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xaja
Joined: 06 Nov 2004 Posts: 1968

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 2:27 am Post subject: 4th and 2. Belicheck was right to go for it. 


I hate the Patriots, but I respect them. Bill is a damn good coach and he made the right decision to go for it. Coaches, players, announcers, and fans who don't understand advanced probability will disagree. However, if you understand the math then the best choice is clear.
I posted a short analysis below. It is a good description, however, the best explanation of the why Bill was right to go for it is explained in a fairly long 4 part article. If you like math or football I encourage you to give this a gander:
http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/09/4thdownstudypart1.html
Quote:  New England coach Bill Belichick is taking a lot of heat for his decision to attempt a 4th down conversion late in the game against the Colts. Indianapolis came back to win in dramatic fashion. Was the decision a good one?
With 2:00 left and the Colts with only one timeout, a successful conversion wins the game for all practical purposes. A 4th and 2 conversion would be successful 60% of the time. Historically, in a situation with 2:00 left and needing a TD to either win or tie, teams get the TD 53% of the time from that field position. The total WP for the 4th down conversion attempt would therefore be:
(0.60 * 1) + (0.40 * (10.53)) = 0.79 WP
A punt from the 28 typically nets 38 yards, starting the Colts at their own 34. Teams historically get the TD 30% of the time in that situation. So the punt gives the Pats about a 0.70 WP.
Statistically, the better decision would be to go for it, and by a good amount. However, these numbers are baselines for the league as a whole. You'd have to expect the Colts had a better than a 30% chance of scoring from their 34, and an accordingly higher chance to score from the Pats' 28. But any adjustment in their likelihood of scoring from either field position increases the advantage of going for it. You can play with the numbers any way you like, but it's pretty hard to come up with a realistic combination of numbers that make punting the better option. At best, you could make it a wash. 
I'm glad the Colts won. Punt or no punt, Peyton Manning beat the odds to pull off the win. 

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BOOBY SAUCE
Joined: 11 Jun 2003 Posts: 113 Location: lower and to the left

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 10:53 am Post subject: 


I would have punted.
There are stats for everything, but you have to play by the feel of the game.
The pats got 8 yrds on the previous 3 plays. Why so sure they can get the last 2? They basically lost the game on THAT play. If they punted, the colts
would have had to run at least 5 or 6 more plays than they did, increasing the chances that your defense could make a play or the colts make a mistake. Kinda like playing zone defense in ultimate (more throws = better chance at mistake)
Anyway, I wish both teams could have lost 

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Monster
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 Posts: 2946

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 11:08 am Post subject: 


I have to agree with Bob. The correct thing would have been to punt, BUT I do really admire Belichick's balls. Cousin Sal was trying to cheer up Bill Simmons on the last podcast and put forth this theory: Belichick is like an old king whose done everything and gotten everything. 3 Superbowls, respect from everyone in the league, an assured place in the hall of fame, and he just kind of got bored. Fuck it, he thought, I'm going to go for fourth and 2 because I'm bored and haven't done this before. Sure, it backfired, but if it had succeeded it still would have been front page news. Bottom line, it cost them home field in the AFC champ game, BUT, this is ultimately going to inspire the patriots to play better cause Belichick is pissed off. Remember the last time Belichick was this pissed off. Yeah, 2007. 

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wax6
Joined: 11 Aug 2005 Posts: 79

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 11:14 am Post subject: 


Math, algebra, odds.....it's all crap jax. Yes, the patriots (since 2001 when Brady got the start) have a 60% chance of make a fourth and two. And yes, with Moss and Welker and Brady you should make this.....but they throw the ball to an LSU kid.
But more importantly, do you give Manning the ball at the 29 on his side or their's  I would take the chance of stopping the colts going 70 yards with one timeout than 29! It's common sense. If your the math wiz....what are the odds of scoring a TD from 30 yards out vs. 70??
Yes, old man bill does have some large nuts for going for the victory, but you assured yourself defeat after the failed attempt. Your up by six....not seven or eight where you could still go to overtime.....Punt the ball!
And you were right about ole miss over tenn (I didn't want to answer your call) _________________ Giddy Up! 

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Steven
Joined: 19 Aug 2009 Posts: 68

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 12:29 pm Post subject: 


Going for it makes sense to me. If you punt, you HAVE to stop Manning (who has been on fire in the 4th quarter) for 70 yards. Still plenty of time on the clock too, with a timeout and the two minute warning to work with. If you go for it and make it, you win. If you go for it and dont make it, you still get the chance to stop Manning, albeit, for only 30 yards. 

