Denver comeback.

The Broncos scored 44 more points in this game and the Cowboys scored 31 more points after this field goal attempt in a back-and-forth affair, but it was this goal line stand that started the Broncos comeback...even though there was 75 more points scored in the game after this goal line stand and the Broncos didn't actually lead for good until there was less than 10 seconds left in the game. Got it.

Then Gregg criticizes "World War Z," a movie about flesh-eating zombies, for not being realistic enough or something to that effect.

In "World War Z," "The Walking Dead" and other recent zombie hits, there's not even a hint of how the zombie transition could be possible.

I'm pretty sure that's a later reveal in "The Walking Dead" and I haven't seen "World War Z." I will say that I don't care how the zombies become zombies and if Gregg goes to a movie about zombies wanting to know exactly how they transitioned to that state then perhaps he shouldn't be viewing zombie movies.

"We tried to infect the zombies with diseases, but their circulatory systems have shut down," a World Health Organization researcher tells Pitt. No circulation -- no carbohydrates and oxygen to the cells? Muscles that evolved to receive water and oxygen by blood circulation should become useless without these substances. Instead, having no circulatory system makes the zombies superstrong and superfast.

It's almost like the undead humans roaming the Earth looking to eat flesh don't play by the normal rules that non-zombie humans play by. I mean really, Gregg is criticizing a movie about zombies because the zombies don't react the way they should biologically react to not having circulation. They are zombies! How the hell do we know how they would react to not having any circulation?

Of course no James Bond flick is anchored in reality either. To stick with Brad Pitt, the hit film "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" made no attempt to be possible. "The Artist" was not possible. Maybe "The Philadelphia Story" wasn't possible. If a zombie movie entertains you, then you get your money's worth.

And yes, dipshit, no one is going to see a movie about zombies expecting a realistic portrayal of how the dead who somehow manage to still walk around while being dead would behave. It's a fictional story where the audience wants to be entertained.

No matter what spectral biochemistry may be, if blood was running down a zombie's face all the time, the body quickly would deplete of fluids. Then how would the zombie move?

(Bangs head into wall repeatedly)

Cincinnati sacked Tom Brady on third-and-2, sacked him on third-and-8, sacked him on third-and-10 late. The Patriots' no-name receivers were not open on critical downs.

It's almost like these undrafted and lowly drafted receivers couldn't get open with the highly-paid glory boy first round picks of the Bengals covering them, isn't it? Any thoughts on undrafted and lowly drafted players struggling to get open against highly-drafted players, Gregg?

Note No. 2: As chilly fall weather arrives, cheer-babe professionalism becomes a factor. Professionalism in this context means skin or at least skintight; scantily attired cheerleaders propitiate the football gods. As torrential sideways rain began around the two minute warning, the Bengals' cheerleaders did not don slickers. Outstanding professionalism, and the home team went on to win.

It wouldn't be TMQ if Gregg didn't throw a few "creepy old man" comments into it, now would it? I wonder if Gregg has any new thoughts on Colin Kaepernick being naked for ESPN the Magazine?

By the way, I was watching "American Pie" ever-so-briefly this weekend and decided that I bet Gregg Easterbrook is like Jim's dad in those films when it comes to discussing sex with his son. The biggest difference may be that if Gregg were Jim's dad then he would be the one trying to get the foreign exchange student naked in his room, but otherwise I feel like in real life Gregg probably has a lot in common with Jim's dad in "American Pie."

In fact, Eugene Levy and Gregg Easterbrook look a little bit alike.

Home-crowd boos rained down as the Falcons failed at the Jersey/B 1 on the final play of the first half on "Monday Night Football." Boos as the Jets moved ahead 27-14 in the fourth quarter. Briefly the crowd remembered what it felt like to back a favorite as the Falcons rallied for a 28-27 lead just inside the two-minute warning. Then a stunned hush as erratic rookie quarterback Geno Smith completed a series of rinky-dink passes to position the visitors for the winning field goal on the last snap.

I received an email from Spencer about the Falcons failing on the Jets one yard line at the very end of the first half with him wondering how Gregg was going to wiggle his way out of acknowledging the Falcons chose to go for a touchdown in this situation rather than kick the field goal (the Falcons lost by 2 points, so a field goal attempt instead of going for the touchdown would have won the game for the Falcons...so much for fortune favoring the bold). It turns out Gregg is going to completely ignore his "Fortune favors the bold" mantra as well as his insistence that a coach who goes for the touchdown on fourth-and-1 is being aggressive and playing to win, which will make that coach's team win the game. I say this because Gregg didn't mention the Falcons went for the touchdown instead of the field goal at the end of the first half. Most likely he didn't bring it up because it didn't fit the narrative he wanted to write about how a head coach inspires confidence in his team to win the game by going for it on fourth down.

