2 Comments
Jan 30·edited Jan 30

I have no problems with him going for it. I think the biggest thing to consider is just how awful our kicking game is. Badgley (Or Patterson, or whatever current bum we have for a few weeks ahead of getting cut in the kicking carousel) is easily less than 50% on grass from 47, 48 yards. Also, with our passing defense, it's a tough sell that long field goals are going to win games.

To use your blackjack analogy, you're supposed to hit a 16 against a dealers 10. What most people don't realize is just how close that play is in terms of the count of the deck. If the deck (or shoe) is just even slightly rich in 10's relative to normal, then the call switches to standing on 16 vs 10.

In my early twenties, I used to go to vegas once a year (also to Canada when i was 19-20). I used a simple plus one/minus one count developed by Ken Uston. He had a much more complicated plus 3 level/minus 3 level count which also incorporated a separate count for aces which my Dad used (don't we all have degenerate family stories like this) but I never really cared for blackjack because people act like assholes to each other so the simple +1/-1 was all I studied up for in order to be fast enough to use it in play.

Anyway, there are plenty of plays like this one where the standard basic strategy play deviates when the count switches off 0. There are separate number matrices for hitting/standing, splitting, doubling down, with the "dealer showing" on one axis and the "count deviation" on the other, with different matrices for the amount of decks or rule variables (dealer hitting or standing soft 17, etc) that the casinos have. A feww times, I remember people giving me shit for these types of plays. You're not going to say aloud, "I'm counting cards," so you just take it. My dad has told me some great stories in his day, and I wonder how often normies are unknowingly giving a sharp player shit for an unconventional play that "ruined the table."

As an aside, your Blackjack analogy is great because these people never say shit when the "idiot" at the tables play made the dealer bust. They only complain when the "idiots" play made the dealer fit in a hand. It might be the most Monday-morning-quarterbacking scenario in all of life, even more than fourth down calls.

Anyway, to use the blackjack analogy, with our shoddy kicking game and suspect pass defense, the deck was "rich with 10s," and the optimal strategy (in my opinion) was to go for it. Results-wise, the first time Campbell went for it especially was the correct call, Reynolds just dropped an easy completion. The only truly egregious decision was to run on 3rd down and goal, forcing a timeout used if you didn't get it. I knew we were fucked the moment we did this and didn't get it. I figure the game there swung from like 12% chance of winning to probably <1%.

I think the other thing going on here, which pertains to the Blackjack analogy is just how dumb the average fan or player is. Just as a blackjack player will argue in a results matter about someone else's cards influencing theirs or the dealers, totally unaware of the times it benefitted them, most of these people don't understand how much more often teams should be going for it fourth down, or on a deeper level, how one team might be more inclined to go for it than another, based on variables such as kicking, strength of defense, weather, time and score, etc. I think the media plays into this. If the typical fan is dumb, the media doesn't have to know any better either. They just want clicks from dumb people, and simple headlines without any meaningful analysis are all that is required. Sort of like how in poker, you only need to be thinking one level deeper than your opponent. "Thinking what they're thinking you're thinking about" as an example.

My example: at the Ford Field watch party, when we were down 10 and driving and just got a first down around the 20ish yard line with around a 1:20 or so to play, an idiot fan behind me yelled aloud and said kick the FG now! ON FIRST DOWN. That's how dumb this guy is.

I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help myself and turned around and said, "Are you serious?" he replied with, "yeah, we need a FG, and the onside kick! so might as well kick it now" Not even bringing up the fact that we didn't in fact need an OSK yet with our 3 timeouts, I said "we also need a touchdown, though... do you think we will have a better chance on the next possession?" He said some more dumb shit and then I called him an idiot (which again, I shouldn't have) and rather than continuing arguing with him I just turned around, then he said loudly, "I hate ignorant football fans," meaning me.

I'm not about to get into an altercation in front of my 9 year old son even though I am pissed that he is saying that shit in front of him, and even though I came with a mob group of twenty people, plus I don't need douche to further ruin the last minute of the game for me, so I didn't bother. Also I'm 41 and just way past getting into it with drunk morons.

Fans are just dumb. The media knows they are. There is no way we can have reasonable analysis of these things, outside of the nerd-degenerate-gambling circles we run around in. Most people are incapable of understanding the implied odds of these close calls.

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