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View Poll Results: Do you AGREE with Belichick's 4th down attempt?
Yes 344 64.06%
No 193 35.94%
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:51 PM   #501
primetimenole
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Here's another brilliant reply, this time to Posnanski on his blog:

Quote:
Brady may have had a better than 60% chance of getting a first down, but the play ended up only having two results. A) Convert and win. B) Don’t convert and lose.

Belichick reduced his team’s chances of winning to a coin flip

It's 50/50, it either happens or it doesn't, right guys?!?!?!?
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:51 PM   #502
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Hoge actually liked it. That surprised me. He also had the wrong reasons but he made the point I'd thought of as well which is that possibly giving Manning the ball at the 30 could be taken to mean you trust your defense more instead of less. I feel like the standard line when teams go for it early near the 50 is that they trust their defense.

I think it's a little weird that nobody else has said that but I guess it's tough when there are only a few guys that have said they like it at all and they likely are doing it to be contrarian. Deion liked it but only because it was a badass thing to do basically. He said it was the wrong call but that he loved it.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:52 PM   #503
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by primetimenole View Post
Here's another brilliant reply, this time to Posnanski on his blog:




It's 50/50, it either happens or it doesn't, right guys?!?!?!?
Wow. I tend to think the 50/50 joke here is lame because nobody would really think like that. Guess I'm wrong.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:53 PM   #504
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Thremp View Post
Good luck trying to convince some owner/GM/dongtard of your job security with a printout of conversion rates and some explanation of game theory.

Until that changes or more BBs make more calls like this and they're praised. It will be an uphill battle for mathematical analysis in football.
LOL. The average owner of a football team is way better at math, way way smarter and way, way, way better at game theory than most of you here - it's not even remotely close. Belichick's boss Robert Kraft in particular, if you could somehow get him to bother with internet discussion boards, would easily one of the most insightful posters here. If anyone gets fired for running a mathematically correct, but unpopular play (or a series of them), it would be because the owner realizes that managing PR, player/staff morale, reputation is more important or because the owner had other reasons to fire him and needed a public excuse, not because he doesn't understand the percentages. The latter is a more important reason for coaches to avoid unpopular plays - often you have your job not because you're wanted, but because the owner is too busy or indifferent enough to actively find or create a reason to fire you. A person in a public leadership position cannot easily be fired without such a public excuse (not just for the fans, but for various people within the organization). Thus, by becoming less popular, you're lowering the cost of letting you go. This is important unless you're certain that you're considered an asset.

I love the thought process here though: your decision sometimes disagrees with my extremely crude approximation based on elementary school mathematics, therefore you suck at math and are incapable of thinking. It's no different from a bunch of bar drunks questioning front office decisions made based on a much more sophisticated set of analyses. Granted, coaches get a lot of decisions wrong because they don't have time to run the percentages during the game and their mind is overwhelmed with other information that they need to consider but they aren't grossly wrong often and they are generally good at maximizing their cognitive abilities. Getting those calls right isn't the only thing he has to do during the game. You absolutely want the coaches to pay most attention to most important things, not things you happen to be able to come close to understanding. This is where a lot of fan analysis goes wrong. The coach's job isn't to get all the obscure decisions right, but to maximize the overall success.

With that said, I think going for it is a no-brainer and questioning it is especially dumb for the reasons stated above. Belichick obviously has way better information about players' physical condition, mindset, motivational anchors, etc and no crude approximation we perform shows the numbers to be grossly in favor of the punt, which is what you need minimally to question a decision like this. Sports journalists as a group produce unbelievably inaccurate criticism because they need to cater to the irrational fan instinct to want to feel superior and to feel like if they were involved in the decision making, somehow things would be better. This instinct largely drives most fans, whether they are armed with elementary knowledge of probability theory or not. Poor, yet excessively critical and arrogant journalism supports this instinct in two ways - if you agree, you get to feel superior to GMs and coaches. If you disagree, you get to feel superior to the management and journalists - by mixing the two groups, it's easy to forget that sports journalists don't run sports franchises, nor is their poor analysis representative of actual decision making processes. Modern sports franchises are run very well and most obviously poor decisions are due to personnel management and organization failures leading to conflicts of interest and have very little to do with people at the top not understanding simple math.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PartyGirlUK View Post
So are you saying that the coaches would actually know that going for it won the game 10% more than punting, and would still punt, or could they just be ignorant?

