Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sports Hot Take #1

As NFL coaches start getting younger, I believe that the game will have a dramatic creative shift.  My primary thinking is that more coaches will have played some combination of Madden, Tecmo, or NFL 2K and as a result, they will have a better sense of clock management as well as risk/reward in terms of PATs vs. 2-point conversions & going for it on 4th down vs. settling for a punt or field goal.

I have a lot of thoughts on sports and thought I would share one today that I'm surprised isn't currently being utilized by NFL coaches:

Not snapping the ball when being pinned on the goal line

Special teams play is pretty sloppy, but you still see the occasional stop of a punt right on the one-yard line or after a defense has a goal line stand on 4th down, the offense takes over pinned with 99 yards to go and the risk of a safety if they are sacked.  Snapping the ball from your own 1-yard line is a high risk/low reward scenario, so what should you do?

Don't snap the ball.

It sounds crazy, but in this exact scenario, the no risk/high reward option is to pretend as if you are going to snap the ball and try to draw the defense offside.  Your goal is to gain 5-yards with a penalty and give yourself a cushion so that you can safely snap the ball with greater odds of getting a first down and decreasing the chance of a safety.  If you fail on your first attempt and get a delay of game penalty, you go back "half the distance to the goal", so if you are at the one-yard line, you would go to the half-yard line.  So, after you are penalized and go back half a yard, you go right back up to the line of scrimmage and pretend you are going to snap the ball, once again aiming to draw the defense offside.  If you fail again, you go to the quarter-yard line.  Try again and if you fail, you go to the eighth-yard line, fail again and it is the sixteenth-yard line and so on and so on.  Maybe one time you catch the defense sleeping as they anticipate you trying to draw them off and actually snap the ball, but I'd be willing to grind the game to a halt to try to get those extra 5 yards through an offsides/encroachment to decrease my odds of giving up a safety.

This is an exploitation of the foolish "half the distance to the goal" approach.  It would make much more sense to eliminate this and be able to tack on five-yards to the yard to gain marker.  So, if you are at the 1, your initial goal would be the 11-yard line but eliminating the "half the distance" and implementing a "tack-on" would make the goal the 16-yard line on a delay of game...then the 21...then the 26 and so on as the foul is repeated.  As it stands now, is there really any difference from the sixteenth-yard line to the two-hundred and fifty sixth-yard line?  What about the two-thousand and forty eighth-yard line?  How do you even spot that as a ref?

There's probably something buried deep in the rule book that prevents this, but I've never seen this mentioned anywhere and with all the traffic that this blog generates, I thought this would be the hot spot to share it.