Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
Here we go again. Math in a vacuum. Some of those who choose to utilize advanced statistics in sports are incredibly intelligent, so in some ways I feel like an idiot questioning some of their thoughts and ways. Often the response is a cocky and arrogrant, deriding 'how I could ever doubt such staples of decision making.'
Hmmmmph. The nerve I have.
But, I'll do it anyway. I'm the perpetual child asking 'why.' Or 'why not?'
Back to last night's Chargers/Colts MNF game.
Just before the 2 minute warning, 16-6 Chargers and San Diego has the ball at the Colts 33 on a 4th and inches. The Colts have 3 timeouts remaining. What do you do? That's a LONG attempt for Nick Novak at 50ish yards. Me? I go for it, and the numbers say that's the more sound decision. Though, do the numbers deceive at all?
51 yard field goal is going to be about 60% here. QB sneaks on 4th and 1 (some of which are longer than this) are around 80%.— Jason Lisk (@JasonLisk) October 15, 2013
Make a difficult field goal, up 19-9 and unless the Colts score and recover an onsides kick and score again - game over. Get a first down, have the Colts use up their timeouts, then another field goal attempt, game probably over. Nothing is guaranteed but that's what's in front of Mike McCoy's Chargers.
I go for the few inches no a totally lethargic and gassed Indy defense.
Nick Novak blasted one through the uprights. It had less doubt than David Ortiz's heroics the night before in Boston.
19-9 Chargers. They go on to win.
I don't want to quibble with the numbers - which aren't all that advanced anyway - I'd like to argue with the blanket way in which they're applied by those applying them online and on Twitter.
80% > 60%. Case closed for most of those I'm referring to.
However, how much of that 60% is dragged down by inclement weather, which is always something that has coaches thinking twice about lengthy field goal attempts. A 51 yarder in Buffalo in December in icy weather, is how much more tenuous than one in San Diego in October?
The weather in San Diego last night? As you'd guess...
Perfect weather to attempt a challenging field goal in.
So, what's the percentage of field goals made at that distance in pristine weather? I bet it's higher than the 60% that might have you second guessing yourself whether to proceed with the kick or not.
I won't question your numbers. I'm just going to challenge what's IN them.