Challenging conventional wisdom (Cowboys/Giants finish)

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
Tonight's Sunday night game between Dallas and NYG is an example of why I absolutely hate "conventional wisdom" which at times is anything but. Bear with me because I'm going to attempt to break this down mathematically and logically and it might be long-winded.

Situation: Giants have the ball with 1:37 left, 4th down and 1 at the Cowboy 1, up by 3 (starting point here, 3rd down is done. No sense debating whether or not they should have pass or run on 3rd down, that's an entirely different discussion and not the point of this. Let's assume what's done is done and it's 4th down)

So, kick a FG here? Really? Conventional wisdom, apparently, says yes. Cris and Al both said yes. Let's assume that the 4th and goal had a 50/50 chance of being converted, and the FG had 100% chance of being converted.

So if you go for it, you have a 50/50 shot of winning it right there, and if you fail, you can STILL stop them if you prevent them from going 70 yards in 1:30. They have the ball backed up on their own 1! Even if they do so (the odds of them going 99 yards in 1:30 are a great deal lower), they have only TIED the game and sent it to overtime.

So instead, you kick the FG. Congrats, you got points. Now you're up 6. Figure a kickoff return to about the 30 (it was the 28), and now the Cowboys have the same amount of time they would have had anyway, and now need to travel the same 70 yards, only now those 70 yards will not just tie the game, but give them a win! One could argue that you have given yourself LESS of a chance to win the game by kicking the FG than failing on 4th down, and you had a 50/50 shot to make it and wrap up the win right there!

Absolute mathematical and logical fail on the part of Tom Coughlin, and what's frustrating is that most coaches would have made the same choice because they somehow at their level do not approach these decisions from an odds-based standpoint.
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
I'll assign some (I think fair) odd values to assess chances of a certain event happening when a choice is made. Obviously, very rough and arbitrary estimates.

Converting 4th and goal from the 1: 50%
Winning the game if you convert 4th and goal: 100%
Making chip shot FG/XP: 100%
Dallas driving 70 yards in hurry up offense in 1:30: 30%
Dallas driving 99 yards in hurry up offense in 1:30: 10%
Bailey making FG of 40+: 80%
Giants win in OT: 50%

At these estimates, the Giants have about a 90% chance of winning the game if they decide to go for it on 4th down. In 100 scenarios, they will immediately win 50 by converting. In 5 of the remaining 50, they will lose in regulation. Of the remaining 45, they will successfully stop about 32 of these. 13 will come down to a FG, and Bailey will covert 11 of these, so 11 will go to overtime, and the Cowboys will win 5-6 in addition to the 5 they already won in regulation by going 99 yards, giving the Giants about an 89.5% chance of winning if they decide to go for the 4th down.

By kicking the FG, it's simple, they have a 30% chance of losing the game. Congratulations Giants, you reduced your chances of winning from 90% to 70% by MAKING a field goal!
 
D

Deleted member 6794

Guest
IMO the most perplexing thing was to call a pass play on third down with the Cowboys having no timeouts left.
 

Curly Calhoun

Cheesehead
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Messages
2,031
Reaction score
488
Tonight's Sunday night game between Dallas and NYG is an example of why I absolutely hate "conventional wisdom" which at times is anything but. Bear with me because I'm going to attempt to break this down mathematically and logically and it might be long-winded.

Situation: Giants have the ball with 1:37 left, 4th down and 1 at the Cowboy 1, up by 3 (starting point here, 3rd down is done. No sense debating whether or not they should have pass or run on 3rd down, that's an entirely different discussion and not the point of this. Let's assume what's done is done and it's 4th down)

So, kick a FG here? Really? Conventional wisdom, apparently, says yes. Cris and Al both said yes. Let's assume that the 4th and goal had a 50/50 chance of being converted, and the FG had 100% chance of being converted.

