Sunday, November 22, 2009

Should Belichick Have Punted?

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick went for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28 yard line, trying to keep the ball away from Peyton Manning and the Colts' offense with just a couple minutes remaining in the game.
I heard a number of "experts" bat the choice around this morning on the pre-game shows, most saying that they would have punted given the situation. ESPN cited a study done a few years ago that concluded that the odds favored going for it instead of punting and playing defense. I don't think the study took into account all of the situations involved, but simply relied on the success/failure rate of the individual plays. Belichick does go for it more than most coaches and is successful more than most coaches, but the Patriots have been more successful than most teams over the past decade as well.
For the record, I would have punted and agree with Jimmy Johnson's reasoning. He simply stated a well known fact that the further away a team starts from the endzone, the lower the percentage is for scoring. Even though Manning is the best, there are 10 others on the team that still have to execute more plays if they are further away and gives your team more chances to stop them as well.

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