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2nd and Short, a litmus test for NFL coaches [a short thread]
- On second and short, an NFL coach can call a run play or a pass play.
- Run plays are better for getting first downs and pass plays are better for getting yards.
A coach's tendency in this game situation tells us a lot about what they're optimizing for. (Credit to @bburkeESPN for this idea!) The goal of football isn't to produce 1st downs but to score, may expect >50% pass rate. Most don't unless they are losing and it's late in the game.
We can view how often a coach passes on 2nd and short (outside of redzone) as a litmus test for how much they care about scoring (good) vs. just continuing the drive (meh). It appears that coaches are starting to improve in this regard over time:
Which coaches pass most/least on 2nd and short? I don't have 2018 data handy, but in 2017 it was Andy Reid (13/21=62%) and then a lot of daylight before else under 50%. Mike Zimmer almost never called a pass on 2nd and short.
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