Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I said I was going to wait until after the Super Bowl to start up again with more articles. I broke that promise once and then made it again. And now I'm breaking it again. Because I saw something incredibly stupid on ProFootballTalk.com the other day. Which is a bit like saying that you've found straw in a horses stable. When doesn't PFT have stupid s**t posted on their site?

In this case it was about Bill Belichick, and the sheer level of stupidity in the article was astounding. Basically it was a criticism of Belichick for punting to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game, on fourth down and 8, leading to an 87-yard TD drive by the Ravens.

The argument was that a field goal attempt was only 52 yards. But the conditions were poor and Belichick obviously decided it wasn't going to happen. It's what the writer said next that cracked me up; "but it’s surprising that he didn’t just go for it instead of punting the ball back to the Ravens. And punting the ball back to the Ravens turned out to be a mistake".

Regardless of whether you read "go for it" as meaning to try the field goal or to attempt to throw it, neither option is better than punting unless you pull something special out. Do you now how hard it is, even for a team like the Patriots, to complete a pass on a 4th and 8? When the opposition can sit back and give you all the short stuff because it doesn't matter if you get 7 yards when you need 8 or you turn the ball over.

And if you miss the field goal or you miss the first down, both of which are more likely than making them under those conditions, then what do you do? I'll tell you what you do, you give the ball back to the Ravens on downs, with much less than 87-yards to drive for the score.

So you're telling me the Ravens scored from 87-yards out, but if they'd only been say 60 odd yards out, then they wouldn't have scored? That would have been better than giving them another 20-30 yards to drive? What? On what planet does that make sense?

Answer: Planet PFT. Where idiocy reigns supreme.

This is another part of what I was writing about in my last post. It's the whole god damn statistics culture that has sprung up, where people think it's trendy to call head coaches idiots because they make decisions based on their experience and knowledge of the game, and their judgement in the moment of the conditions, instead of putting a bunch of numbers of incredibly dubious reliability into a spreadsheet that supposedly makes "perfect" decisions.

I don't always agree with coaches and I often call them stupid, but I at least respect the fact that they're making the decisions on the fly in the heat of the game, and that they often achieve better results than what the statistics people suggest they should.

It's "cool" right now to suggest that everyone should go for it on 4th down, regardless of the distance and the quality of the opponent it would seem. And I'm sick of seeing this crap pop everywhere.

Still, the 49ers are in the Super Bowl, so that's a consolation.

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