So if you go for it, you have a 50/50 shot of winning it right there, and if you fail, you can STILL stop them if you prevent them from going 70 yards in 1:30. They have the ball backed up on their own 1! Even if they do so (the odds of them going 99 yards in 1:30 are a great deal lower), they have only TIED the game and sent it to overtime.

So instead, you kick the FG. Congrats, you got points. Now you're up 6. Figure a kickoff return to about the 30 (it was the 28), and now the Cowboys have the same amount of time they would have had anyway, and now need to travel the same 70 yards, only now those 70 yards will not just tie the game, but give them a win! One could argue that you have given yourself LESS of a chance to win the game by kicking the FG than failing on 4th down, and you had a 50/50 shot to make it and wrap up the win right there!

Absolute mathematical and logical fail on the part of Tom Coughlin, and what's frustrating is that most coaches would have made the same choice because they somehow at their level do not approach these decisions from an odds-based standpoint.



First off, that was a thriller last night. The Giants choked, and I question the wisdom of having Manning throw a pass on the goal line. It left Romo with a lot of time.

During the Packer game, a somewhat similar situation occurred. The Packers had the ball on Chicago's two-yard line, first and goal, with 1:59 left and the Bears having only one time-out left. The thought occurred to me to kneel down on the first two plays and force the Bears to burn their only time-out and then run some time off the clock. You could then run Lacy up the gut on third down and if he scores, fine, and if he doesn't, your burn more time and then kick the field goal. You'd still be up by two scores but by now there would be less than thirty seconds left in the game.

Of course it's possible Crosby could miss the kick, but not likely, and even if he did you'd still be in pretty good shape considering the field position. It all worked out anyway but I thought it was worth mentioning.
 

Mondio

Cheesehead
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
15,893
Reaction score
3,795
play the game, you win some, you lose some. on the other side of this coin good ol' gum smackin' Pete decided to be unconventional and pooch kick the OT kick off. Dumbest move i've seen in a while. Then after that, the "run Lynch, he can't miss from a yard" mentality took over. He lost 2+ yards. Like has happened many other times with him, but nobody seems to care because, he's Lynch and he can just run you over.
 
D

Deleted member 6794

Guest
play the game, you win some, you lose some. on the other side of this coin good ol' gum smackin' Pete decided to be unconventional and pooch kick the OT kick off. Dumbest move i've seen in a while.

Even worse IMO he´s blaming the kicker right now, saying Hauschka mishit the kick.
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
First off, that was a thriller last night. The Giants choked, and I question the wisdom of having Manning throw a pass on the goal line. It left Romo with a lot of time.

During the Packer game, a somewhat similar situation occurred. The Packers had the ball on Chicago's two-yard line, first and goal, with 1:59 left and the Bears having only one time-out left. The thought occurred to me to kneel down on the first two plays and force the Bears to burn their only time-out and then run some time off the clock. You could then run Lacy up the gut on third down and if he scores, fine, and if he doesn't, your burn more time and then kick the field goal. You'd still be up by two scores but by now there would be less than thirty seconds left in the game.

Of course it's possible Crosby could miss the kick, but not likely, and even if he did you'd still be in pretty good shape considering the field position. It all worked out anyway but I thought it was worth mentioning.

Yeah, I didn't have a problem with it either way. Selfishly, I wanted Lacy to score and I'm sure they figured a 15 point lead with under 2 minutes to go was pretty much game over. I'm sure it did appear safer to them as well given the amount of special teams' gaffes in the last 2 years to just take the 2 possession lead.

Taking 3 knees and kicking the FG was most likely the higher percentage play but we are probably talking about the difference between 99.4% and 99.5%.
 

