Is it better to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally?
Any NFL football fans know what happened on Sunday night (US time).
Bill Belichick (head coach of the New England Patriots) decided to go for 2 yards on 4th down, on his own 29 yard line, up by 6 points with just over 2 minutes to play. But, on that 4th down play, the Patriots didn't get the 2 yards. The ball was thus turned over to the Colts, who scored a touchdown and won the game by 1 point.
It was a great game, and a great ending. But, Belichick has been tongue-lashed and lambasted for his decision, I think very unfairly.
Weird to be bringing this up on an Aussie stock forum, but this story has spilled into financial newspapers and blogs for, I believe, very good reasons.
Anyway, some of the stories I have read, and some of the comments that make sense to me:
Source: http://fridayinvegas.blogspot.com/20...arterback.htmlGoing for a first down on fourth and short yardage in your end zone is likely to increase the chance your team wins (albeit slightly)...
If his team had gotten the first down and the Patriots won, he would have gotten far less credit than he got blame for failing. This introduces what economists call a "principal-agent problem." Even though going for it increases his team's chance of winning, a coach who cares about his reputation will want to do the wrong thing.
Source: http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/25516.htmlObviously, when Belichick's gamble failed, the entire Monday Morning QB universe came down on him for his "horrendous decision." Advanced NFL Stats, however, attempts to quantify the expected value of the decision to go for it instead of punting ....
You can play with the numbers any way you like, but it's pretty hard to come up with a realistic combination of numbers that make punting the better option. At best, you could make it a wash
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...532247022.htmlThe type of response we see to Coach Belichick's decision is too often what we also see in public policy debates: there is a bias for what is seen versus what is not seen. One can easily blame Belichick's decision for the Patriots losing the game. But there was still a significant probability that the Patriots would have lost the game had he made the opposite decision and punted...
This is the same reason the FDA is more likely to disapprove a healthy drug than approve an unhealthy drug. If the FDA approves a drug that kills people, the media and the general public will go crazy. But they don't see the fact that every year, the FDA is disapproving relatively healthy drugs and costing lives.
So, is it better to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally? (Yes, unfortunately Bilichick failed unconventionally ...).Put simply, Mr. Belichick is taking flak because he decided, in the middle of a close, hard-fought and emotionally charged game against a major rival, to throw caution to the wind. In other words, he's being pilloried for not being a wimp.
Somehow in American football, the punt—a clear and unambiguous symbol of surrender and retreat—has become the hallmark of sensible coaching.