Mike McCoy Says You Can't Put it on Paper

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According to Eric D. Williams of ESPN, Mike McCoy was asked after the loss to the Patriots about making decisions in light of analytics:

I asked McCoy if he considers advanced analytics in making his decision on whether to go for it on fourth down. McCoy said he goes with feel and flow of the game instead.

"I'm going to go with my gut decision on those things," McCoy said. "No one on a piece of paper can tell me this is the right thing or the wrong thing to do. What if on the first play there's a fumbled snap? So you can't tell me on a piece of a paper it says 'fumbled snap,' or 'incomplete pass' or 'illegal contact' -- things like that you can't put on paper.

So Mike McCoy - who is at the pinnacle of his profession (he's in the top 32 of about 15,000 high school, college, and professional head coaches) and makes millions of dollars to be the very best and have an elite brain - doesn't understand basic probabilities.

Well Mike, I have news for you, I can put all of those things on paper in 10 minutes of web surfing.

So far in the 2014 NFL season, there have been 11,115 carries, 14,605 pass attempts and 555 fumbles. This means that on any given NFL snap, there is a 2.16% chance of a fumble. Ok, so that's not exactly fumbled snaps; but I think you could figure this out given your resources.

So far in the 2014 NFL season, there have been 14,605 pass attempts and and 5,411 in-completions. This means that on any given pass play in the NFL, there is a 37% chance of an in-completion. We know we're talking about the San Diego offense though, so let's dig deeper. So far in the 2014 NFL season, Phillip Rivers has attempted 445 passes and watched 142 of them hit the ground. This means that when El Capitan lets go with that 3/4 sidearm, there is a 32% chance the pass will be incomplete. Maybe if I was a professional and had another half hour's worth of will power, I could tell you by down, and even dig into down vs distance. Mike, this could be put on quite a bit of paper.

So far in the 2014 NFL season, there have been 25,720 plays and 92 Illegal Contact Penalties. Mike McCoy, on any given snap there is a 0.36% chance of an illegal contact penalty.

Maybe we need to talk about the situation San Diego was in. It was 4th down and 4 yards to go, right? So far in the 2014 NFL season, the Chargers have run 802 offensive plays for a total of 4,370 yards. This yields an average of 5.45 yards per play. You're probably going to pass with 4th and 4; in 445 pass attempts, the Chargers have gained 3,269 yards. This is an average of 7.35 yards per ATTEMPT. Maybe you like Net Yards gained per pass attempt (Passing Yards - Sack Yards) / (Passes Attempted + Times Sacked)... it's 6.9!. Mike, if you go for it and call a pass; the overall odds (over enough plays) say that you're more likely to get that first down than not. Maybe if I was a full time football professional, I could even know these stats in real time for the game I'm coaching; where opponent, scheme, and everything else factors much more heavily than blanket season stats!

Yes Mike, it can be put on paper. Or maybe, a PC. tablet or a smart phone or something.

Stats compiled using :

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