TJV

Lifelong Packers Fanatic
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
5,389
Reaction score
954
adambr2's argument does make some sense IMO. But it's the kind of decision that if it backfires, gets coaches hung in effigy and/or fired. I know the OP specifically didn't want to address what happened the play before but that was indeed the critical decision. Here's the thing that just kills me about that: I think one of the announcers - or analyst after the game said the HC should have told Manning to take a sack and not stop the clock as he did. Manning is going into his 12th NFL season and has been playing football since he was a kid. He's got two titles. He shouldn't need to be told anything in that situation, should he?
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
adambr2's argument does make some sense IMO. But it's the kind of decision that if it backfires, gets coaches hung in effigy and/or fired

And it's a shame that coaches should have to make decisions based on the masses perception of conventional wisdom rather than basing it on their own logic and research. However, I'd say the long-tenured coaches are free to make their own decisions. Everyone remembers Bellichick trying to convert 4th and 2 against the Colts late in his own territory years back, but he was never in any danger of losing his job for it.
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
RRyder, care to explain why you disagree rather than just disagreeing? And please offer something more substantial and logical than "it's conventional wisdom has been for a long time and every coach would have done the same".
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
This guy gets it.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-s...o-score-at-end-of-cowboys-loss-145120015.html

Coughlin is correct — the Giants should have run on third down. They also should have run it thereafter on fourth down. The Cowboys had just burned their final timeout, and with 1:40 remaining the Giants could have run another 40-ish seconds off the clock and opted to kick the field goal or they could have run off another 10-something seconds if they went for it again.

Even if they don't score on fourth down, the Cowboys would have to drive 65-70 yards in less than a minute to attempt a game-tying field goal, or drive 95-plus in that time for the win.
 

RRyder

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Messages
1,775
Reaction score
183
RRyder, care to explain why you disagree rather than just disagreeing? And please offer something more substantial and logical than "it's conventional wisdom has been for a long time and every coach would have done the same".

I disagreed due to the fact I believe you are over analyzing the situation a lil bit and then in a second post went on to make up percentages of situational likely hood to support your claim. Not that I disagree too much with those pecentages just that I don't think you should use them to support an argument. That said I would personally rather have a team HAVE to go 70 yards to win then just 70 yards for a FG to tie, with it being exponetially more difficult to punch it in the end zone in those situations versus just getting in fg range, and the D will still almost assuradly be playing off till around mid field anyways and then once they're in range they get a few free plays anyways at the end zone before kicking for OT. But that's just my preference

TJV really said it best with effectively saying it's the type of move that gets coach's fired when it doesn't work out and didn't feel the need to go into detail about it so I just hit the disagree button. I will also add bringing up BB and him going for it on 4th&2 against the Colts to try and come back at it is a lil misleading for 2 reasons.

1: BB did take a ton of heat for that decision.

2: Coughlin doesn't exactly have BB level job security.

One added thing though...... That BB decision WAS freaking stupid. Said it then. Sayin it now. Would've said it if it worked. It was stupid. But once again that's just my opinion
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
I disagreed due to the fact I believe you are over analyzing the situation a lil bit and then in a second post went on to make up percentages of situational likely hood to support your claim. Not that I disagree too much with those pecentages just that I don't think you should use them to support an argument. That said I would personally rather have a team HAVE to go 70 yards to win then just 70 yards for a FG to tie, with it being exponetially more difficult to punch it in the end zone in those situations versus just getting in fg range, and the D will still almost assuradly be playing off till around mid field anyways and then once they're in range they get a few free plays anyways at the end zone before kicking for OT. But that's just my preference

TJV really said it best with effectively saying it's the type of move that gets coach's fired when it doesn't work out and didn't feel the need to go into detail about it so I just hit the disagree button. I will also add bringing up BB and him going for it on 4th&2 against the Colts to try and come back at it is a lil misleading for 2 reasons.

1: BB did take a ton of heat for that decision.

2: Coughlin doesn't exactly have BB level job security.

One added thing though...... That BB decision WAS freaking stupid. Said it then. Sayin it now. Would've said it if it worked. It was stupid. But once again that's just my opinion

I'm curious as to why I shouldn't use those percentages to support my argument. If we agree that the percentages are at least close, it's mathematically indisputable that going for it on 4th would have been a better call. We're not talking 88 to 85% or so, something within the margin of error. More like 90 to 70, not even close.