So yes, the Falcons did fail on the one yard line on the final play of the first half. The Falcons went for a touchdown instead of a field goal, and verily, this decision to be aggressive and be bold ended up being the difference in the game. No word from Gregg of course on why fortune didn't favor the bold or why Mike Smith being aggressive didn't pay off for the Falcons.

The king's ransom in draft choices paid two years ago for Julio Jones led to talent depletion of the Atlanta roster.

Of course, the Falcons acquiring one of the best receivers in the NFL was a bad thing. Of course it was. Hey, remember that time Gregg Easterbrook called Julio Jones "a diva" October 13th TMQ: 

The Falcons might right themselves, but for now, there seems a concern that the Julio Jones trade will explode in their faces. Atlanta gave a king's ransom for Jones, not only depleting its ability to restock other positions but inserting a diva character into a locker room that previously was cohesive.

Go ahead and do a search for Julio Jones "diva" and all you will find are articles talking about how he isn't a diva. This is a real positive that Gregg Easterbrook receives from working at ESPN. He can lie and mislead his readers and nobody cares. In this case, Gregg literally just made something up that wasn't factually true nor a shared opinion and for no other reason than to make a first round draft pick sound like the type of person he isn't.

The king's ransom in money paid this offseason to Matt Ryan led to free-agency dilution. (It was unrealistic for Atlanta to put so many chips on discount free agent Osi Umenyiora -- in 2012, Osi's Giants were 31st in defense.)

Yes, Osi's entire Giants defense was 31st in defense. This doesn't mean he isn't a good individual defensive player. Also, the Falcons would have been fucking morons of the umpteenth degree if they didn't give Matt Ryan a lot of money to continue being their quarterback.

The Jones trade was a gamble on a win-now stance for the Super Bowl. It didn't happen, and sure won't this season.

Gregg had the Falcons as being 12-4 this season. So all of this great knowledge about the team's inability to run the ball and gambling to win now is hindsight.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk: Oregon leading 15-10 in the first quarter at Boulder, Colo., the Buffaloes punted in Ducks territory. TMQ tweeted "game over." The football gods agreed -- 75-yard Oregon touchdown on the next snap. Oregon was the favorite and likely to prevail no matter what tactics Colorado employed.

Exactly. This is why criticizing Colorado for punting instead of going for it on fourth down in a game they lost by 41 points is just so incredibly misguided and stupid.

Hosting Georgia, underdog Tennessee kept the offense on the field on fourth down three times in the fourth quarter, resulting in two touchdowns and a late 31-24 lead. The rest of the contest went the favorite's way. But near victory over a top-10 team surely is good for the Volunteers' karma.

Fortune favors the bold!...you know, unless it doesn't, in which case "good karma" has been built up. Because that doesn't sound like a load of horseshit or anything.

Delving into a complex topic, not believing the official pronouncements of either side, then following the evidence wherever it leads, is the best service journalism can offer readers.

Or you could do what Gregg does in TMQ oftentimes, which is when the evidence leads him to a place he doesn't like, he just ignores this evidence or tries to frame it in a way as to mislead his audience. A great example of this is when he calls Julio Jones "a diva" because he wants to prove that many high first round draft choices are lazy and only out for themselves.

Hosting Morehead State, Campbell gained 553 yards, and lost. Campbell's athletic symbol is an angry camel.

The camel isn't supposed to be angry, so either Gregg is making a joke or he doesn't know the camel isn't supposed to be angry. Most likely if the camel looks angry it is because Campbell is a dry campus and the camel wants a fucking drink of alcohol and has to drive six miles up to Lillington, North Carolina to get beer at the Food Lion.

Visiting UNC/Charlotte, Gardner-Webb gained 577 yards, built a three-touchdown fourth-quarter cushion, and lost. Leading 45-24 early in the fourth quarter, Gardner-Webb needed to keep the clock moving. Instead: interception, quick touchdown for the hosts. Had Gardner-Webb simply run up the middle for no gain on this down, victory was likely.

Why is victory likely in this situation? What evidence does Gregg have this is a true statement, other than his want for this statement to be true of course? When Gregg writes "victory was likely" in reference to a strategy a football team should have used, but didn't, that he believes lost that team the game it never fails to not annoy me. How does he know "victory was likely?"

