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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 11-17-2009, 07:10 PM   #776
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Arizona 4th and 1 at the 50
3:40 to go in the 3rd qtr
game tied at 17

Arizona punted
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:16 PM   #777
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Put Belichick in charge of healthcare
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:18 PM   #778
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

This may well be the watershed moment for 4th down that pretty much every regular football poster here has been expecting to eventually happen for years. It was only a matter of time given the money involved and the obvious intelligence of so many people in positions of power in the league. I do think, however, that just like Baseball and sabremetrics there will continue to be ******s who dismiss the "stat/math geeks."
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:20 PM   #779
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Awesome. Exactly what I was talking about when I made the politics analogy like 250 posts ago.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:25 PM   #780
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Players are probably the worst people to ask about these things. They are almost conditioned not to think logically or strategically about the game.
Absolutely. I think a lot of them are dismayed by what they perceive as use of all these statistics and percentages as justification for making critical decisions rather than based on the ability of the players.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:25 PM   #781
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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This may well be the watershed moment for 4th down that pretty much every regular football poster here has been expecting to eventually happen for years. It was only a matter of time given the money involved and the obvious intelligence of so many people in positions of power in the league. I do think, however, that just like Baseball and sabremetrics there will continue to be ******s who dismiss the "stat/math geeks."
I'm not sure how many people have been "converted" - maybe just those on the fringe with an open mind. The test is if 4th down attempts go up from this point.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:28 PM   #782
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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One thing that is tilting me is how people are just horribly abusing the inputs into these equations. I mean, this guy is using 66% as his estimate for the Patriots getting a first down because that's what the Patriots have done with Tom Brady at quarterback and 4th and 2, never mind that that probably just means that they are 6 for 9 or 12 for 18 in those situations, just an absurdly low sample size. ESPN plugged Hansen's net punting average of 44 yards from that night into advanced NFL stat's equation to come up with their numbers last night, again never mind that during the season he's averaged 33 yards per net punt and 44 yards would place him 4th in the league. I mean, I guess it's better than hearing Trent Dilfer's comments, but have they ever heard of garbage in/garbage out?
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:37 PM   #783
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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This is a key point. The numbers have to be quite clearly against Belichick's decision for this to be a genuine controversy.
I agree with a lot of what you've written in this thread. However, it is not clear to me by what mechanism you've determined that Belichick is a good coach. It almost seems like the result of something like an efficient markets argument (which is the flavor that I think triumph was referring to as Panglossian.) A lot of your argument boils down to pointing out that simplistic approximate analysis fails to capture much of what coaches know and or do, but without tools like that I fail to see what evaluative framework you could have for concluding which coaches are good or bad, since there are other major confounding factors (e.g. the talent of their player pool, most obviously) that make it questionable to rely solely on results.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:07 PM   #784
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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One thing that is tilting me is how people are just horribly abusing the inputs into these equations. I mean, this guy is using 66% as his estimate for the Patriots getting a first down because that's what the Patriots have done with Tom Brady at quarterback and 4th and 2, never mind that that probably just means that they are 6 for 9 or 12 for 18 in those situations, just an absurdly low sample size. ESPN plugged Hansen's net punting average of 44 yards from that night into advanced NFL stat's equation to come up with their numbers last night, again never mind that during the season he's averaged 33 yards per net punt and 44 yards would place him 4th in the league. I mean, I guess it's better than hearing Trent Dilfer's comments, but have they ever heard of garbage in/garbage out?
Exactly. That is not even the worst part, even assuming a statistically significant sample size, the input he uses is for 4th and 2 or less, um its not 4th and 2 or less, it is 4th and 2, the most difficult part of the range you are citing. Futher, again assuming a statisitically significant sample size, there are lots of different 4th and 2 situations (4th and 2 when you are down by 15, 4th and 2 on your own side of field with less than 30 seconds where deep ball is a significant part of equation for defense, etc.). This situation, 4th and 2 to end the game has to be the most difficult part of the range. In fact, the most analagous situation is a 2pt conversion which is 45% league average and probably only slightly greater than 50% for Tom Brady v. Colts D.

