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Grantland: The coach who never punts

Spaceman Spiff

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I don't think the equation is as simple as that but I am sure there is someone much more familiar with decision theory that could weigh in on it.  It isn't simply analyzing the likelihood we convert on 4th down to the likelihood that they score in both scenarios.  I believe it is a comparison of the likelihood we score vs. the likelihood they score given the 2 different decisions. 


Well, I don't pretend to know all of the elements that are used. My point is that you can probably slice and dice data from any NFL team right now to start to get an idea of how a riskier game plan would play out. As has been mentioned, it's not a hard number either...with every outcome the odds change slightly so someone would need to be on top of it.


To your point, I don't think you always have to weigh if you will score. For example, going for it on 4th down from your own 30 can benefit you even if you don't score. If you possess the ball longer and eventually turn it over on downs 50 yards downfield, you are better off than if you would have punted.

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