Ron Rivera, Pack Your Bags: Cam Newton was 25-1 as a starter in college, and is 14-22 as a starter in the NFL. But football is a team sport. Three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil barely even slowed his man on the safety that put Arizona in command in the third quarter.

Actually, that was not completely Ryan Kalil's fault. He was expecting Travelle Wharton to pick up the man or at least help out blocking, but Wharton didn't do it. Not that I would expect Gregg to correctly assign blame of course. Gregg can't be expected to correctly assign blame when he is trying to call out players for failing to do their job correctly. It's Gregg's job to assign blame, not accurately assign blame.

Single Worst Play of the Season -- So Far: Dallas leading Denver 48-41 with about three minutes remaining, the Broncos were called for offensive holding. Choice offered to Jason Garrett, head coach of the "offended team" -- give Denver third-and-goal on the 5 or second-and-goal on the 17. Garrett took the penalty, but should have declined. To Peyton Manning, an extra snap means more than a few yards.

Giving Peyton Manning 12 extra yards also isn't a good decision. So while giving Manning second down over doesn't sound like a good move, it also means Manning has to go further to score the touchdown the Broncos needed to win the game. It only took Manning two more plays to score, (and this is an example of Gregg wanting to reach a certain conclusion rather than taking the evidence he is given to reach a conclusion) so it would not have mattered if Manning had the ball third-and-goal on the 5 or second-and-goal on the 17 since it only took him two more plays to score.

With the benefit of second down over, Manning worked the ball in for the touchdown that tied the contest.

It's a tough decision, but I don't see why Jason Garrett would choose to let Peyton Manning be closer to the end zone when the Broncos need a touchdown to tie the game. Common sense tells me that I would want to push Manning further back from the end zone if he needs a touchdown to tie the game.

Now it's 48-48, Denver has third-and-1 on the Boys' 2 with 1:40 remaining, Dallas holding two timeouts. Let Denver score! Let Denver score! Instead Dallas played straight-up defense, holding the runner to 1 yard, which made it first-and-goal on the 1. Dallas could do nothing but watch Denver milk the clock until the winning field goal as time expired. Princeton-educated Jason Garret, how could you not let Denver score?

Probably the same way you can't spell "Garrett" correctly. Also, Manning told Knowshon Moreno to not score a touchdown, so even if the Cowboys had let the Broncos score I'm not sure the Broncos would have chosen to score. I'm not sure why this was a bad play on Garrett's part if the Broncos refused to be allowed to score a touchdown.

Next Week: Will the NFC East be won by a team with a losing record?

This question will definitely not be answered in next week's TMQ. 

11 comments:

JBsptfn said...

One reason Cincinnati won is because they got pressure up the middle. If you do that, Brady isn't nearly as effective.

This may be his worst interior line during his career. Mankins is declining, and C Wendell and RG Connolly are average at best.

This could be the first time since 2006 that he throws for less than 30 TD's (that was the last time he didn't have some combo of Moss, Welker, Hernandez, and Gronk).

Oh, and BTW, check this out:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1806386-magic-johnson-leaving-espn-to-pursue-other-commitments

It seems like a Mr. Bill Simmons may have something to do with it.

Snarf said...

In fact, Eugene Levy and Gregg Easterbrook look a little bit alike.

Don't tell this to Gregg. We all know his feelings on Jews in Hollywood.

Maybe he'll make an exception as Levy is more of a character-actor rather than some megabucks glory-Jew actor.

Bengoodfella said...

JB, that may be a very underrated reason as to why the Patriots aren't playing as well. Maybe it is properly rated, I don't know. Most QB's have a tough time with pressure up the middle. It creates a distraction for them that's in their face and can throw them off. Brady is no different. Of course Gregg won't ever talk about pressure in Brady's face as a reason the Bengals won.

Bill already has stated he doesn't have anything to do with it. Who knows, but it's hard to believe Bill doesn't have the power to get rid of Magic no matter how much he protests that he wouldn't do that. Bill needs to own his power instead of pretending he doesn't have any. He's ESPN's golden child, he knows it and we know it. It's funny, because in his columns he goes out of his way to show us how many famous people he knows and what a power player he is, but then in situations like this all of a sudden he has no power.

Snarf, I can't believe I forgot about Gregg's disgust for the Jewish people.

Haha..."megabucks glory-Jew actor." I don't know whether to be offended or laugh.