Now I'm not saying it is a bad call, I go back to my original thought that it was probably a slightly correct call if you can somehow get the inputs right and worse case scenario it was a tiny mistake which makes my head hurt when I see these pundits saying what a terrible call it was.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #785
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Dudd View Post
One thing that is tilting me is how people are just horribly abusing the inputs into these equations. I mean, this guy is using 66% as his estimate for the Patriots getting a first down because that's what the Patriots have done with Tom Brady at quarterback and 4th and 2, never mind that that probably just means that they are 6 for 9 or 12 for 18 in those situations, just an absurdly low sample size. ESPN plugged Hansen's net punting average of 44 yards from that night into advanced NFL stat's equation to come up with their numbers last night, again never mind that during the season he's averaged 33 yards per net punt and 44 yards would place him 4th in the league. I mean, I guess it's better than hearing Trent Dilfer's comments, but have they ever heard of garbage in/garbage out?
Isn't it likely that it was a much more simple situation in BB's head instead of the all these numbers and ****.

Hmm.....Peyton has been shredding my defense with ease this quarter and they are completely gassed.

We've been getting anything we want vs. the Indy D.

I have a play that I'm confident will get us a 1st down.

That extra 30-40 yards isn't going to make a huge difference with how my D is playing vs. Peyton right now.

Go for it.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:54 PM   #786
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

its also frustrating how a lot of the tards neglect the fact that if NE punts, the Colts will have an easier time going from 70 yards away to 30 yards away than from 30 yards away to scoring. so that's a big argument for going for it that a lot of people have neglected.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:54 PM   #787
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by gumpzilla View Post
I agree with a lot of what you've written in this thread. However, it is not clear to me by what mechanism you've determined that Belichick is a good coach. It almost seems like the result of something like an efficient markets argument (which is the flavor that I think triumph was referring to as Panglossian.) A lot of your argument boils down to pointing out that simplistic approximate analysis fails to capture much of what coaches know and or do, but without tools like that I fail to see what evaluative framework you could have for concluding which coaches are good or bad, since there are other major confounding factors (e.g. the talent of their player pool, most obviously) that make it questionable to rely solely on results.
i really wanted to respond to his post but figured i was going to wordbomb the thread so i didn't. but yes, this is pretty much what i would say if i were awesome at internet arguing.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:09 PM   #788
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Charlie.Dont.Surf View Post
Isn't it likely that it was a much more simple situation in BB's head instead of the all these numbers and ****.

Hmm.....Peyton has been shredding my defense with ease this quarter and they are completely gassed.

We've been getting anything we want vs. the Indy D.

I have a play that I'm confident will get us a 1st down.

That extra 30-40 yards isn't going to make a huge difference with how my D is playing vs. Peyton right now.

Go for it.
Well I'm sure that BB didn't break out the calculator, he has been quoted as having read the seminal study on 4th down decision making, so I can only assume that he has a much more solid grasp of the numbers than most other coaches, which is why it even occurred to him in the first place to go for it. Moreover, any sort of analysis of the situation is going to see if his intuition matched up with a more analytical approach after the fact, in which case using the most accurate numbers possible is important.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:24 PM   #789
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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its also frustrating how a lot of the tards neglect the fact that if NE punts, the Colts will have an easier time going from 70 yards away to 30 yards away than from 30 yards away to scoring. so that's a big argument for going for it that a lot of people have neglected.
I don't think anyone is bothering to analyze this as everyone knows this is worthless. The Pats will gladly give up the short underneath throw here, like every prevent is designed to do.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:38 PM   #790
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Well I'm sure that BB didn't break out the calculator, he has been quoted as having read the seminal study on 4th down decision making, so I can only assume that he has a much more solid grasp of the numbers than most other coaches, which is why it even occurred to him in the first place to go for it. Moreover, any sort of analysis of the situation is going to see if his intuition matched up with a more analytical approach after the fact, in which case using the most accurate numbers possible is important.
To add yet another awful poker reference, I think it's like a SNG/MTT guy that decides to push. He's not working through the exact calculations at the table but because he's studied the situation he has a good idea what they will say.

