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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 11-20-2009, 04:23 PM   #926
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

Just came here to post that Simmons had managed to out-idiot himself today, but it looks like you guys are way ahead of me. Wow though.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:24 PM   #927
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I'll give him credit for trying to find a reason that the Pats don't convert 55.7%. IMO there is a legit argument that historical averages might not capture the true percentage of converting in that exact situation under those exact circumstances. The rest is awful.
It may be a legit argument, but it's almost completely unverifiable.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:26 PM   #928
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

And one more thing - he also argues that we shouldn't trust statistics because one of them said Tim Thomas was underrated and Simmons thinks he is not. But he's citing a statistic that is fairly unconventional. Then to argue against the convential looking stats for this situation, such as "% of times an offense gets 70 yards in 1.5 minutes", he uses an unconventional stat like "number of teams that score 3 TDs in the 4th quarter". He is essentially arguing against himself
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:29 PM   #929
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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It may be a legit argument, but it's almost completely unverifiable.
I'm sure if you go through the historical records you could find a couple hundred 3rd and 1 or 2 which would ice the game should the first down be gained, then compare it to the historical averages and see if there is a statistically significant difference. If there is a meaningful difference, it wouldn't take that many trials to figure it out.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:32 PM   #930
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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It may be a legit argument, but it's almost completely unverifiable.
I know that. Such an evaluation would require precise knowledge of all the variables in the situation. And incredible football knowledge/intelligence. I'm just saying the argument exists and is not completely ******ed.

Also, that's the problem with this argument. There is one person in the world who knew all the variables. Bill Belichick. Is it possible that all the variables aligned against him and Belichick actually did make a bad decision? Yes. But there is no way anyone can say he absolutely made a bad call.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:45 PM   #931
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I know that. Such an evaluation would require precise knowledge of all the variables in the situation. And incredible football knowledge/intelligence. I'm just saying the argument exists and is not completely ******ed.

Also, that's the problem with this argument. There is one person in the world who knew all the variables. Bill Belichick. Is it possible that all the variables aligned against him and Belichick actually did make a bad decision? Yes. But there is no way anyone can say he absolutely made a bad call.
so bill belichick can do massive EV calculations in his head?

a decision like this is from the gut. it can be backed up with math, but it's a 'feel' play (barring any input from his math guru).
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:51 PM   #932
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

I guess I'm not stating my stance clearly. Obviously he's guessing too. He might have guessed right, he might have guessed wrong. Historical averages says he was right. You'd have to adjust the historical averages a fairly large amount to tip it against Belichick's favor, but is it impossible that the variables aligned that way? No. I'm just saying no one can be absolutley 100% certain either way. I still think he made the right call.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:51 PM   #933
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

So many other bad quotes, I'll try to get them all at once:

"It's reckless. It's something that should happen only in video games, and only when you and your roommate are both high."

I don't understand the "only when you're high" comment. Surely the guy's played enough Madden to know that people usually go for it on 4th-and-anything. This kinda stands out because Simmons has always advocated letting the world's best Madden players call plays, since they understand goofy stats and probabilities better than the real NFL coaches and thus could probably win more games. But when an 'unconvential, yet arguably statistically correct' call happens, he calls it reckless. Not sure what side he's on.


"I find it really, really, REALLY hard to believe they would have completed that play 56 times out of 100 times with how they lined up. They spread the field with five receivers, eliminating any chance of a run. The Colts brought pressure -- happily -- ensuring a quick pass and a short field (so Indy's D-backs could hug the line of scrimmage)."

Considering he already said that he believes the Pats converted, why is this really hard to believe?


"One other note: The "disrespecting the defense" card doesn't show up in stats."

Because maybe it doesn't exist?


"That's what Belichick said after the game. Look, I'm glad he felt that way. But isn't life about resisting the urge to try something reckless just because you thought you could do it? "

But this is a game, not life. Aren't games about finding the correct times to do reckless things when you think they're worth doing?


""I thought I wouldn't get caught" is no different from "I thought we could get the 2 yards." It's just not. You either know or you don't."