Anonymous said...

It's not just that announcers call any fourth-down try a "huge gamble," when the odds favor conversion on fourth-and-short.
I think the evidence suggests teams should probably go for it on 4th more often but the Easterbrooks of the world oversimplify the decision to insane levels. Like you said, a teams chances to convert are tied a lot closer to how they're playing now than how all teams have played throughout history. Plus, I think you could make the case that historical numbers are skewed by the fact that better offenses took more 4th down chances. Not to mention that just the odds being in your favor doesn't mean something is worth the risk.

Snarf said...

^^^ This concept is illustrated perfectly in finance, where one decision may have a higher expected value but with a much greater volatility. Classic example being that you have some $$$ and want to buy a house in a year. You can invest in a stock with 25% chance of being worth $0 in a year, 25% chance of doubling your money and 50% chance of earning 10% on your money in a year. Conversely, there's a bond with a guaranteed return of 8%. Math says you have a better chance with the stock, but you want to buy a house in a year, so you really should take the bond's return and not risk losing everything.

Football is not too different. Often teams would rather do the "fraidy cat kick," for the guaranteed points rather than risking getting nothing.

I do agree, though, that teams should go for it more often. It's just that the need to weigh the risk-reward as there is no simple go-for-it-every-time solution as espoused by Gregggggg.

And Ben, it's not offensive as I have a lot of Jewish friends. ;)

Anonymous said...

Agreed. It's the entire psychology behind roulette. Make you think you're expected return (loss) will be different because you place bets with different odds. And there's always a guy who thinks he's a genius by betting on the first and second 12.

Anonymous said...

"Now it's 48-48, Denver has third-and-1 on the Boys' 2 with 1:40 remaining, Dallas holding two timeouts. Let Denver score! Let Denver score!"

If Dallas holds Denver to a field goal here, they get the ball back with around 1:30 remaining and a timeout, assuming they use their 2nd timeout after the 3rd down stop. Why on god's green earth would you just let Denver score there? A stop is incredibly valuable. It's not like Dallas had no chance of getting the ball back; get a stop, force a field goal, and you've still got a chance.

It didn't work out, and actually the worst possible outcome happened for Dallas in that Moreno got the first down but not a touchdown, but of course Dallas had no way of knowing that was going to happen. In the moment, a 3rd down stop was incredibly valuable.

I don't know if anyone ever saw Captain Hindsight on South Park a couple years ago, but that's exactly what Gregg is. He criticizes things using the full power of hindsight. Dallas didn't get the ball back, so OF COURSE they should have let Denver score. I'd like to see Gregg write this if Dallas had gotten a stop, forced a field goal, and then gone down and scored the winning TD.

I'd also like to point out that Jim Nantz said something similar during the telecast. After Moreno got the first down, he said something like, "once he had the first, Dallas should have just let them score." Oh okay, because as a defensive player you know exactly when someone has a first down and can therefore make the snap decision to give up. Jim Nantz apparently thinks that because he can see the yellow line, that defensive players can as well.

Murray said...

Actually they were open. The Pats line blew also Brady made several poor throws and sometimes did not even look at open targets

Anonymous said...

Your wrong on the Falcons taking a FG before halftime would have given them the win.

If they take those 3 points they are only down three on their last drive and don't go for it on 4th down. They most likely kick the FG to tie in which NY drives and still kicks the game winning FG.

Don't be like Gregg!

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, that's a good point. I get why Mike Smith went for it, but I think it is hilarious that Gregg just ignores a field goal could have helped the Falcons win the game. He ignores this type stuff when it contradicts his beliefs.

Snarf said...

Yea, Anon, I don't think the implication is/was that everything would remain static and had the Falcons kicked the FG they would have won. It's more that Gregg's continued stance that the kicking game is stupid and coaches should go for it every time on fourth down is idiotic, using the Falcons game as a potential situation in which taking the guaranteed points may have been a better decision. Hindsight is obviously 20/20 and the decision itself may have been a good one even if the result wasn't what the team wanted, but this is the sort of nuance and logic that Gregg constantly ignores. You know that had the Falcons won the game, Gregg would have written something like "Smith sent his charges in on 4th down, challenging them to score the touchdown. Even though the try was not successful, fortune favors the bold! Verily it came to pass that the [whatever he calls ATL] came out victorious in the match! Godfrey Daniel that's SWEET! Perhaps the football gods smile upon Matt Ryan's tasteful GQ spread of several years ago! Your humble columnist thinks so."