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Michael
Joined: 29 Oct 2003 Posts: 510 Location: None

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 12:43 pm Post subject: 


I agree with his decision to go for it also. I don't know where that 60% chance of making it stat came from, but I think the probability was even higher than that considering the Pats had already had over 470 yards of offense that night. When the game is on the line you put it in the hands of your best players and your team's strength, which for the Pats is the offense. You don't rely on a defense that just had 14 points scored on it in the past 5 minutes. 

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Tdogg
Joined: 10 Sep 2004 Posts: 761 Location: WCOB grad lab

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 2:16 pm Post subject: 


Christopher Price notes that Belichick has admitted to reading David Romer's (a toptier economist) research, which used dynamic programming (a type of optimization, really) to show that teams, on average, were generally better off going for fourth down with small yardage requirements:
http://www.weei.com/sports/boston/patriots/christopherprice/2009/11/16/whenitcomesfourthdownbelichickanythingcon
If you're feeling extra savvy, check out the original:
http://elsa.berkeley.edu/users/dromer/papers/nber9024.pdf _________________ "Look, yes, I have banged hundreds of broads, internationally, but know this: I wrap my rascal two times cause I like it to be joyless and without sensation as a way of punishing supermodels."  Master Shake 

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xaja
Joined: 06 Nov 2004 Posts: 1968

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 7:05 pm Post subject: 


Bob, Nick, and wax you have been programed to think you should punt in that situation. All of your lives you have been told to do so and anyone who considers not punting is blasted by the media. I implore you to open your mind and examine your beliefs. Reread the articles with a fresh perspective. If you still disagree so be it. 

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xaja
Joined: 06 Nov 2004 Posts: 1968

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 9:09 pm Post subject: 


Monster wrote:  Remember the last time Belichick was this pissed off. Yeah, 2007. 
181
wax6xaw wrote:  Math, algebra, odds.....it's all crap jax. Yes, the patriots (since 2001 when Brady got the start) have a 60% chance of make a fourth and two. 
Actually 60% is a league baseline. The Patriots have a better percentage. The Patriots have converted 76.4 percent of similar fourthdown plays.
Also, Belichick has gone for it 16 times on fourth down against the Colts ‚Äî and converted 12. Using 60% is an attempt to give punting a fairer shake than it deserves.
If you use the Pats conversion percentage then going for it increases your win percentage(WP) to an astonishing 87%.
Going For It:
(.764 * 1) + (0.236 * (10.53)) = 0.87 WP
BOOBY SAUCE wrote:  ...They basically lost the game on THAT play. If they punted, the colts would have had to run at least 5 or 6 more plays than they did, increasing the chances that your defense could make a play or the colts make a mistake. 
Punting:
If you punt the chances the Colts drive 70 yds to win is also better than 30% because 30% is a league baseline. The Colts have a great offense, but here is the kicker, the better you think the Colts are at scoring the worse the Pats WP is if they punt.
If you think the Colts will drive the field 40% of the time then the Pats WP is 60%. If you think the Colts chances are 45% then the Pats WP drops to 55%.
To put it another way, if you were playing poker or gambling in vegas would you choose an option that is 87% or 55% to win.
wax6xaw wrote: 
But more importantly, do you give Manning the ball at the 29 on his side or their's  I would take the chance of stopping the colts going 70 yards with one timeout than 29!... If your the math wiz....what are the odds of scoring a TD from 30 yards out vs. 70?? 
Did either you or bob read anything I posted? This kind of thinking is logistically flawed. You are not considering all factors. Of course Manning has better odds of scoring if he only has to go 30 yards instead of 70, but you are oversimplifying. You cannot ignore the odds of converting when making this decision.
Do communications majors have to take a logic course? Either way you need to enlist in one. I would also recommend you seek correspondence in probability.
wax6xaw wrote: 
It's common sense.

Really? You are going to make this argument. I thought I taught you better. If you need me to obliterate the common sense argument I will but remember what I taught you. Which of these is bigger the naturals or the integers; the integers or the rationals; a number line or a plane?
OR
Consider two test for AIDS. One is 95% effective and the other is only 92% effective. Which one is the better test? I warn you that common sense is mistaken.
ANSWER: http://staff.imsa.edu/math/journal/volume3/articles/AidsTesting.pdf
Common sense you say. I prefer real reasons.
Last edited by xaja on Wed, 11.18.09 5:15 am; edited 2 times in total 

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xaja
Joined: 06 Nov 2004 Posts: 1968

Posted: Tue, 11.17.09 11:33 pm Post subject: 


xaja wrote:  Which of these is bigger the naturals or the integers; the integers or the rationals; a number line or a plane?

