Watching the Rams successfully convert two 4th downs by using fake punts, I was reminded of this excellent article:
It discusses Oregon coach Chip Kelly's use of statistics in making in-game strategical decisions that may seem hyper-agressive but are statistically the proper decision. It predicts that complex statistical strategy, while often counterintuitive, will soon become commonplace in the NFL. Highlights of the article:
"What the average football fan doesn't realize is that Chip's play-calls (the fourth down tries, fake punts, two-point conversions, etc.) are almost always the correct mathematical decision. Like Paul DePodesta and Billy Beane did in baseball, Kelly's genius comes from exploiting arithmetic that other coaches are too naïve to acknowledge."
"Whenever Kelly does enter the [NFL], he'll play the game aggressively, with "aggressively" meaning in a mathematically logical fashion. By the end of the season every coach will be going for it on fourth down, attempting fake punts, fake field goals, two-point conversions, and they'll likely do all of this oblivious to the fact that there's astounding mathematical evidence supporting the decisions they're making."
"The average team's miscalculations account for approximately one loss per year."
"The numbers are so overwhelming that teams that kick field goals on fourth and short at the 20-yard line aren't just wrong, they're so wrong it's ludicrous."
"In reality a field goal kicker (like a punter) should only be used in times of desperation."
What do you think? The numbers don't lie? Or stats are for losers? Are we about to witness a mass movement away from decades-old "take the points" strategy? Or will tradition prevail? Is such use of statistical analysis a fad or is it here to stay?