Economic Analysis of Business Practice
Someone finally optimizes! http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~dromer/papers/JPE_April06.pdf
The coach mentions Gladwell. In clip below Gladwell discusses a little league girls basketball coach who did the math and practices nothing but full court press. (Yes, I know, Gladwell has his critics.) Starts just after the 2 minute mark and runs a few minutes.http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/malcolm-gladwell-the-power-of-the-underdog/
It's interesting that in all the types of football analysis that there seem to be, this is a new way to think about the odds of playing a certain way. Certainly not one I have heard before.
It looks to me that they focus their daily practice in a unconventional way to get those odds higher. And It is obviously working for them. It's amazing that he did the math in something like football and it's "Gambling" with his own team statistics and then works the kids to improve those statistics and get higher odds.Very Interesting. Football Innovation. Sounds like my kid playing me in the Xbox. Never Punts.
There's an incentive problem here for the coaches. The statistics are clear--that acting rationally, coaches should go for it much more often on 4th down, onside kick more often, and go for two-point conversions more often. They have the information to make the right decisions, but not the incentives. Because it's contrary to how people typically think about football, a coach who makes these choices and doesn't win is more likely to be fired than one who makes the "safe," not statistically sound choice. The NY Times has a computer that calculates when coaches should go for it on 4th down and compares it to when they do. Pretty fascinating: http://www.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2013/11/28/fourth-downs/post.html
Coach Kelley found that it essentially makes more sense to go for it on 4th down rather than punt. For example, if you go for it on 4th down from own 5 yard line and don’t make the other team realizes a 92% score rate, if you punt the ball to your own 40, the other teams score rate is 77% (still very high). Effectively, by punting you are assuring the other team points at a minimum 77% clip. Coach Kelley’s team converts on 4th down at a 50% rate. He talks about gaining a 15% advantage throughout the course of a game and how that impact can be the difference between winning and losing a game and how 80% of games are lost by the team with the most turnovers. Strategies in simultaneous move games are all about playing the best response to what your rival is playing. Coach Kelly realizes that punting is causing them to play a strategy that is not their best possible outcome, thus he decided to change the payoff structure to maximize gain. Coach Kelley gathered information regarding the benefits and costs by running an experiment, via analyzing data of all games and using a 3-year Harvard study that analyzed data of every college football game. It is assumed that he uses random variables to assign risk and weighted possible outcomes. However, there is a great level of uncertainly and uncontrollable variables that arise in the course of a 48 minute football game. One way he is able to minimize expected errors is to cause teams to spend a lot more practice time working to defend the onside kick when they play us, and that means they spend less time working on our offense and defense. http://www.citizen-times.com/story/sports/2014/10/13/high-school-coach-never-punts-always-onside-kicks/17213961/http://grantland.com/features/grantland-channel-coach-never-punts/