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For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

For a lot of Football Outsiders, this won't come as a big surprise, but NFL coaches tend to run way too often, even in long-yardage situations where passing would seem to be a much better strategy. Josh Hermsmeyer at FiveThirtyEight shows all the data and finds only one team that passed more than it ran on second-and-long: your reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Comments

7 comments, Last at 07 Sep 2018, 8:40pm

1 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by Sifter // Sep 06, 2018 - 10:54pm

And yet the Eagles still run it too much. Multiple times tonight we've had 2nd and 10+, with Eagles running it. Hopefully that's a Foles gameplan and not a trend in the wrong direction.
I just hope teams embrace the data like has happened in MLB and NBA. Forget the screens and run more slants, for example.

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2 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by coboney // Sep 07, 2018 - 7:45am

I think this is called the Hide Nick Foles strategy ya. Foles has flaws and the team won in spite of him there last night and they want to keep things simpler for him in stuff like down and distance. They are willing to get creative and scheme open things for tricks and the like but have to otherwise support him.

The Eagles Defense really picked up a win

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3 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Sep 07, 2018 - 8:04am

If I wanted to watch all passing all the time, I'd watch the CFL.

The rules have gotten out of whack, to the extent that everything is biased towards offensive passing.

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4 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by Hoodie_Sleeves // Sep 07, 2018 - 3:25pm

NFL playcalling will never get anywhere near efficient in regards to run/pass as long as commentators/fans/etc lose their shit ever time a team loses a game on a passing play.

There's this ridiculous perception that there's no risk to running the ball, so coaches get pilloried when they do things like not give the ball to Marshawn Lynch (despite him having a terrible record on short yardage), or letting your MVP quarterback try to throw (and get sacked) when you have a lead in the superbowl. If you hand the ball off and get stuffed, people just say "well, they tried". You throw and lose, we spend months talking shit about you.

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5 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by Pat // Sep 07, 2018 - 4:04pm

I've spent the last year analyzing grandmasters playing chess, and I see the same completely stupid decision making. They're *totally* not using the "turn the pawn into a queen" move as much as they should. In games where they turn the pawn into a queen, they win *much* more often than when they don't. It's insane. They should totally use that move right at the beginning of the game!

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6 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 07, 2018 - 4:12pm

Are you serious about the chess thing? I've been fascinated by AlphaZero's games. They didn't program in any piece values, so the AI is notably nonmaterialistic, but it's so good at neutralizing the pieces on the board…

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7 Re: For a Passing League, the NFL Still Doesn't Pass Enough

by Pat // Sep 07, 2018 - 8:40pm

No, I'm kidding: the point was that if you don't know the rules of the game, you wouldn't understand why you don't just replace a pawn with a queen whenever you want.

And looking at play choices without understanding the reasoning means you don't know the rules of the game.

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