Sports Medley: Go for
Two? 2 Oct 16
It’s not just
baseball managers who don’t understand their sport. Football coaches get
all bamboozled when it comes to the decision of whether to take the one
point conversion or to try for two. Perfect examples of this occurred in
the Tampa Bay-Rams game of September 25. With 8:55 left in the game with
the Rams leading 31-26 just after Tampa scored a touchdown, Tampa Coach
Dirk Koetter went for two in order to bring them within a three point
field-goal of the tie, which seems reasonable if one doesn’t consider
all the possibilities.
If they only go for
one point, while it leaves them four points behind, they will still be
within a seven point touchdown if their opponent kicks a field goal.
However, if they go for two, which they did, and fail, which they did,
they are behind by five points and if their opponent kicks a field goal
they will be eight points behind and will have to score a touchdown and
a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Further, if they
don’t make the two-point conversion, which they didn’t, if they then
score a touchdown and kick a one point conversion, their opponent, the
Rams, would only be two points behind and could win the game with a
field goal. If, however, they take the one point conversion and then
score a touchdown, the Rams could only tie them with a field goal. The
correct decision is to take the one point conversion.
It happened that the
Rams scored a touchdown to go ahead 37-26, an 11 point lead with 4:38
left in the game. This gave Rams coach Jeff Fisher the opportunity to
show that he was even more clueless than Koetter. Why? Because he went
for a 2 point conversion! What in the world could be going through
Fisher’s head? At 37-26 they are ahead by 11 points. That means that
Tampa could tie the score with a field goal, touchdown, and two point
conversion. If the Rams just kick the one point conversion, the only way
Tampa could prevail would be to score two touchdowns because they would
be behind by 12 points, 38-26. 11 points is reachable with a 6 point TD,
a 2 point conversion and 3 point field goal. If the Rams just kick the
one point conversion to make the score 38-26, that’s a 12 point lead,
unreachable without two touchdowns.
So going for two
points here is foolish because the extra point means absolutely nothing.
But that’s what the Rams did. Jeff Fisher is paid $7 million a year to
make these kinds of decisions. At least Koetter had a reason to try for
two (putting them within a 3 point field goal of a tie). Fisher had no
reason whatsoever, except that he doesn’t understand basic math and
can’t see the forest for the trees.
It all depends on
what the definition of “is” is:
Here’s what Thom Brennanam, Fox Sports play by play man for the
Rams-Cardinals Game, opined Sunday,
“Of the three time outs the Rams started this half with, they have lost
two challenges; they have lost two timeouts in a 10-10 game with 8 ˝
minutes to go. So they are now, officially, finished. They have one
The definition of
“finished” is, “having no further prospect of success or development.”
Can someone be “finished” if they have one left? And, if they were
“finished,” how could they end up winning the game 17-13? Going one step
further, if a team is “finished” when it runs out of challenges, why do
they continue playing the game?
for the Angels:
The Angels’ brilliant front office paid more than a third of a billion
dollars to sign washed-up stars Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols to
multi-year contracts. The Cardinals, who made Pujols available by
refusing to sign him for 2012, now offer another opportunity, Matt
Halliday, who is coming off his worst year, hitting .246, for which he
is paid $17 million. The Cardinals are going to buy out his 2017
contract for $1 million. Halliday indicates he wants to keep playing. I
bet the Angels could get him for five years (he’s 36) for $50 million.
He’d be a perfect backup for Pujols, who has averaged .266 for his 5
Angels years (vs .328 for 11 Cardinal years) to ensure the Angels stay
in the cellar and lose Mike Trout when his contract is up after the 2020