Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Punting Is For Pussies, And Always Has Been

Posted in A Chronicle Of Decline by Huckleberry on October 1, 2015

There’s a renegade high school football coach who never has his team punt, at all, in any situation. This renegade, at the high school level, has seen great success with this operable philosophy, and it is with great amusement that I laugh at those who can’t wrap their heads around WHY such an approach would work, because there are a lot of them.
Of course, one of the problems here is that this schism puts me on the side of nouveau-geek advanced stat freaks, but broken clocks and all that. Sure, there is a simple argument for probability revealed in the stats – teams that go for it on fourth down have an incredibly good chance of converting, but this shouldn’t be surprising – doing so gives you another chance; over the long term, consistently going for it on fourth down gives you 25% more chances to succeed. The more chances you have to succeed, the probability of you succeeding increases. That, coupled with the fact that while you still have the ball, your opponent doesn’t, because possession really is 9/10ths of the matter here.
This shouldn’t be staggeringly shocking.
Beyond the stats nerds, there’s also the straight-forward argument that shifting from a model where you run a minimum of three plays to one where you run a minimum of four increases the amount of time, energy and effort the opponent’s defense must expend on stopping you. Over the course of the game, these extra plays add up, especially if they are conditioned to play against more traditional three-down offenses. This opens things up as the game wears on, thus decreasing the threat of short fields. Plus, you can use the roster spot you would waste on a punter can be used for much-needed depth at injury prone positions elsewhere.
But even this isn’t it.
Punting is for pussies.
In a sport where one of the primary necessities is a team full of players amped up out of their minds to BASH THEMSELVES INTO THEIR ENEMIES WITH WRECKLESS ABANDON, telling them to do so while playing it safer than an Englishman’s breakfast is a great way to lose a game. Demand that your guys put the hammer down and then call the game in the same way? Watch them run into brick walls for you and thank you for the privilege. Football requires a scorched earth mentality, and punting it away to the other team when you could go for it again wears down this mentality.
Fourth and 7?
Go for it. Successful or not, your team will be flying out there like their hair’s on fire looking to wreak things.
That’s what wins football games consistently.
This mental fortitude carries over into life generally. Half the reason we’re in the decline is because for far too long we’ve played it safe, we’ve punted when we should have kept the hammer down, we took the short-term safety of kicking away instead of grinding out another down, and then another down, and so on, that when added all up would have meant that, win or lose, at least the outcome was one we determined rather than one dictated to us by outside forces.
This is the way it should be in our minds.

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2 Responses

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  1. Doom said, on October 1, 2015 at 22:27

    I agree with you, on Monday through Wednesday, starting and ending at midnight. I disagree with you Thursday through Saturday. I don’t care the first third of Sunday, and don’t know the next third of Sunday, and will take any new bidders the rest of Sunday. Or not.

    As a player, and would have made all-conference if I had decided on college (they reserved those things for college-bound, at least in my area) (and on a team that didn’t even come close to winning a team at that), I’m with you until I’m not, unless I go sideways as listed, with room for some things not listed. Depended on the day, how beat up I was, and some other things. We had no chance and yet never gave up. I sacked the qb at least 5 to 7 times a game, and caused a turnover 3 to 4 times a game, averaging 2 turnovers on my own each game. And… I played both d and o, we didn’t have a big enough team for two whole teams. Coach was a jerk though, and didn’t include me in going for catches as o-tied end. Hated that man, and the qb.

    Otherwise I would have run in t.d.s. I really would have. Jerks. Anyway…

  2. El Borak said, on October 2, 2015 at 09:24

    Kluwe punts


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