I've said before that I think every team should have some kind of strategy coordinator that spends the week working out all of these kinds of calculations to give the coach advice. It would have helped even here if some nerdy 2+2er type would have told BB before third down that going for it on fourth would be the way to go. Having someone work out all of this, going for 2, using timeouts and onside kicks would add a decent percentage of a win over a season and I don't think they'd have trouble finding someone to do it for something like $75K. Compared to upgrading players or other coaches I think there would be crazy value. It's just a guess, though.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:40 PM   #791
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

going for it for sure, research has shown people dont go for it often enough on 4th downs
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:41 PM   #792
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

suprised 66% agrree with going for it i thought u fkers would be results oriented
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:19 PM   #793
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

I've thought about this a bunch.

Given how shocked everyone is that they went for it, particularly the NFL vets and ex-coaches.

Clearly the correct call was to fake punt.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:21 PM   #794
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by gumpzilla View Post
I agree with a lot of what you've written in this thread.
Thanks.


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However, it is not clear to me by what mechanism you've determined that Belichick is a good coach.
I didn't think this was in question. He appears to be regarded by pretty much everyone from insiders to journalists to stats people to average fans as a good coach.


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It almost seems like the result of something like an efficient markets argument (which is the flavor that I think triumph was referring to as Panglossian.)
I think this is a good default position in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. Why wouldn't someone at the top of his profession, on average, be very good at what he does?


Quote:
A lot of your argument boils down to pointing out that simplistic approximate analysis fails to capture much of what coaches know and or do, but without tools like that I fail to see what evaluative framework you could have for concluding which coaches are good or bad, since there are other major confounding factors (e.g. the talent of their player pool, most obviously) that make it questionable to rely solely on results.
How do you know if any given employee is good or bad? For that matter how do you make any decision - I'd argue that everyone makes thousands of decisions everyday without having any ability to determine that these are good decisions. Somehow the world goes around despite pretty much no one's work performance being statistically measurable in terms of their effect on the bottom line. Results matter but I think head coaches are evaluated much the same way - people are generally pretty good at evaluating one another's level of competence and people who can't do this usually don't get to make hiring decisions for positions where competence is critical.

I also don't think you need any sort of extraordinary evidence that Belichick is better than any other head coach in this regard either - I suspect that most NFL head coaches are very good at their jobs. The notion that head coaches have no idea what's going on with their players, the flow of the game, opposing players, etc so much so that it's better for them to make all decisions based on statistics derived from the general case is rather extraordinary. This general meme prevalent in all societies that these powerful people in important positions aren't good at what they do seems to be a compensatory, populist form of wishful thinking. In reality, CEOs make much better CEOs than regular people do, your boss would probably do your job better than you would do his, economists and successful financiers do understand economics better than most people, most politicians make better politicians than average people, etc. For many people, these fairly obvious truths are too painful to accept and the popular imagination is shaped around the average person's struggle with his evident inadequacies. This need to have a contrary opinion on a decision made by someone with far superior information and far greater ability to process it that appears to be correct based on general statistical observation is obviously symptomatic of this phenomenon.

One point you may be ignoring is that something that is possibly, but not conclusively, a slightly subpar decision is not worthy of a controversy. I'm sure there are at least hundreds of decisions in each game that can be criticized on this basis. Don't forget that he doesn't have all that much time either.

If your argument is that we can't possibly know certain things, like Belichick's true level of competence or whether any given decision was a good one or not, I agree. This isn't a good basis for a controversy. We don't know a lot of things. That no one can possibly know if any given decision was a good one isn't a good reason for the decision to become controversial, because this is true of practically all but the most obvious decisions.