10% is a huge, huge, huge edge. Put me in an NFL team and let me keep making +10% plays that the crowd won't like, real good chance I'm superstar coach in 5 years imo.
It's a big edge but it's also not noticeable. You're not gonna have a chance to make that many 10% edges plays, where the edge is largely determined through simple statistical analysis without deep understanding of the game. If you have 4 of those every season, you'd add two expected wins in 5 years. This isn't even remotely close to being noticeable, unless it's combined with many other edges.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vixticator View Post
how about this argument...

there's no way belichick knew the %'s before he made the call to go for it... or what i mean is this specific situation is not trivial to go for it and the EV is small... so you should punt because there is no way to explain that this is the right move to the players who have almost certainly never seen a coach go for it in this spot ever before and conventional wisdom is obv punt... do you really want players thinking you cost the game?
This really doesn't matter as much if you're Belichick, won a bunch of super bowls and had a 16-0 season recently, etc. Football players also see a lot of weird playcalls, know that their coach is smarter than they are and are fairly well-conditioned to trust his reasoning. This would be bigger deal if it was some new coach or some not-so-successful coach who's in danger of losing players' confidence.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
And those people are successful enough to have a home internet connection, making it highly likely that they are of above average intelligence.

Wow.
This does cut off some idiots, but this being a rather pointless activity (irony here duly noted) does cut off more intelligent people and more importantly, some of the more intelligent thought processes within the person. There's no incentive to be correct here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ConstantineX View Post
Yes, there is -- I'm not calling the Belichick decision BAD. What I'm saying is that the mathematical calculations in this thread prove nothing, because the EVs given are swamped by the nonlinear combination of the uncertainties. With only 5% uncertainty in the probabilities, I just showed that decision given by one set of parameters is statistically indistinguishable from the decision given by a different set. If we call the "null" or default model in this situation punting, we can't reject it on math alone. Appealing to Belichick's instincts and intuition as a Hall of Fame football coach is a much better justification. The point is, the call is just not obvious.
This, however, does make it a no-brainer. You need a much stronger justification if you disagree with the playcalling and aren't equipped with the football knowledge and instinct, not to mention understanding of the particulars than if you agree with it. Of course, a lot of people have this backward - their intuition based on subpar understanding and horribly incomplete information is the correct decision unless HoF coaches can clearly justify the decisions in whatever terms they can understand.

Furthermore, I haven't seen any argument in favor of punting here that's based on the particulars of the situation. Nearly every deviation from the norm here, appears to push it more strongly in favor of going for it. Pretty much every argument in favor of punting appears to be based on broader generalization, as opposed to being based on a more narrower interpretation of the particular situation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuyV View Post
IDK, most business managers/executives take the low risk route with various decisions - including hiring - for the same reason. Many of them are smart.
Right - this has to do with incentives, uncertainty, risk management and morale. I would argue the opposite - in business, too many people take too much risk by only addressing popularly perceived risks and underestimating their cost. The cost is almost alway higher than anticipated when things fail. Most people who complain about decision makers not taking enough risk usually do so because they instinctively don't see themselves personally bearing the cost when things fail - the rest is rationalization based on how if only others made decisions that you like because it benefits you personally or agrees with your perception, everyone else would be better off too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bschr04 View Post
There are so many situations in life where people end up gambling more in their quest not to gamble.
This is very true. As with the average fan in this situation, people aren't always good at understanding the overall risk picture. And knowing the probabilities doesn't change this under most circumstances either - the average math professor is probably no better at prioritizing his life this way than the average housewife. Balancing and understanding hidden risks is extremely difficult.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
This whole episode proves beyond any doubt that most people, even very successful people, are ****ing ******ed and have no natural instinct towards critical thinking.
This is the equivalent of some inner city kid noticing some billionaire misusing latest street slang and coming to the conclusion that most billionaires are idiots. Because in his world, being able to use language correctly and showing good understanding of that culture is a sign of intelligence. No one has the ability to get everything right. Success is often about getting important things right and leaving other things to fall into places. Any successful person will therefore have flaws that unsuccessful people will notice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Triumph36 View Post
this. i'm reminded of david sklansky's gem of a quote from a. alvarez's 'the biggest game in town', he said this in 1980:

"I [can't work in business because I] was always being told what to do by incompetent people, and I hated it. The world is full of idiots, and I can't handle it."
LOL - this is the business equivalent of "I need to move up to where my raise get respected." It's quite hilarious he doesn't see the irony here. The business world being full of idiots makes being successful in business harder in the exact same sense that a poker game being full of idiots makes making money in the game harder.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCollins View Post
It's quite incredible. I'm in an email thread with some friends of mine, all of whom are incredibly smart and even critical thinkers of some sort. 1 is a Lawyer, 1 got 1600 SATs, 1 is football nut and 800 math SAT. Way above your typical sports mouthbreathers. First email was how horrible the decision was, and LOL Belichick. I show them the numbers (came up with on my own, and were even more slanted towards Indy than the website linked here), and it still came up as an easy decision. All three are telling me that the stats mean nothing, it was all emotion, and Indy scores 100% of the time after they fail when going for it. You cannot give them the ball on the 28, no matter what. "Even if it is 4th and 1 inch, and you will make it 95% of the time?" Yes, even then it's foolish, you cannot take that chance.

