The Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots played a great game last night on Sunday night football, in the national spotlight. It was billed as the game of the year, and as Bob Costas said, “The game of the year was actually the game of the year.”
As impressive as a 17 point come back to win the game against the New England Patriots is, many are saying that Bill Belichick simply gave the game away, by going for the win on 4th down and 2, instead of punting the ball away.
Although the vast majority of analysts are saying that Bill Belichick made a horrendous decision to go for it on 4th down and 2 yards to go last night, some mathematical models are suprisingly contradictory.
Here are two different models that both agree with Belichick going for it.
You can play with the numbers any way you like, but it’s pretty hard to come up with a realistic combination of numbers that make punting the better option. At best, you could make it a wash.
Wayne Winston, a professor at Indiana University Kelly School of Business, who teaches Excel modeling agrees. Winston modeled it slightly differently, but with the same results:
Bill Belichick is one of my least favorite people in sports. I love the Colts and do not like the Patriots. The announcers were unanimous in saying the Patriots were crazy to go for it on 4th down in the Colts-Patriots game. I hate to say it, but I think Belichick’s move might have made sense.
I find it very interesting that of the 3 articles I found defending Belichick, 2 of them were based on simple mathematical models, and after reading them, and I have changed my mind, and agree with their conclusions.
Edit: Just noticed another article that explains the first article in more layman’s terms: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-ma/belichick-was-right_b_358653.html