Should Coaches Emulate Sean Payton?

Discussion in 'The National Football League' started by Dan B., Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Dan B.

    Dan B. Hall of Fame

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    Pretty interesting read here on Sean Payton's ballsy play calling during the Super Bowl. Payton made at least two incredibly daring calls during the game. Both actually ended up helping New Orleans. The first came near the end of the first half when Payton went for it on 4th and 1 from Indy's 1 yard line, rather than kicking the field goal. The second was the onsides kick to start the second half. As far as the first play, an interesting statistical analysis (warning: pdf file) showed that coaches would benefit much more if they were to go for it more often on fourth down, particularly when they are deep in their opponent's territory.

    How much worse?

    Even when they fail (as New Orleans did -- Thomas was stuffed) the other team is forced into a terrible situation wrt field position. So bad in fact that on average a team lose 1.5 points per drive when they get the ball inside their own 2.

    Essentially New Orleans faced these choices when considering Indy's field position:

    [​IMG]

    So they gain almost as many points on average by missing a TD as they do by scoring a FG and giving Indy decent field position. While Manning would certainly perform better than average when pinned down in his own EZ, he would perform at an even higher level when given the ball with a chance to make something happen.

    There was also the onside kick to start the second half. According to Football Outsiders surprise onside kicks are recovered 55% of the time. Naturally this percentage would drop if the kick weren't a surprise anymore. However, a team must only recover their onside kick around 37% of the time in order for it to net a positive result.

    To put it simply, I think Sean Payton showed you have to keep your opponent guessing. Never let them get comfortable, and never be predictable. I think that NFL coaches by and large are too heavily scrutinized to make such controversial decisions. If they make the easy safe choice and kick the FG on 4th down and the other guy drives to win, everyone throws up their hands and says it's the defense's fault for not stopping the other team. But at least the head coach is safe. He refrained from taking any risk.
     
  2. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    Like I said in another thread, I liked the 4th and 1 call even though the play failed and I disliked the onside kick even though it worked.
     
  3. Dan B.

    Dan B. Hall of Fame

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    I agree that I like the 4th down call more, and would do it more often. Unlike an onside call (which becomes much less likely to succeed the more often you use it), going for it on 4th and inches is generally going to end with the same result whether you call them once in a blue moon or every time it's 4th down. Onside kicks are far more likely to work when they take the other team by surprise.
     
  4. toronto

    toronto Hall of Fame

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    agreed here. Ballsy as hell call on the onside kick, but the Colts recover and Payton would be considered 'crazy' for trying that. Thin line, and its always the winner that looks like a genius.

    I loved the call to go for it, and I thought his clock management all game was better than you or I if we were playing a video game. Nothing escaped him - the man was truly ready for this stage.
     
  5. Silver Oak

    Silver Oak Hall of Fame

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    if Baskett holds the ball, Payton looks like an *****...but he didn't, and today he is a genius.

    great call at the time, but could have backfired easily.
     
  6. toronto

    toronto Hall of Fame

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    He went all-in, lucky the opponent wasn't holding pocket aces, so to speak.
     
  7. Wolf

    Wolf 100% Texan

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    I agree. it is one of those WTF moments and then when it goes in your favor, it changes to "great call"
     
  8. Dan B.

    Dan B. Hall of Fame

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    I think it should be noted that an onside kick works the majority of the time in a situation like that precisely because it is a WTF moment. Why do you think Baskett wasn't back there returning kickoffs?

    I definitely think that it is something you have to save for a rare occasion. Once or twice a season is about the best you can hope for. After that it's on tape and it'll be in the back of someones mind. But man, that's a nice time to bust out the surprises.
     


  9. MannyFresh

    MannyFresh El Capitan

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    If it didn't work, then he'd be saying a familiar phrase from a beloved (by most here, but certainly not me) coach here in Houston. "Its on me guys"
     
  10. dtran04

    dtran04 Hall of Fame

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    Nobody complains about Payton's "Denny's menu" huh?

    :)
     

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