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Originally Posted by JaredL View Post
I've said before that I think every team should have some kind of strategy coordinator that spends the week working out all of these kinds of calculations to give the coach advice. It would have helped even here if some nerdy 2+2er type would have told BB before third down that going for it on fourth would be the way to go. Having someone work out all of this, going for 2, using timeouts and onside kicks would add a decent percentage of a win over a season and I don't think they'd have trouble finding someone to do it for something like $75K. Compared to upgrading players or other coaches I think there would be crazy value. It's just a guess, though.
This would be interesting - you can probably find someone with a fairly intimate knowledge of the game, probability theory and database/programming skills for not that much. The main cost is diverting the head coach's attention, but if all he does is relating the base probabilities, I think over time it would be easy for the HC to get used to adjusting them for the specificity of the situation, as long as he's somewhat mathematically inclined. The more interesting factor is whether the team would be mocked for being perceived as having some stat nerd call plays, especially when the plays backfire. At the same time, I'm sure there are many other aspects of the game that could be reviewed statistically on some level so I wouldn't be surprised if some teams had employees or consultants do analysis of this sort.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:26 PM   #795
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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This general meme prevalent in all societies that these powerful people in important positions aren't good at what they do seems to be a compensatory, populist form of wishful thinking
It's actually true for most major sports in the US imo. At least, there is a pretty huge variance between good and bad, and the "average" coach/gm actually isn't really that good.

I believe this is true due to owners perceiving that the available talent pool for coaches (with respect to in-game decision making in particular, and personnel decisions in general (specifically young vs. old players)) and (more critically, and more incorrectly) GMs is strictly former players, which is in reality a limited and poor pool of candidates to draw from.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:32 PM   #796
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I've thought about this a bunch.

Given how shocked everyone is that they went for it, particularly the NFL vets and ex-coaches.

Clearly the correct call was to fake punt.
I'd much rather have Brady handle the ball than anyone on the fake punt. But it's not a bad idea.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:40 PM   #797
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

All coaches need to learn that running the ball on third and short when you're killing the clock makes your life a lot easier. Even if you don't make it the Pats are in a far better position. Either you get the Colts to burn the timeout or you get to the two minute warning. In all likelihood you've gotten it to 4th and very short, in which case, feel free to pass.

I know for game theory purposes you have to pass a certain percentage of time, but it feels like teams go pass happy.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:44 PM   #798
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I suspect that most NFL head coaches are very good at their jobs. The notion that head coaches have no idea what's going on with their players, the flow of the game, opposing players, etc so much so that it's better for them to make all decisions based on statistics derived from the general case is rather extraordinary. This general meme prevalent in all societies that these powerful people in important positions aren't good at what they do seems to be a compensatory, populist form of wishful thinking. In reality, CEOs make much better CEOs than regular people do, your boss would probably do your job better than you would do his, economists and successful financiers do understand economics better than most people, most politicians make better politicians than average people, etc. For many people, these fairly obvious truths are too painful to accept and the popular imagination is shaped around the average person's struggle with his evident inadequacies. This need to have a contrary opinion on a decision made by someone with far superior information and far greater ability to process it that appears to be correct based on general statistical observation is obviously symptomatic of this phenomenon.
why this thread has become a pulpit for you to proclaim what is basically worthington's law, i have no idea. is your general point correct? absolutely, most people are more 'qualified' than i am - although it sure seems to me that you are trying to use this to strongarm the thread into discussing a point which I have absolutely no interest in.

it does not mean that every politician is always more qualified than me to politick, and it certainly doesn't mean that every general manager knows more than I do. very successful people make very terrible decisions all the time. That is not to say that I would be better at making the larger portion of their decisions than they are, but to say that I can't identify and criticize some of the decisions made by people who are more successful than I am is beyond ludicrous. I suggest looking at the history of sabermetrics before bringing up Boethius's old canard - that argument from authority is the weakest form of argument. a lot of guys in their parents' basement figured out things that men at the top of the food chain had no idea about.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:58 PM   #799
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I've thought about this a bunch.

Given how shocked everyone is that they went for it, particularly the NFL vets and ex-coaches.

Clearly the correct call was to fake punt.
This is probably true. And applies for a ton of 4th down situations.
It is probably just a question of how much you practice it.
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:00 PM   #800
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I'd much rather have Brady handle the ball than anyone on the fake punt. But it's not a bad idea.
I would have loved to have seen the fear and loathing had they tried a fake punt and failed. well, not really, but man that would have been something to see.
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