You Be the Judge

You Be the Judge Vincent Verhei 04 Oct 2021, 03:05 pm

New York Giants HC Joe Judge

Last week, after his third consecutive loss to open the 2021 campaign and boasting a measly 6-13 vocation record, New York Giants head coach-and-four Joe Judge was asked about his conservative actions on fourth down.

He replied, “Analytics is just a tool. You can look at a stat sheet all you want. I promise you if Excel was gonna win football games, Bill Gates would be killing it right now.”

Well, he was correct in claiming that analytics is just a tool, but it is a very powerful tool that is creating a developing abys between its enlightened advocates and its naysayers. NFL coaches can choose to shun this revolution, but they do so at their own peril. Judge’s comments invited some scrutiny, and it is easy to see why. After finishing 29 th among 32 NFL head coach-and-fours in the EdjSports higher-rankings last-place season, he owned the fourth-highest error rate going into Week 4 of this season, with a total cost of -1 9.5% Game-Winning Chance( GWC ). With this track record in psyche, we decided to take a close look at his decisions in Sunday’s contest against the Saints.

I must confess this article would have been easier to write if the Giant didn’t manage to overcome a late 11 -point deficit and win in overtime. Nonetheless, as we often emphasize at EdjSports, good decision-making is not be calculated by short-term results.

Four Key Errors

Situation Play Choice Cost Fourth-and-1, Saints 16 -yard line

rating 0-0, 13:20 second quarter Land objective strive -2.9% GWC

Fourth-and-goal, 5-yard line

trailing 14 -7, 8: 36 third one-quarter Battleground objective try -1.2% GWC

Fourth-and-2, NYG 30 -yard line

trailing 14 -1 0, 3:33 third one-quarter Punt -1. 4% GWC

Fourth-and-8, Saints 47 -yard line

trailing 21 -1 0, 9:31 fourth quarter

Punt -1.3% GWC

If a total of -6. 8% GWC doesn’t seem like much, consider that at this rate per play the Giant would expend 1.29 expected plays this season. Their total cost through four weeks now stands at -2 6.3% GWC.

Prior to the fourth-and-1 at 13:20 of the first one-quarter, the Giants complicated questions by attempting a low-percentage shot at the end zone. This is a tactic that seems to be biased by the realized guarantee of three points on a fourth-down field goal attempt. In practice, it often spends two opportunities to convert the first down. To show the fallacy of this strategy we can look at a hypothetical comparison of two-play parlays.

Strategy 1: Assume a 10% touchdown rate on the third-down pass with a fourth-down field goal attempt if necessary.

Strategy 2: Short run on third down with assumption of 70% conversion rate and merely 1-yard gain. Repeat on fourth down if necessary.

Using model-generated corresponding GWCs we get 😛 TAGEND

Strategy 1: (. 10 x 51.6% GWC)+ (. 90 x 37.7% GWC)= 39.1% GWC

Strategy 2: (. 70 x 44.8% GWC)+ (. 30 x. 70 x 44.8% GWC)+ (. 30 x. 30 x 31.4% GWC)= 43.5% GWC

In this simplified instance, the Giants would require an 18.5% touchdown rate on third down( without peril of turnover) to compensate for the field goal attempt on fourth-and-1. Of course, they do better in all scenarios by going for it on fourth-and-1.

The fourth-and-goal decision at the 5-yard line is a difficult one. The residual appreciate of having the Saints begin their subsequent drive backed up to the goal line when the fourth down strive fails is the key factor.

Going for it on fourth-and-2 from your own 30 -yard line is counterintuitive for most coach-and-fours, and Judge likely didn’t even consider the option. It is the GWC leverage of the successful changeover with respect to score and clock that gratuities this in favor of a more aggressive action.

Finally, the decision to punt on fourth-and-8 at midfield when trailing by 11 phases is a more significant error than it might seem. The Monster merely relinquished 1.3% GWC in absolute terms but it was the difference between 4.8% and 3.5% in video games. In relative terms, the Giant gave up more than 25% of their available equity.

The Giants victory was surely a temporary reprieve for Joe Judge, but it can also be a deceptive expletive. By chalking up a rare win, he is not likely to reassess his short-sighted game management techniques any time soon. Poor decisions add up over time. Merely check the “Stat Sheet” at the end of the season.

Buccaneers at Patriots: Should Nick Folk Have Kicked a 56 -Yard Field Goal?

There has been quite a bit of discussion around Bill Belichick’s decision to have Nick Folk attempt a field goal with 59 seconds remaining on a wet field in Foxboro at the end of New England’s game against Tampa Bay on Sunday night. A tradition EdjSports simulation came down in favor of going for the first down try by +10.1% GWC. But because of the unique circumstances it is helpful to look at some presumptions. There was still several key considerations 😛 TAGEND

Folk’s success rate from 56 yards. Tom Brady’s ability to orchestrate a game-winning drive with about 54 seconds and two timeouts. The Patriots’ ability to convert a fourth-and-3 at the Bucs’ 37 -yard line. How much Folk’s field goal success rate improves if the Patriots can convert the fourth-and-3.

It should also be noted the Patriots would have very likely been able to attempt a game-winning field goal with no time remaining on the clock if they convert the fourth-and-3. Similarly, if Folk’s kick had been very successful, the Bucs should have been able to use all remaining hour if Brady could successfully get into field goal range.

The formula that must hold true to justify the Patriots’ going for it on fourth-and-3 is as follows 😛 TAGEND

(( Success rate fourth-and-3) x( improved field goal success rate ))> (( 55 -yard field goal success rate) x( 1 – Brady game-winning drive success rate ))

Dividing both sides by field goal success rate we get 😛 TAGEND

(( Success rate fourth-and-3) x( 1+ relative field goal improvement ))>( 1 – Brady game-winning drive success rates)

The weather is certainly a stifle part on all presumptions( field goal success, fourth down-conversion, and Brady’s game-winning drive ). In a similar situation in Week 1 against Dallas, betting marketplaces, EdjSports, and other psychoanalysts had Brady’s chances of a successful drive with 1:24 and no timeouts around 56%. While the two timeouts for Tampa Bay create some equivalence, we should certainly discount for the rain. Since Folk will most probably be required to kick the field goal under all circumstances, it is the relative improvement of success rate based on field position that matters. The fourth-and-3 endeavor is probably the least affected by the weather.

To get some perspective, a 50% conversion rate and a 1.4 x progress on the field goal success rate induce Brady’s required game-winning drive rate merely 30% to justify the Patriots’ going for it on fourth-and-3. We can’t be sure of the exact assumptions, of course, but this benchmark seems to suggest Belichick strayed in this situation.


So who was it ?

In Audibles Vince mentions someone as saying the 56 -yard field goal attempt was the analytically right option, but then doesn’t tell us who it was.( 538. com? Vince’s drunken father-in-law? who ?!?)

Whenever I ask if the Edj.Sports’ data includes garbage data( protections defending a 4th-and-3[ for example] while up by 20 in the 4th quarter, where the only bad thing that can happen to them is a quick touchdown) I never get an answer. So I is impossible to presume it does.

I also think the 56 -yard field goal attempt was a bad select. But I’d sure like to know exactly who concluded otherwise. And request THEM! what data they’re basing that on.


Yes, our simulations are …

In reply to by BigRichie

Yes, our simulations are fully customized and account for garbage time accommodations. The one outlier that we discovered considering Belichicks apparently very misguided decision was ESPN. Not sure if that is who Vince was referring to.

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