November 16, 2009

Belichick was Right!

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 1:17 am

Bill Belichick is one of my least favorite people in sports. I love the Colts and do not like the Patriots. The announcers were unanimous in saying the Patriots were crazy to go for it on 4th down in the Colts-Patriots game. I hate to say it, but I think Belichick’s move might have made sense. Looking back at the last two years passing plays on 4th down and 2 or less yards to go have gained at least 2  yards around 45% of the time.  With Brady this chance is probably higher than 45%. Let SHORT= chance Colts score TD from the Pats 30 and LONG  = chance Colts score TD after a punt. Assume that if Patriots get a first down Colts cannot win. Then Patriots should go for it if .45 + .55*(1-SHORT)> (1-LONG). The following table computes Pats chance of winning if they go for it minus Pats chance of winning if they punt based on different values of SHORT and LONG. A positive number means Patriots should have gone for it. Note that if Colts have a t least a 50% chance of scoring  a TD after the punt, then Bill made the right move. With Peyton Manning at the helm I would say the Colts had at least a 50% chance of scoring a TD from say 70 yards.

     

long drive

     
 

-0.03

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

 

0.4

-0.02

0.08

0.18

0.28

0.38

0.48

from 30

0.5

-0.075

0.025

0.125

0.225

0.325

0.425

 

0.6

-0.13

-0.03

0.07

0.17

0.27

0.37

 

0.7

-0.185

-0.085

0.015

0.115

0.215

0.315

 

0.8

-0.24

-0.14

-0.04

0.06

0.16

0.26

 

0.9

-0.295

-0.195

-0.095

0.005

0.105

0.205

8 Comments »

  1. Hmm… This makes me rethink my initial overwhelming reaction that Belichick’s move completely idiotic…

    Comment by Jay Hutchinson — November 16, 2009 @ 1:46 am

  2. “50% chance of scoring a TD after the punt.”

    Seems way way too high.

    They’ve scored 31 TDs out of 86 drives (not sure if # of drives is 100% accurate. Backed into it with TD, punt, interception/fumble information, so I’m leaving out turnover on downs.)

    That’s 36% of drives ending with a TD this year. That would need to be regressed heavily to league mean (which I’m guessing is lower than 36%). Also, the 36% includes TDs that were scored on short fields, so a 70 yard drive would likely be even lower than 36%.

    I think this changes your analysis considerably.

    Comment by Boomer — November 16, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  3. @Boomer-

    You have to factor in how many of those drives were only able to use three downs at a time. Peyton’s final drive from 70 yards out would have been entirely in four-down territory.

    Also factored into Belichick’s thinking was probably Peyton’s last drive (79 yards in six plays), as well as the stamina of his defense after said drive.

    50% seems low, honestly.

    Comment by Matt — November 16, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  4. [...] it’s been handled quite convincingly. Bill Barnwell shows here, (as well as Brian Burke here, and Wayne Winston here) that Belichick likely gave his team a better chance to win the game by going for it on 4th and 2. [...]

    Pingback by Belichick’s Decision: Flip a Coin, or Trust your Team? « Harvard Sports Analysis Collective — November 17, 2009 @ 12:26 am

  5. Let’s examine this debate. On one side, we have Belichick , one of the best coaches in football. On the other side, we have a bunch of sportswriters, announcers, and bloggers. Hmmm, who’s opinion do I trust here?

    Comment by jt — November 17, 2009 @ 5:04 am

  6. [...] it’s been handled quite convincingly. Bill Barnwell shows here (as well as Brian Burke here, and Wayne Winston here) that Belichick likely gave his team a better chance to win the game by going for it on 4th and 2. [...]

    Pingback by David Roher: Belichick’s Decision: Flip a Coin, or Trust the Team? | News from: The Huffington Post - Breaking News and Opinion — November 17, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  7. Would one go for it at 4th and 2 from one owns two yard line? The answer is probably not. Having said that
    1. I wonder if your statistics take into account the position on the field when the team is in a 4th and 2 situation.
    2. With regards to going on it on 4th and 2, does that take into account if the game was tied/team was losing etc.

    Would appreciate your feedback.

    Comment by Pradeep — November 23, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  8. Romer says to go for it in own territory. I do not. see Mathletics book. The Belichick analysis is clean and easy because we are near end of game.

    Comment by wwinston — November 23, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress