Tipping Pitches: Sports: Experts are the Experts of Hindsight


Monday, October 5, 2009

Sports: Experts are the Experts of Hindsight

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First, let's not start on that guy.  You know, that guy.  Not even mentioning him.

But, you realize that the Packers played the Vikings on Monday night, right?  You know that the Packers lost by seven points?

Well, as the Packers were driving for their final field goal, we hear from the ESPN crew (namely, Chris Mortenson) that the Packers would be driving for the tying touchdown at that moment if they had instead kicked a field goal near the end of the third quarter instead of going for it (and failing) on fourth and goal at the one yard line.

After the game, I see the following "tweet" from Trey Wingo of ESPN:

wingoz @markschlereth amen. And remember...if the pack had kicked fg in 3rd..they'd be going for tie now

Stop.  Just stop.  Let's not start assuming things here.  Let's rewind for a minute.

The Packers moved the ball at will, and took a risk by going for it on fourth and goal from the one yard line. Had they succeeded, they have all the momentum in the world, on the road.  If they fail, they lose it, but the Vikings are backed up to their own goal line and the game is far from over.

They "failed" but moments later the Vikings are forced to punt the ball.

These "experts" claim that if the Packers had kicked the field goal that they'd be going for the tie.  Oh yeah?  Well let's think about that.

If the Packers kick the field goal, the Vikings more than likely then start with the ball somewhere around their own 25 (conservatively speaking) after the kickoff.  Who knows?  Could start at the 40.  Or could get a kick return for a touchdown.  But we'll say that they start at their own 25.

Up until this "Field Goal or Fail" scenario, the Vikings had punted once all game.  That's nearly three quarters, one punt.  Do you think that if the Packers had kicked a field goal and then kicked off, the Vikings would have gone three and out?

Probably not.  But these "experts" love to second guess.  What happens after the Packers "fail?"  The Vikings drove 41 yards and were forced to punt.  At MINIMUM, the way that team was moving the ball they would have gotten a field goal had the Packers kicked a field goal.  Minimum.

So, at minimum, we're at a draw -- the Packers get a field goal and the Vikings get a field goal.  So nothing changes, except that each team gets three more points...


The Vikings also would have, more than likely, run more time off of the clock because of the fact that they would have started with favorable field position.  Favorable field position changes everything.

So, let's say the Packers kick that field goal.  Let's say they then kick the ball off (which runs more time off the clock).  And let's say the Vikings drive the ball and move a healthy 50 yards or so (just nine yards more than they actually moved the ball from their one yard line).

So, I'll give an extra five seconds for the field goal, another eight seconds for the kickoff, and another 45 seconds for the additional plays the Vikings get with workable field position.

That final drive may never happen.  And driving for a touchdown suddenly looks close to impossible.

But hindsight is always so easy.  Oh, hindsight.  I love you.  Let's cuddle and squeeze each other all night long.  With you, I will always look smart.


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