It’s a new football season, which means a new Tuesday Morning Quarterback season. This year, Gregg Easterbrook can be found at NYTimes.com. Gregg has convinced me that going for a 4th down conversion is the logical move more often than most head coaches will admit, among other unorthodox strategies that have statistical support, but not the support of the “experts.”
You tell ’em, coach. The reason to make any call is to win the game, not to avoid uncomfortable questions from the press. Making fraidy cat decisions my point the blame of a loss at your kicker or the holder or what have you, but they seldom are instrumental in victory. You might win with them, but you just don’t win because of them. Correlation does not equal causation.
In today’s TMQ column, Gregg points out the statistical likelihood of kicking an extra point following a touchdown from the 15 and going for the two point conversion from the 2, both running and passing the ball. To give you a TL;DR on this, going for 2 is successful greater than 50% of the time while kicking for 1 is successful less than 100% of the time. Thus, the expected points a team can come away with are greater if your team goes for it more frequently. So NFL teams ought to just go for it!
While I’m on the subject, the PAT rule in the NFL has removed the surprise factor from the play. It used to be that you could kick for one or go for two, with both plays beginning at the 2 yard line. If you lined up to kick and instead faked the play, you could end up with 2 points against the opposing team’s kicking defense. But now that the 2 point play is known in advance and the 1 point play begins at the 15 yard line, there’s no incentive to fake out the other team and go for it. This should not be so!
So here’s my proposal. If your team lines up at the 15 to kick the extra point, but instead get the ball past the end zone by running or passing it according to standard rules, your team should be rewarded an additional 3 points. So a touchdown plus a successful fake would net you 9 points.
Yes, there are times this would be the only play available toward the end of a game. But think of the excitement this would create! Imagine your starting quarterback serving as the holder for the kicker on a more regular basis so the fake wouldn’t be telegraphed so easily!
What do you think? Is this an idea you could support? Why or why not?