The search for the saddest punt in the world | Chart Party

A couple weeks ago the LA Rams became the first team ever to punt away every one of their first eight possessions. It was the worst football game anyone’s ever seen. Except for this one. September 27, 2015, Bears versus Seahawks.
it’s a beautiful day in Seattle. On their opening possession, the Bears can’t
get anything going. And they punt. A few minutes later they’re next drive stalls
and the Bears punt again. After a Seahawks field goal, the Bears suffer
another three and out and they punt. In the second quarter Chicago finally makes
it into Seattle territory. Facing a very make able fourth and five, they
punt again. On their next drive they tap out around mid
field and they punt. It’s now the third quarter and the bears are
trailing 13 to nothing. On fourth and 17 they punt. Shortly thereafter a couple penalties put
them at fourth and 24. They punt. As the fourth quarter approaches, Chicago
is now down 20 to nothing. Time is running out pretty quickly and if
the Bears want to preserve any realistic chance of winning the game, they absolutely have
to score some points on this drive. Close to midfield they find themselves at
fourth and one. The Bears have very favorable odds if they
go for it. They punt. It’s the fourth quarter. The Bears now trail 23 to nothing. They punt. Four and a half minutes left in the game,
fourth and five, punt. It was the last time they would ever have
the ball. Game over. The Chicago Bears had ten God-given possessions
on a sunny day and they decided to punt away every single one of them. It’s the only time an NFL team has done that
in the last four years. It’s possibly the only time it’s ever happened. But these are only ten of the 46,377 regular
season punts of the 21 century to date. Here are all of them, sorted horizontally
by date and vertically by how far upfield the punting team was when they punted. So now you’ve seen nearly 50,000 punts. Congratulations, and I’m sorry. In order to really understand this data we’re
going to have to slice it up from a lot of different angles. There’s a lot of responsible, sensible punting
hiding in here. But there’s also some of the most confounding,
cowardly decision-making I’ve ever seen. This is our quest to find the saddest punt
of the 21 century. We’re limiting our search between the years
2000 and 2018 because prior to that play by play data is either incomplete or unreliable. Thankfully contains
mountains of data we can dig through. Now here I’ve sliced up these punts by the
line to gain, in other words how many yards the punting team would have needed for a first
down. We’ve got fourth and one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, very long and very very long. In doing this we can identify a few very broad
patterns. For instance, while we see thousands and thousands
of punts toward the middle of the field, it totally empties out back here to form a sort
of invisible triangle. There is fourth and five here at the six yard
line but there are zero fourth and ones. That’s because it’s logically impossible to
have a fourth and one inside the nine. And if we look from a certain angle we can
see a very pronounced line right about here. Form another angle it resembles a step ladder. So many punts happen here for very good reason. Fourth and one from the 34, fourth and two
from the 33, fourth and three from the 32, what do all of these have in common? Well most of these drives necessarily started
at first and ten from the 25 which is exactly where you start after the majority of kickoffs. We can see the footprint of a recent rule
change here. Starting in 2015, the ball was placed at the
25 yard line after kick off touch backs. Prior to that it was placed at the 20 which
perfectly explains why the line breaks right there. But if you ask me a lot of the most interesting
punts are way up here. A few teams elect to punt within the opponents
40 yard line no matter how far away they are from a first down. And of course nobody would ever punt on fourth
and short inside their opponent’s 40. Well, almost nobody. Now an offense can legally punt anywhere on
the field they want but while they punted nearly 50,000 back here, none of them ever
ever punted past the 20. People who don’t watch American football might
not know why that is. And actually a lot of people who watch Chart
Party don’t even really follow sports so I’m going to take just a minute to explain what
punting is. Since I wouldn’t want to bore those of you
who do understand punting, I’m thoughtfully providing some alternate programming for football
fans. Please enjoy. The game of football is all about possessions. In other words the times that you have the
ball. Over the course of a typical football game
you might only have like 12 possessions so it’s very important to try to make the most
of each one. Suppose you get the ball here, your possession
has begun and your objective is to get down the field and score. You have four downs or chances to do this. That’s a really long way to go though. You’re probably going to need more than four
tries to get that far. Luckily football comes with check points. Every ten yards your health meter is restored. Suppose it’s third down and you’ve only gotten
this far, but don’t worry if you can just make it here it resets to first down. That applies to every time you manage to get
to a first down marker. It resets and you can resume your journey. But if you can’t that’s trouble. If you burn through all four downs and you
still can’t make it to the line, your possession is over. And the other team gets the ball. If you run out of gas all the way back here,
that means your opponent gets the ball here and is a lot closer to scoring than you were. And this is where the punt comes into play. Say it’s fourth down and you still have eight
