The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Death by ‘Analytics’

Posted on | September 13, 2022 | Comments Off on Death by ‘Analytics’

“Mom knew more about football than half these people,” my brother Kirby remarked this morning, discussing the role of “analytics” in the Monday Night Football defeat of the Denver Broncos. Indeed, our mother was a pretty savvy football fan, and no doubt she would have advised the Broncos, “Kick the damned field goal.”

Denver trailed 17-13 at halftime and, on their opening drive of the second half, drove 78 yards in nine plays to reach the one-yard-line of the Seattle Seahawks. On fourth-and-goal, the Broncos disdained the opportunity for a field goal that would have brought them within a point, 17-16, and instead went for it. Running back Melvin Gordon III was stopped short of the end zone and fumbled. And this choice would come back to haunt Denver later. In the fourth quarter, the Broncos again drove deep into Seahawks territory, coming up on fourth-and-goal from the Seattle 8 with a little more than six minutes left in the game. This time, though, they were willing to settle for three points and cut it to 17-16. However, if they had kicked a field goal when they had the chance earlier, this fourth-quarter FG would have put Denver ahead 19-17 — and enough to win the game, as it turned out. In the end, the Broncos got the ball back with about four minutes left, drove to the Seattle 46 and, with 20 seconds left, attempted a 64-yard field goal that missed. So because they turned down the chip-shot early in the third quarter, they lost the game on a 64-yarder at the end. Another sterling example of “analytics” in action.

My mom could coach better than that. Literally.



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