I don't agree at all that I'd rather have a team need to go 70 yards to win than 70 to tie. If you make them go 70 to tie, you still have both a chance to win with a missed FG, or win in OT. Even if they drive into FG range, you still have the odds on your side. If they drive 70 to win, you've lost. Seems like a clear cut choice to me.

While it may be true that it's tougher to punch it in around the end zone than get it around the 30, the opposite is true at the other end of the field -- Dallas would have had a much harder time driving it out from their own 1 than the 28, and would have risked a safety and immediate loss with any loss of yards or penalty in the end zone.

I would have run it on 3rd, then again on 4th, and if they had failed Dallas would have been left with about 50 seconds from their own 1, a much more difficult task than they actually had.

Is it overanalysis? Perhaps. But I feel coaches in the near future who choose to 'overanalyze' will be the ones that pull out that close win, the ones who stand by their decision and take the heat either way.

By the way, right or wrong decision by Bellichick aside on the 4th and 2 (debatable both ways), I doubt he really cares about what anyone said or thought about it, and it certainly never put his job in danger. And when anyone is talking about the best minds in football, his is still right near the top - that play changed nothing in that regard.
 

Mondio

Cheesehead
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
15,893
Reaction score
3,795
Run on 3rd takes that clock down to about a minute. Kick it then or if you'd like to run again, it would take off what?6-10 seconds depending on what type of play they ran, simple dive up the middle would be just a few, stretch play a few more, or run around and burn a few more ticks off, not going for the endzone. Now they have about 55-50 seconds to go 90+ yards and no timeouts.

i'd have done the conventional thing and run it on 3rd, then kicked if I had missed it.
 
D

Deleted member 6794

Guest
That ending is getting more and more obscure by the minute. It seems that Eli Manning, for whatever reason, told Rashad Jennings not to score on the first- and second-down runs.
 

Mondio

Cheesehead
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
15,893
Reaction score
3,795
That ending is getting more and more obscure by the minute. It seems that Eli Manning, for whatever reason, told Rashad Jennings not to score on the first- and second-down runs.
oh man, that would be one of the dumbest things i've ever heard of in my life. It's not as if they were up 55 to 3 with a minute to go
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
Run on 3rd takes that clock down to about a minute. Kick it then or if you'd like to run again, it would take off what?6-10 seconds depending on what type of play they ran, simple dive up the middle would be just a few, stretch play a few more, or run around and burn a few more ticks off, not going for the endzone. Now they have about 55-50 seconds to go 90+ yards and no timeouts.

i'd have done the conventional thing and run it on 3rd, then kicked if I had missed it.

I'd have run it again on 4th for the field position and percentage reasons I stated above, I believe it is the better mathematical choice, but I do recognize that few NFL coaches, who almost all err on the side of what they perceive would be a safe call, would have done the same.
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
If Coughlin told Jennings not to score he REALLY overthought things. That part was not that complicated. You're only up 3, a TD makes it a 2 possession game which basically ends it. Get in the end zone and finish them. He would really rather give them the ball back up 6 with 1:30 remaining than up 10 with 2 and change remaining? That just doesn't make sense.
 

Mondio

Cheesehead
Joined
Dec 20, 2014
Messages
15,893
Reaction score
3,795
I wouldn't have a problem running on 4th either, had they run it on 3rd. But they didn't. Incomplete pass, then run? i'm not like that.
 
OP
OP
A

adambr2

Cheesehead
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Messages
4,013
Reaction score
609
I wouldn't have a problem running on 4th either, had they run it on 3rd. But they didn't. Incomplete pass, then run? i'm not like that.

Agreed that running on both would have been better than passing on 3rd either.

Just read Eli gave the order not to score, do that one is on him, not Coughlin. Eli is apparently not an expert in time management. He also could have burned 40 seconds of clock with about 4:00 left after the confusion when Odell took off for the goalline, but instead he snapped it at around 15 or 20 IIRC.
 

Members online

No members online now.

Latest posts

Top