yards to go, your odds of making it to the line in just one play are not that great. NFL teams only do so about a third of the
time. So if you want you can admit you’ve lost this
battle, cut your losses, and punt. Which is to say you can get as far downfield
as you possibly can. Your opponent will still get the ball, but
instead of getting the ball here, they’ll be stuck with it all the way back there. In this fourth and eight situation, that is
almost always what an NFL team ends up doing. When an NFL team gets the ball it ends up
punting more than 43% of the time. A possession ends with a punt far far more
often than it ends with any other kind of outcome. The punt is more likely than the touchdown
and field goal combined. Consider that. Pro football is not primarily a game of scoring,
it’s a game of punting. It’s a game of in a sense giving up, failing. Punting is often necessary and often makes
the most sense. At the most extreme end of the well sometimes
you just have to spectrum, we have this one. I watched this happen live. It’s very near and dear to me. October 13, 2013, down by just a touchdown
half way into the fourth quarter, the Raiders have driven to the 50 yard line. And almost any conceivable scenario the Raiders
should not end this drive with a punt but first and ten becomes a first and twenty thanks
to a holding penalty. And when they repeat the down, quarterback
Terrelle Pryor is sacked. It’s now second and 32. This is becoming a nightmare scenario for
Pryor who is dealing with some kind of injury on his throwing hand. Arrowhead Stadium is going nuts making it
very difficult for the Raiders to communicate. They fail to snap a ball in time and are hit
with a delay of game penalty. They are now so far back that the CBS crew
had to switch to another camera. It’s second and 37. This season across the NFL there will be 11,830
second downs. And this will end up being the only one that’s
this far back. And then Pryor is sacked again to bring up
an absolutely horrifying third and 48 which after an incompletion becomes a fourth and
48. Just a couple minutes ago this punt wasn’t
even up for consideration. Now it’s the only reasonable option. That was a freak occurrence but the majority
of these 46,377 punts were reasonable too. There were tens of thousands of cases in which
giving up was actually the right thing to do. Now it’s true that in sports this is often
the way it goes. NBA players miss more than half their shot
attempts and major league baseball batters fail to get on base more than two thirds of
the time. The difference though is that the shooter
is trying to hit its shot and the batter is trying to get on base. A punting football team on the other hand
passes up the chance to keep driving up the field. It quits trying to advance in the hope of
long term success. It chooses to quit. On average, an NFL team chooses to quit about
five times a game. It’s a very sad sport. So we know why teams punt. I thought it might be interesting to look
at where they punt. On a fourth down a team has three choices. They can punt, they can go for it, or they
can try a field goal. If the team is deep in their own territory
naturally they’ll choose to punt almost all the time. That’s the red. Over to the left in green, we see the rare
occurrences in which they went for it. They pretty much only do this if they’re in
desperation mode. But I found one massive exception. This might be the boldest play call I’ve ever
seen in the NFL. If you can call it that. It’s November 11, 2012. The Rams are facing fourth and four at their
own ten. They’re up by a touchdown and there are only
49 seconds left in the half. This is just about the most obvious punting
situation you can ask for. So 22 year old rookie, Johnny Hekker, trots
out to punt it away from his own end zone. But then! At the last second, the 49ers Chris Culliver
shifts over to try to block the punt, leaving Rodney McLeod wide open. Hekker sees this and within a two second span
he decides to take advantage. McLeod’s a defensive player to this day it’s
the only time he’s ever been thrown a ball in the NFL. But it works. The Rams pick up 21 yards for a first down. Do you understand how brazen this is? We have to consider the risk-reward here. Hekker averaged about 46 yards per punt that
season. If the Niners were stuck at their own 44 with
40 seconds left and no timeouts, they’d have very little chance of doing anything and the
half would be over. Now if the Rams were to screw up this fake
punt as teams so often do, it would be a disaster. The Niners would be at the Rams’ ten and
would be virtually certain to at least kick a field goal. And if the fake punt actually works, what
does it even get them? Great, their own 31 with less than a minute
left. Predictably the Rams got absolutely nothing
out of this. That first and ten very quickly melted into
a fourth and 14 and the half was over. The Rams took a huge risk to gain pretty much
nothing. And that’s what they got. Unbelievably enough, the Rams tried this again
in the fourth quarter. In the same game in an even more dire situation. It was fourth and eight deep in their own
territory. And they were losing by four. Even more unbelievably it worked again. Johnny Hekker has successfully passed on a
fake punt twice in a single game. Now clearly this was awesome. It was tons of fun. But was it good, smart football? I don’t know. Seems like the football gods didn’t know what
to make of it either because this game ended in a tie, a result that happens about once
ever 500 games. Anyway, back to the chart. As you can see punting is still wildly popular
on fourth down even after crossing the 50 yard line. Now a few sickos have tried to kick field