Perhaps I should clarify for everyone. Hopefully this already makes sense to wax since i have shown him before. We are debating which infinity is bigger, the naturals or the integers.
Naturals: 1, 2, 3...
Integers: ...3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 3...
Common sense dictates that the number of natural numbers is smaller than number of integers. Think about it; the naturals continue in one direction (positive) forever and the integers continue in both the positive and negative direction(s) forever.
It is as if we are comparing a short line segment ______ to a longer line segment _______________________. Which one has more numbers in it? Using common sense here is wrong.
Rather than debating infinity, for now lets just examine a finite set. Consider students (denoted S) and desks (denoted D) as our set.
CASE ONE: If one walks into a classroom and you see empty desks then there are more desks than students. D>S
CASE TWO: If some of the students have to stand then the number of students is larger than the number of desks. D<S
CASE THREE: You see that every desk has a student sitting in it and there are no students standing so the two sets are equal. D=S In mathematics, we call this one to one (11) and onto b/c for every desk there is one and only one student paired up with it.
It turns out that the naturals are the same size as the integers b/c we can find a 11 and onto function from the integers to the naturals. We say they have the same cardinality. Don't believe it? See the proof outline below.
In order to map the integers 11 and onto the naturals pair them up as follows.
Integers>Naturals
__________________
0>1
1>3
2>5
3>7
...
__________________
1>2
2>4
3>6
...
As one can see I am mapping all the positive numbers(& zero) to the odd naturals and all negative numbers to the even naturals. If one continues ad infinitum then all of the integers have been paired up with exactly one natural.
It turns out that the naturals and the integers; the integers and the rationals; _______ and _______________; a number line and plane all have the same cardinality ie they have the same quantity of infinite.
However, don't think that all infinite sets are the same. The Reals are bigger than the naturals. In fact, there are an infinite number of infinite sizes, but I think I have already said enough on the subject. 

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Jacob
Joined: 13 May 2003 Posts: 1714

Posted: Wed, 11.18.09 12:47 am Post subject: 


Belichick has AIDS? _________________ Bitches, Leave.
Robocop 

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Kearney
Joined: 02 Dec 2008 Posts: 708 Location: The Projects

Posted: Wed, 11.18.09 2:51 am Post subject: 


Going against a team on 4th down on madden always kills me. its the extra play you never see coming, and the defense is nervous as balls. like when a team has the disc within 5 yards of the redzone for more than 10 seconds or 3 throws. I go for it everytime. Punting is for amateurs. _________________ This is not the signature you are looking for 

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xaja
Joined: 06 Nov 2004 Posts: 1968

Posted: Wed, 11.18.09 4:57 am Post subject: 


Doing math is like having werewolf sex, and if you aren't doing it you should be!
Always going for it on 4th down is not optimal, but mathematical probability dictates coaches should go for it more often than they do if they want to increase their chances of winning.
Read this article for the full analysis: http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/09/4thdownstudypart1.html
Here is the cliff notes/picture version for the illiterates like Kevin Bobby Bolen:
The chart is an abbreviated guideline that will serve you well for Madden, NCAA, and real life. However, it is not perfect because it does not consider the current score or time left on the clock. If you want to understand every scenario you will have to read and use more math.
In conclusion, math covers rock, crushes scissors, and cuts paper. 

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evan mcb
Joined: 05 Apr 2004 Posts: 1951

Posted: Wed, 11.18.09 8:56 am Post subject: 


Knowing that whatever football move you're talking about works 60% of the time doesn't count at all in the actual game. It doesn't consider what's happening fundamentally in the game. The technical percentage only counts in the market of knowing how likely it is that move would ever work. So as a spectator you would be right to BET on that move working, but as a participant (coach) you would potentially change the outcome by even considering the percentage. Therefore, Ajax is right to think as he does, but if Belichick thought as Ajax does, he would be wrong. _________________ social networking 

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Monster
Joined: 06 Apr 2003 Posts: 2946

Posted: Wed, 11.18.09 10:33 am Post subject: 


Ajax, i'm not going to respond to the math. If you want to start throwing around equations, i'm going to wait for McGee of Tanner to break it down. My first thought is that there are too many variables to rightly consider.
Which leads me to a point you haven't discussed yet, team psychology.
Does the defense resent Belichick not trusting them enough to stop, or at least slow down the colts in the last 2 minutes? Seems like going for it that close to your own endzone on 4th down is a real sign of distrust toward your defense. 

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