Thursday, February 5, 2015

No, Game Theory (or really anything else) does NOT get Carroll off the hook

Ramblings Post #284
I’m not an explainer. Well, yeah I am. Maybe. I like to think of myself as a storyteller, as someone who weaves a tale, crafts a narrative, who gooses the imagination onto a journey so rich that you know more than I said when I’m finished. But as I understand it, the term storyteller probably isn’t as sexy as could be and probably has some weird connotations from childhood lingering about it. I’ll be an explainer.  

Apparently there is a concerted global movement to make Pete Carroll’s decision at the end of the Superbowl sound reasonable. Trying to explain away what was a colossal blunder, people have tried to use statistics, completion rates, time management concepts, Game Theory or just plain ole “strategery”. And not one makes sense, not people who know the sport. And not as long as the goal line offensive formation is a thing.
The Patriots run a GOAL LINE OFFENSE
Yes. This is a thing. Every team in the league has this formation and this basic play in their play book.

There are times in football where you NEED a yard. Just one.  It’s no secret, The other team knows you need a yard. And you know you’re going to run it, and they know you’re going to run it. You’ve brought out the big blockers; there aren’t even any receivers on the field. It's no longer a chess match or any other analogy of great minds meeting. You have to man up, put a body on a body and just go and get it. No excuses.

The sequence should have been, barring a touchdown at any point in the chain that with 26 seconds left to play is…

A) you run the ball.  From the goal line formation you can go up the gut, off tackle, race to the pylon, or whatever. The defense has to cover 50 yards with 11 men and if Lynch gets a one on one he is most likely to move whoever he hits backwards. It is the low risk, high reward play. If Lynch is one one he could have held the ball forward to score. But in the unlikely event that fails, you burn your last time out which gives you 20 to 17 seconds left. Then …

B) you pass.  This should be a fade pattern or maybe a hitch and go. Out to edge in single coverage.  Play fake the run or even a bootleg since Wilson is mobile. But it’s an endzone or bust play. He throws it to where only his guy can catch it over the top or out of bounds. If it’s a hitch, the point is the pylon or out of bounds.  If you don’t make it the clock is stopped with maybe 10 seconds left, and then…

C) You run the ball. All or nothing. Line up ten and quarterback versus eleven and go get it. You have a bruiser running back and he can stretch his arm to get it. 

This is how legends are made.

For Petey to figure on a “throwaway” play when there are points needed to be scored, and no points are guaranteed in the NFL, is at the level that he is coaching a complete collapse of judgment. Yes, Football is complex and strategic a game of inches, but sometimes you just have to be the better player and just want it more than other guy.

So Yes, it is one of the dumbest playcalls in football history.

Barkeep. Bourbon. Ice. Splash of soda.

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