goals from way out here but it’s still primarily punting territory all the way up until the
opponent’s 37 yard line at which point the field goal will swoop in. In fact the only spot on the field that which
going for it is the most popular option is all the way up at the one yard line. So a few things stand out to me here. First, the fact that punting from an opponent’s
35, 33, even 31 is not unheard of. Several punts have even been attempted from
the 20s. We’ll visit some of those in greater detail
later but for the moment I want to dwell on this particular horror. See that little guy? Yeah, someone actually punted from the opponent’s
24. I promise you, there is an explanation. November 12, 2000. In the final seconds of the third quarter
the Bengals trail the Cowboys 20 to six. They’ve driven all the way to the Dallas 24
yard line and now are facing fourth and 14. Cincinnati badly needs a touchdown, but picking
up 14 yards in one play is kind of a tall order. It would be understandable to inch a little
closer on the scoreboard by trying a field goal which is what NFL teams do an overwhelming
80% of the time from this spot on the field. Compounding the stupidness of this punt is
the touchback rule, which I should briefly explain for non football fans. If a punt rolls into the end zone without
anyone touching it, it’s ruled a touchback which results in the receiving team getting
the ball at the 20 yard line. Now this is why punters often try to coffin-corner
a ball, which is to say they aim at the sideline way back here. If the ball goes out of bounds here, the ball
is placed here. The receiving team doesn’t have a chance to
catch and return it and afterward the offense is stuck with terrible field position. That did not happen here. It rolled straight in for a touchback which
effectively made this a four yard punt. Down by 14, the Bengals gave up possession
so they could move the ball back four yards. We don’t have film of this probably because
the NFL drove out to the desert and buried it. But a couple of newspaper articles are enough
to give us the how and why. A few minutes prior Bengals punter Daniel
Pope had an incident. The snap was high and by the time Pope was
in position to punt, the Cowboys were all over him. Rather than getting off whatever punt he could,
he just kind of ran away. Now that informs this decision. This is not a planned punt. The Bengals are in fact trying for a field
goal as teams usually do. The guy in charge of taking the snap and holding
the field goal is our friend Daniel Pope. The snap is bad, again. Pope has to stand up just to catch it rendering
a field goal impossible. So in desperation he squares up and punts. Considering everything, it made sense. And that’s the story of the furthest-downfield
punt of the 21st century if not of all time. For a moment let’s forget what teams do on
fourth down and instead just look at where they are on fourth down because I found something
pretty funny. Here are the locations of all 72,394 fourth
downs I study in this sample. The spikes of the teams own 20 and 25 yard
lines make sense. Because teams so often start their drives
there and all the stagnated drives they go nowhere and in fourth and ten just kind of
pull up in these spots. But look at all the other spikes. At the five, ten, fifteen, not the 30 or 35
so much but again at the 40, 45, 50, 45 and virtually every other five yard marker all
the way down the field, they’re all clearly pronounced. Why would that be? Why would these spikes be all neatly settled
along these bold painted lines every five yards? I mean it’s not as though teams routinely
gain yardage in precise five or ten yard chunks. It is true that a lot of penalties typically
move the ball in precise multiples of five, but these only occur at the rate of one every
15 plays or so. And besides how would that explain all the
spikes all the way out here? A team is only commonly anchored to a white
bar on the field back here at the 20 or 25. I don’t think there are anywhere near enough
penalties to insure that a team would maintain that perfect five yard stride for such a long
distance. I like my theory better. My theory is that officials and or score keepers
enjoy placing the ball like that. They appreciate neatness and order. Officials typically have a little bit of leeway
so if a ball looks like it’s somewhere between the 49 and 50, eh, let’s call it the 50. They see a big solid line on the field and
that’s where they want to spot the ball. You know what? Who can blame them? Isn’t that adorable? I think that’s just adorable. One last thing about that chart from earlier,
see this area here, the only part of the field where there’s a somewhat balanced confluence
of punting, kicking a field goal and going for it? For our purposes, this part of the field is
extremely important. If we unstack this same chart, we see something
I find really interesting. Here are those same punt, go for it, and field
goal percentages. The three come very close to converging. In particular if we focus on this slice between
the opponents 38 and 33, the three options are almost perfectly even. As even as they’ll get on any slice of the
field. This set of data gives us a unique opportunity
to see what factors might tip the balance toward one decision or the other. All else being equal. So let’s look at some splits. First let’s see if the decision is influenced
by the alphabetical order of the name of the team it’s punting. Of course it doesn’t in any meaningful way
whether your name starts with A through J or K through Z or still 32% to 35% is likely
to do whatever. We’re only looking at this to establish the
baseline. And more relevant is the time of year. As you can see teams later in the season get