What the hell does this mean? You're comparing needless speeding because someone told the drive would take longer than you thought to trying to win a football game on a 2-yard attempt? "You either know or you don't"? What does that have to do with anything?


"Stupid. Last time I checked, winning makes the strongest statement. As the great Herm Edwards once said, "You play to win the game. YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" That's really it. The Patriots dominated that entire game, played better football and deserved to win. And they lost."

Yikes. Coming from a guy who once said something to the effect of "see, in Boston, we believe the team that scores the most points is the better team. I thought that's what football games were about" to explain why the Pats would upset better teams. Does he not realize that punting also gave them a risk of losing?


"This week, the Pats made a big stink about looking forward and not letting that defeat affect them. How can it not? How? Isn't the impact much deeper than that of simply losing because Peyton Manning is great and he drove 70 yards to beat them? In the playoffs, when it's life or death, maybe that risk is more defensible. In the regular season, when you're building your team's collective confidence like a bunch of Jenga sticks and can't risk knocking the stack over? No.

Just … no."

So you shouldn't try risky but mathematically correct plays if failing may demoralize the team? I'm pretty sure that losing on a last-second drive would demoralize them as much as going for it and missing.



Ehh...from that point on he starts making more sense, although I guess it wouldn't be Simmons unless he suggested that Belichick was going downhill or something stupid like that. As I recall he thought Big Papi was completely washed up and wrote a big article about it...shortly after he started hitting again. I guess that's just his thing.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:54 PM   #934
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by GuyIncognito View Post
This is like saying "my opponent's range for shoving preflop could contain any pocket pair. I could be behind 80-20 or ahead 20-80, and I don't know exactly how often I'm ahead or behind, so I should default to folding my jacks." Just because you'll never know the "true" probability doesn't make it wrong to try to use an estimate.

Apparently you don't understand what I was contending. In order to estimate you need to use a confidence interval as in +/-, which has yet to be calculated. You can't just take a sample mean and then apply that mean to the whole population of punts or the whole population of 4th down and two to go.

If we only have 100 samples of going for it on4th and 2, that mean is going to be much more variant than the mean of 10,000 samples of punting on 4th and 2.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:55 PM   #935
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Triumph36 View Post
so bill belichick can do massive EV calculations in his head?

a decision like this is from the gut. it can be backed up with math, but it's a 'feel' play (barring any input from his math guru).
I think he studies situations like this enough that he knew it was +EV to go for it there. He also called timeout, so maybe he wanted a bit more time to think it over more before deciding to go for it/calling the play.

EDIT: I wonder if he had a "suggestion" for the play call there. He doesn't call the plays on offense, but I would think he'd want to have input as to that particular play, as big as it was.
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Old 11-20-2009, 04:58 PM   #936
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by Bad Beat Bill View Post
"That's what Belichick said after the game. Look, I'm glad he felt that way. But isn't life about resisting the urge to try something reckless just because you thought you could do it? "

But this is a game, not life. Aren't games about finding the correct times to do reckless things when you think they're worth doing?
Ah,, now we're coming to the heart of the matter. Since sports pretty much are life to Simmons, it's more understandable why he would write something like this.

Really, the whole piece looks like it was a bunch of random, disconnected thoughts thrown together. Maybe he should take a hiatus until his book tour is over.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #937
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

"He played the percentages! It wasn't as crazy as it looked! By this logic, Belichick also should have held a loaded pistol to his head on the sideline, spun the chamber and tried to shoot himself like Chris Walken in "The Deer Hunter." If those 1-in-6 odds came through and he succeeded, we could have said, "Hey, he played the percentages: 83.6666 percent of the time, you don't die in that situation! You can't blame him for what happened!"

Mr. Simmons, what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:09 PM   #938
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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He played the percentages! It wasn't as crazy as it looked! By this logic, Belichick also should have held a loaded pistol to his head on the sideline, spun the chamber and tried to shoot himself like Chris Walken in "The Deer Hunter." If those 1-in-6 odds came through and he succeeded, we could have said, "Hey, he played the percentages: 83.6666 percent of the time, you don't die in that situation! You can't blame him for what happened!""

