Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 30, 2009
FOOTBALL: Drive & Punt

The Wall Street Journal has a couple of interesting articles about long drives and punts. First, Tom Flynn looks back at the 2004 Emerald Bowl, in which Navy staged a 26-play drive against New Mexico that chewed up 14:26 of clock - including nearly the entire fourth quarter - and lasted more than half an hour, the most time-consuming drive in college football history. Second, Carl Bialik looks at whether NFL teams punt too much - even at a time when the average punt is reaching record lengths.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:16 AM | Football | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Is this the same Tom Flynn that played DB for the Giants in the late 80s?

Posted by: Chris Graham at December 30, 2009 11:20 AM

Do you remember the drive after half time that the Giants had on the Bills? Including half time, the Bills offense was off the field for about an hour?

Also NFL teams definitely do punt too much.

Posted by: dch at December 30, 2009 11:25 AM

Thanks for the link to the Navy story. I remember that drive. Heck, I was describing it to my wife the other day. To her credit, she did her best not to appear bored.

Posted by: Mark D at December 30, 2009 11:43 AM

Fortunately I root for a time that a) hates punting b) has a pretty good offense. If you cross mid-field and are punting you better have some pretty serious yardage to go to get the first down and/or the specific time of the game dictates that a punt would be better than the risk of not converting the first down. If this was baseball Bill James or someone else would have invented a calculation that showed when punting was a net-positive decision and when it wasn't. Coaches could have a chart like they do for 2 point conversions. Of course, Andy Reid would look at that thing like it was written in Chinese but it might lead to less punting on 4th and 2 at the 43 yard-line which there simply is way too much of.

Posted by: jim at December 30, 2009 2:38 PM

Totally agree Jim. The expected value of going for it with less than 2 yards to go on 4th down on at least half the field positions outweighs the negatives. I though Belichik made the right decision a couple of months ago. They get 1 st down-game over.

Posted by: dch at December 30, 2009 2:53 PM

Lots of people gave my grief for the Belichik decision to go for it from his own 28. I want my coach to be aggressive. Had the refs bothered to spot the ball correctly, the Patriots not wasted a timeout on first down of the drive, Faulk not juggled the ball, etc. it was one play, first down, game over. I'm not big on letting other teams determining the fate of the game especially when you are giving the ball to Peyton Manning with timeouts and plenty of time to go.

Posted by: jim at December 30, 2009 3:17 PM

People confuse proper decision making with proper results.

Posted by: dch at December 30, 2009 3:39 PM

That is very, very true.

Posted by: jim at December 30, 2009 4:16 PM
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