Absolutely amazing what a different mindset there is out there. We will never understand it. And even if they are smart people, that mindset of being able to gamble when it makes sense just is not there. People do not want to make decisions that could result in bad things, and will make alternate worse decisions, as long as the bad consequences are more "indirect".
You post in the politics forum, read that stuff every day and this sort of irrationality is "absolutely amazing" to you? Btw, if you consider having few cognitive blocks of this sort (as in, inability to apply knowledge correctly due to emotions under a variety of real life circumstances) a critical measure of intelligence, I think you'd be surprised what sorts of people would do well in those.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:53 PM   #505
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

btw, the mentality that leads the masses to such nonsense in this instance (listening to conventional wisdom, refusal to re-examine positions based on evidence) is the same mentality that leads people to have such horrible political beliefs.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:56 PM   #506
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Phone Booth, somehow maintaining his astronomical fail/word ratio despite typing several hundred words per post.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:58 PM   #507
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Here's Nate Silver of www.fivethirtyeight.com (though to be fair he's former 2+2):


-- Bill Belichick is not dumb, provided that his goal is to help the New England Patriots win football games. Instead, much of the NFL's conventional wisdom on when to go for it on fourth down is horribly, horribly wrong -- teams are way too conservative and punt way too often. This is the one case where 9-year olds playing Madden -- it's no fun to punt in a video game -- quite literally make better decisions than most NFL head coaches. With that said, since the same flawed conventional wisdom can govern hiring and firing decisions, there may be a price to be paid for unconventional (if statistically correct) playcalling; see also Marty Mornhinweg.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:58 PM   #508
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
Almost certainly not Tomlin.
Tomlin went for it on 4th and 1 earlier this year on his own 30 and this was just in the ordinary course of a game. Might not actually do it here, but would definitely consider it.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:59 PM   #509
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Phone Booth : Business & Investing
pvn : Politics
GREEEEAR: SE
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:00 PM   #510
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Not enough business analogies ITT.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:00 PM   #511
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

All the Dungy Haters ITT have short memories.

Colts at Bolts Nov. 23rd, 2008

Quote:
4th-1, SD48 0:26 P. Manning passed to M. Harrison to the left for 14 yard gain
That game was tied 20-20 and the Chargers had 2 timeouts remaining.

Dungy went for the win when lots of coaches punt for OT.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:02 PM   #512
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

suicidal play by a now suicidal team.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:07 PM   #513
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

you cannot have a RNG/algorithm select plays for you... against the rules
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:08 PM   #514
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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you cannot have a RNG/algorithm select plays for you... against the rules
Dan Harrington watch move has to be legal though, right?
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:08 PM   #515
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

wow phone booth, way to interpret the quote terribly. the part i omitted was that sklansky claimed that other considerations - namely how much people like you - play far too much into the business world. that was sklansky's whole point - that being evaluated by idiots who respect different ideas of what makes someone a good actuary is far from ideal. whether or not the system can be figured out in the same fashion as poker isn't up for debate, and not at all what sklansky is talking about.

the rest of your post is panglossian drivel - this sort of evaluation is precisely the sort of thing that most people are terrible at doing. people are universally bad at thinking that good decisions can lead to bad outcomes. they're bad at it because it goes against the way we experience the world.

Last edited by Triumph36; 11-16-2009 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:09 PM   #516
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Dan Harrington watch move has to be legal though, right?
I'd assume so
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:09 PM   #517
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Shanahan might have called this play too
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:10 PM   #518
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Interesting.

I'm guessing you could also print out massive sheets with plays grouped by type or something. Team 2p2 would do something like that IMO.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:11 PM   #519
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Doug Gottlieb just read the Posnanski blog on air and agreed with him.

Finally someone with a brain at ESPN.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:15 PM   #520
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

trent dilfer needs to kill himself
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:16 PM   #521
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

sean payton is never going there - he wanted to kick the fg before halftime in miami ffs.

also merril hoge, who is normally a complete ******, liked the call - no idea what to make of that. props i guess.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:18 PM   #522
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Steroid Boy View Post
trent dilfer needs to kill himself
I really wish someone would ask BB about Dilfer's comments, just so he could say that he would have punted if Trent Dilfer's was playing quarterback for either team and understands why he's confused about how the strategy changes with a competent player at quarterback for either team.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:22 PM   #523
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoodleMan View Post
All the Dungy Haters ITT have short memories.

Colts at Bolts Nov. 23rd, 2008



That game was tied 20-20 and the Chargers had 2 timeouts remaining.

Dungy went for the win when lots of coaches punt for OT.
Wasn't there a play a few years earlier where Dungy tried to send the punt team but Manning basically said "no" and stayed on the field? Maybe Dungy's just going along for the ride because he doesn't want to get shown up by Manning again.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:22 PM   #524
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by RacersEdge View Post
Add Scott Van Pelt and whoever his partner is to the clueless list.
His partner even went so far as to say anyone who agrees with BB should lose their right to talk for a week.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:22 PM   #525
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Dudd View Post
I really wish someone would ask BB about Dilfer's comments, just so he could say that he would have punted if Trent Dilfer's was playing quarterback for either team and understands why he's confused about how the strategy changes with a competent player at quarterback for either team.
looooollll
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