Sorry to keep posting, but I'm reading this again and really trying to comprehend the stupidity. I mean, at BEST this is an argument for results-oriented thinking. Like people have ever defended any accidental death by saying "people usually don't die in that situation". I just don't understand this at all.
Yup, just absolutely ******ed logic. If Belichick was forced to play Russian Roulette the way he was forced to make that 4th down decision, would he take a gun with one bullet or two?
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:13 PM   #939
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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'm sure if you go through the historical records you could find a couple hundred 3rd and 1 or 2 which would ice the game should the first down be gained, then compare it to the historical averages and see if there is a statistically significant difference. If there is a meaningful difference, it wouldn't take that many trials to figure it out.
You wouldn't get anything precise enough for the "true percentage in that exact situation" which I think is 4th down. For example you would strike the data points where the teams don't resemble the players on the field for Colts and Pats.

But whoever above said that you have to look at the deviation bars is spot on. I bet they would seriously overlap because I think the call was close.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:16 PM   #940
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

My email to BS:


Bill,

You've now got the nerds in a foaming rage. Don't forget that a lot of sports fans are pretty bright. Sports can give the young Keith Olberman's of the world something to focus on, especially if, say, they aren't partial to dungeons and dragons.

I'm not going to go though your statistical analysis line by line, though I assume some will. Suffice to say that it is a mess. Also, I know you don't want to hear it, but bad decisions of others at a BJ table have no effect on the expected value of your decisions.

However, I've liked you for years and you often offer some genuine insight. So let's just forget this little episode and put it behind us and not mention it again.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:25 PM   #941
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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My email to BS:


Bill,

You've now got the nerds in a foaming rage. Don't forget that a lot of sports fans are pretty bright. Sports can give the young Keith Olberman's of the world something to focus on, especially if, say, they aren't partial to dungeons and dragons.

I'm not going to go though your statistical analysis line by line, though I assume some will. Suffice to say that it is a mess. Also, I know you don't want to hear it, but bad decisions of others at a BJ table have no effect on the expected value of your decisions.

However, I've liked you for years and you often offer some genuine insight. So let's just forget this little episode and put it behind us and not mention it again.
This is very offensive

Spoiler:
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:52 PM   #942
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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It's also funny because of how big a stats/numbers guy he is in baseball and basketball, but I guess stats don't work in FOOOOOOTBALLLLLLL!!!
He's not a big numbers guy in baseball at all. Basically, he understands basketball and writes some good stuff about it. But both his baseball and his football writing is done from Joe Fan perspective.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:02 PM   #943
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

I posted on another board, wondering why this decision is gathering so much attention while much worse decisions, like Andy Reid kicking a 52 yard FG down by 7 with 4 minutes left. The response? (paraphrased) "Reid made the proper decision there, if you go for it on 4th and 11 and fail, the game is over."

facepalm.jpg
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:02 PM   #944
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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the new simmons is up.

i'm a fan of simmons and generally i laugh and gloss over his more questionable stuff.

this article is horrible. horrible. i'm actually a little heated right now.
LOL, yeah, I had a friend (not one of the earlier ones) who is also incredibly smart post about how it was a brilliant article.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:06 PM   #945
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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He's not a big numbers guy in baseball at all. Basically, he understands basketball and writes some good stuff about it. But both his baseball and his football writing is done from Joe Fan perspective.
True. I just meant that I think he accepts the use/reliance on stats in those sports, but somehow football is too complicated/emotional/whatever for that.

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Originally Posted by gusmahler View Post
I posted on another board, wondering why this decision is gathering so much attention while much worse decisions, like Andy Reid kicking a 52 yard FG down by 7 with 4 minutes left. The response? (paraphrased) "Reid made the proper decision there, if you go for it on 4th and 11 and fail, the game is over."

facepalm.jpg
Awesome.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:09 PM   #946
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Originally Posted by gusmahler View Post
I posted on another board, wondering why this decision is gathering so much attention while much worse decisions, like Andy Reid kicking a 52 yard FG down by 7 with 4 minutes left. The response? (paraphrased) "Reid made the proper decision there, if you go for it on 4th and 11 and fail, the game is over."

