An analysis of the 2020 Pack FG kick versus Bucs

A YouTuber whom I respect posted a video that claimed that MLF kicking the FG late in the Conference Championship game versus Brady and the Bucs was the second worst decision of modern playoff history. I know that the issue is old, but I get sick of hearing people who are not really thinking through the situation insulting the decision making.

Here is my reply which breaks down the scenarios:

I like most of your videos, JG9... but this video's analysis is completely wrong. You present a biased analysis of the numbers and use clichés like "Don't give the ball back to Brady"... um, if you go for the TD, you STILL GIVE THE BALL BACK TO BRADY. So terming the FG kick "giving the ball back to Brady" is a logical fallacy.

Now, if the series were titled "disputable decisions", this would qualify. But there is a very good argument to make that kicking the FG there gave the Packers the best chances. (Which were bad no matter what happened at that point)

If you go for the TD, my internet search found that conversion rates for 4th and 8 are 40% league wide, but that is from anywhere on the field. (4th and goal from the 8 is likely too small a sample to get legit data). You might say that ARod betters those chances, to which I would counter that the compressed field of goal-to-go massively lowers those chances. But for now, let's used 40% chance of scoring the TD. Converting two-point conversions vary from year to year, but let's call it 50%. (Some years I have seen slightly better than 50%, but this year has been reported as 48%). So, .50 * .40 = .20... Getting the TD and 2-pt conversions is a 1 in 5 chance. BUT THEN YOU GIVE THE BALL BACK TO BRADY. He would get the ball after a kickoff with 2 minutes to go, all three timeouts left, just needing a FG to win. EVEN IF YOU BEAT THE ODDS TO TIE, YOU LIKELY LOSE!

What if you get the TD but fail on the 2-point conversion? That also happens about 20% of the time. This ironically might be the best case-scenario, because if you tie the game, Brady opens up the whole playbook, meaning the defense cannot overplay the run to get the stop. With the Bucs playing the clock, defense becomes a little bit easier versus the more predictable play-calling. GB would need to get the stop, use the three timeouts, then hope that ARod can lead the team to a winning FG with about 1:30 left.

Now, 60% of the time, the Pack fail on the TD attempt. They then need to get the stop, call three timeouts, hope that ARod can drive them to the TD and then STILL need the 50-50 conversion on the two-pointer... TO GO TO OVERTIME which also can be seen as 50-50. In other words, failing the TD attempt on 4th down moves the chances of winning pretty close to 0%. Again... 60% of the time, you are left with almost 0 chance. Considering that "winning" the gamble also likely ends with a Bucs game-winning FG, going for the TD sure looks pretty bad.

Now, kick the FG. From that distance, it should be made 85-90% of the time (it was winter in Lambeau, so the chances of missing are higher than normal). You get Brady and the Bucs closing much of their playbook, as actually happened. The Packers needed the stop, which they almost achieved, but for the Kevin King PI on third down. If ARod had gotten the ball back, he would have had to get the TD, but not the 2-point conversion, which means that succeeding WINS the game... and the chances are not halved by the need to go for two. In fact, even kicking the XP would not be needed. If ARod gets the TD... no overtime, no sweating the conversion... it would be a win.

I think that the biggest reason for the dispute is that no one can really put a number on what ARod could finish had he gotten the ball back. Could he drive for the TD? Personally, I think that I would prefer ARod with the ball and needing a TD down by 5 than Brady getting the ball tied, needing just a field goal to win before OT. Brady converts that drive into a FG almost always and even if he failed, OT is 50-50.

MY POINT-- I am not saying that advocating going for the TD is ridiculous. I think that going for the TD is wrong, but not ridiculous. My point is that calling the decision to kick the FG maybe the second worst coaching decision in modern NFL playoff history an embarrassing claim. This decision does not belong with some of the others about which you have made videos.

I am sorry that the video got demonetized. You are a fun story-teller and I mostly like your channel. But not this one. LOL

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