I posted about this already, a few posts back. However, it came up in the media again and it is worth revisiting. A fascinating concept. The numbers are there, major college football coaches punt too much and take a very conservative approach, even though they might coach a wide-open offensive game. Job security seems to big too much of a deterrent for coaches to use all 4 downs, and instead stay with the “status quo” and use “3 downs and punt.”
Some gutsy coaches will take advantage of this strange mindset and reap the rewards in the form of first downs, scoring and ultimately in wins. It is just a matter of time. Who would have thought the game would turn into such a passing frenzy with points adding up so fast that even the powerhouse programs who dominated college football for decades had to abandon their consistent but reliable ground game in order to keep up? We may see a similar morph and coaches will reluctantly abandon their old ways of giving the ball back to the opponent one down too early. Maybe I will put together a resume and just apply as the “punting coach” or at least have a consulting firm persuading coaches to use all four downs they are allowed under the rules of football.
As it turns out, going for it on fourth and one from anywhere on the field makes statistical sense. Teams convert a fourth and one — which includes situations ranging from fourth-and-inches to fourth-and-a-yard-and-a-half — around 74 percent of the time. Football Statistics Suggest Teams Should Go For It On Fourth Down