facepalm.jpg
You answered your own question. The same logic that leads to BB making one of the worst coaching decisions of all time makes it right to kick down 7 with 4 minutes left.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:56 PM   #947
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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If you were sitting next to a bookie after the Pats blew fourth-and-2, and that bookie said to you, "The odds of the Colts winning here are 34 percent; I will give you 3-to-1 odds that they score,"
GIMME THAT BOOKIE

Quote:
He played the percentages! It wasn't as crazy as it looked! By this logic, Belichick also should have held a loaded pistol to his head on the sideline, spun the chamber and tried to shoot himself like Chris Walken in "The Deer Hunter." If those 1-in-6 odds came through and he succeeded, we could have said, "Hey, he played the percentages: 83.6666 percent of the time, you don't die in that situation! You can't blame him for what happened!"
LOL

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After all, this was essentially a two-point pass play. [...] So what's the recent history of teams passing for a two-point conversion on the road? Peter Newmann from ESPN Research crunched those numbers for me.
LOL

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In 78 weeks of football dating back to 2005, it happened a whopping four times. Four! If you're playing the statistics card, why not play that one? By punting, the Patriots would have been asking Peyton Manning to pull off something THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN EVEN ONCE EVERY EFFING SEASON. You're damned right I just went all caps. Hold on, I have to repeatedly bang my head against my desk again.
LOL, yes keep banging!

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"I thought I wouldn't get caught" is no different from "I thought we could get the 2 yards." It's just not. You either know or you don't.
YOU KNOW OR YOU DONT.

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That's the thing: There's no going back. I always thought we were in good hands, especially in close games, thanks to an incredibly prepared coach with a knack for making shrewd moves at the right times. Can we say that anymore? The Patriots have five monster defeats since winning Super Bowl XXXIX -- 2005 (Denver, playoffs); 2006 (Indy, AFC title game); 2007 (Giants, Super Bowl XLII); 2008 (Indy, regular season); 2009 (Indy, regular season) -- in which they self-destructed in decidedly un-Belichickian ways. Five years of bad luck and bullet-ridden shoes are starting to add up. So are the soul-crushing last-minute drives by other teams.
OMG Pats fans are so unlucky because you lose regular season and playoff games that you once had a lead in... MBN

Stupidest ****ing article I've ever read. I have more respect for creationists who thinks the earth is 3000 years old.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:06 PM   #948
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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Apparently you don't understand what I was contending. In order to estimate you need to use a confidence interval as in +/-, which has yet to be calculated. You can't just take a sample mean and then apply that mean to the whole population of punts or the whole population of 4th down and two to go.

If we only have 100 samples of going for it on4th and 2, that mean is going to be much more variant than the mean of 10,000 samples of punting on 4th and 2.
I understand completely what you said. The advantage of going for it on 4th down was computed to be +9%, but it might be as high as +20% or as low as -10% (I kind of doubt the 95% confidence interval would be this wide after playing around with the numbers a bit, but I could be wrong). Why exactly should punting be the null hypothesis? Whether you go for it or punt, you're still taking an action based on some estimated probability of success.

Last edited by GuyIncognito; 11-20-2009 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:13 PM   #949
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

According to ANFLS Reid kicking that FG was breakeven.
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:22 PM   #950
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Re: Do you agree with Belichick's 4th down attempt?

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I understand completely what you said. The advantage of going for it on 4th down was computed to be +9%, but it might be as high as +20% or as low as -10% (I kind of doubt the 95% confidence interval would be this wide after playing around with the numbers a bit, but I could be wrong). Why exactly should punting be the null hypothesis? Whether you go for it or punt, you're still taking an action based on some estimated probability of success.
The null should always be the status quo, which is likely punt, since almost every other coach would punt here (whether right or wrong). Also, we can never prove the null hypothesis correct, we can only disprove it to a certain confidence.

I just think trying to prove this by mathematics is going to turn out to end up leaving many holes in our logic and assumptions.

I'm not trying to argue one way or the other. But, I think the way people have been proving this mathematically is somewhat illogical by not including variance.
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