September 14, 2005

NFL follies

I've long wondered at the inability of NFL coaches to grasp the following concept: when it's late in the game and you're down by multiples of 7 points, a field goal, even a successful one, is pointless because-surprise!- you still need a touchdown. Invariably, teams that kick this less than useless field goal to shrink the margin to the you-still-need-a-touchdown-jagoff point end up losing. Take last year's playoff game between the Patriots and the Steelers. New England had jumped out to a buge lead, but Pittsburgh had closed to within 14 points and had the ball at the New England 2 yard line. Almost an entire quarter remained to played and the crowd is going beserk. Going for it is the only intelligent decision, since you're two scores behind and a field goal leaves you, uh, still two scores behind. Besides, if they'd failed, New England would have been pinned at their own 2-yard line, meaning that you're defense would be in a great position to make a play. Instead, Pittsburgh wussed out and kicked, at which point I turned off the television; the outcome had already been decided.

On to the recent past, where... oh heck, I'll let TMQ fill you in:

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk: Trailing 17-10, the Minnesota Vikings faced fourth-and-goal on the Tampa 4 with 6:17 remaining and the Metrodome crowd roaring at experimental refrigerator decibel levels. ( What's that?) A touchdown ties the game; a missed fourth-and-goal try leaves the visitors pinned against their end zone amidst deafening noise; a field goal means you've still got to score a touchdown. Go for it! TMQ's immutable law: Kick Early, Go For It Late. Now it's late, go for it! In trots the field-goal unit, and the Vikings end up losing. (Note: when it's still early, kick. In the third quarter, Washington faced fourth-and-goal on the Chicago 1, trailing 7-6. Joe Gibbs sent in the field-goal unit as the hometown crowd booed, and the figgie proved the winning points.)

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:44 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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