The Onion on Fourth Down Strategy

The Onion chimes in on sound football strategy. Funny article, but at the risk of sounding like I have no sense of humor, readers here know better than to punt on 4th and 3 on the defense's 45. It's a slam-dunk easy call: You go for it. Onside kicks are a pretty good idea too, but random challenges and haphazard laterals are probably not.

Thanks to two longtime readers for the pointer--JohnnyMo and Tarr.

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5 Responses to “The Onion on Fourth Down Strategy”

  1. James says:

    What do you think about the Packers decision to kick a 51-yard field goal at the end of the Vikings game? A 51 yarder is no easy feat, but if you make it you are within 3 points with 5 minutes to go. If you go for it and fail, you still need a TD. Even if you make it, you still have to continue the drive for the TD. I can't decide what the right decision was there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It was probably, statistically, the smart thing to do. After the Packers have shelled out their $120 million in players' salaries, I'm sure they've hired a good statistician for $100K to run the numbers. And I'm sure they have the odds on their kicker's chances of success from 51 yards at home. This site acts like the NFL teams have never considered using statistics to get a competitive advantage.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This site consistently shows coaches make terrible decisions, so what makes you think they do?

  4. James says:

    If I used the right numbers and did the math properly, considering the Packers were down by 5 with 4th and 8 on the Vikings 33, I calculated a WP of 0.252 for kicking the field goal and 0.265 for going for it. As far as I am concerned, that's a toss up.

  5. zlionsfan says:

    I seriously doubt the Packers have a statistician to "run the numbers", and even if they did, neither the Packers nor the vast majority of the other NFL coaches would be asking for the best decision, but rather for the most risk-averse decision.

    NFL teams certainly do use statistics to get an advantage, but by and large they do not use statistics in the same way that this site and other sites would if the situations were reversed.

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