a little more aggressive, kicking field goals slightly less often and going for it slightly
more often. This might be because the stakes are much
more clear. Now, of course you should be trying to win
these games as often as these games, so this isn’t a rational approach but it’s easy for
me to imagine a 7-6 team playing with more urgency than a 2-2 team. If we drastically narrow the time scale, this
sense of urgency becomes even more apparent. In the first half of the game teams go for
it 27% of the time in this situation. This spikes all the way up to 40% in the second
half. We can also split it by whether the team in
question is winning. This is dramatic, but very predictable. If a team is losing in this situation they’re
about twice as likely to go for it. Similar story here. Obviously if the team is further away from
getting a first down they’re a lot less likely to go for it. What I find interesting are the punt and field
goal trends. They basically switch places despite the fact
that yards to go are one thousand percent irrelevant here. If you’re punting or kicking a field goal,
whether it’s fourth and one or fourth and ten has absolutely nothing to do with anything. Now this might just be the level of statistical
variance we would expect so maybe it means nothing at all. Want to know what I think though? I think that being far away from the first
down marker just makes people sad and people punt when they’re sad. And that voodoo aside of all the splits I
found this one was the most interesting. Look at that. In the odds teams opted for a field goal just
23% of the time but now in the 2010s that rate has just about doubled to 45%. There’s clearly been a massive shift in behavior
this century. It’s because kickers have gotten better at
kicking long field goals, I mean I guess. This decade from this range, kickers have
upped their accuracy from this distance by about 20% which has been enough of an incentive
for teams to try them 73% more often. When they’re all laid out like this, you can
eyeball the change pretty well. With the field goals in yellow, and the punts
in red. They’re situated horizontally by year and
vertically by how far into the game they were. The earlier on in the century you get, the
more punts you see. This was especially so in a third and fourth
quarters of the game. Take the second-half decisions in the 2001
season for example. They chose to punt 61 times while trying just
ten field goals. There are fewer dots up here. In part because there aren’t all that many
overtime games and in part because punting in your opponents 30s in overtime, the situation
in which you’re tied in the next score wins, is an unbelievably sad thing to do. This thoughtless behavior which we saw a few
times early in the 21st century has been just about eradicated. It did pop up once in the 2010s. Well after punting habits had evolved, teams
grew more aggressive and everyone knew better than to punt the ball in overtime from the
opponents 37. Years later, it presents itself to us as a
little red dot, a forgotten, lonely star now surely dead. Who were you? It’s our mission to find out. But in order to find the very worst, saddest
punts, more factors must be taken into consideration. This is the Surrender Index. Is it a scientific instrument? No, not really. It might incidentally be instructive here
and there and dispense some actual wisdom but primarily this is a tool I built to communicate
my disgust. The higher the number the Surrender Index
spits out, the more cowardly the punt is. All 46,377 of these punts will be fed through
this formula. Now four factors will be taken into consideration. First, the punting team’s field position. If the team punted with line of scrimmage
at or inside the 40, it’s given a base score of one. This score inches by 10% per yard as we approach
the 50. Once in enemy territory, the pressure intensifies
as the multiplier goes up 20% per yard. This gets out of hand very quickly. While punting from the 50 earns a score of
just 2.6, it rockets to about 16 if punted from the opponent’s 40. Five yards closer, it’s about 40. Five yards closer than that, it’s about 100. At this point it goes completely out of control. If you punt from the opponent’s 24, the side
of the furthest downfield punt on record, you’re hit with a score of nearly 300 points. This is cruel. It’s supposed to be cruel. Second, we look at the distance the team would
require for the first down were they’d go for it. Punting from further upfield is a little bit
more understandable if the team’s sitting at fourth and long, right? As such, we offer some leniency here. The further away a team is from a first down,
the more the score is diminished. For example, if you punted on fourth and ten,
your Surrender Index score is reduced by 80%. You can see what this does to the score. Punting way up field hurts, but punting way
up field on fourth and five or eight or twelve is just a little bit more forgivable. Third, we look the score differential at the
time of the punt. In other words, whether the team is winning,
tied, or losing and if so by how much. If the punting team is currently winning,
we leave the surrender score unchanged. If the game is tied, the score receives a
multiplier of two. If the team is trailing by nine or more points,
in other words at least two scores, the multiplier goes up to three because after all, you’re
losing. If you want to win, you’re gonna have to stick
your neck out at some point, right? You might wonder what’s up with this gab. Well, I saved it for a very, very special
multiplier of four. Because if you’re down by just one score and
you have a good chance to erase that deficit with a score of your own, you have no business
playing it safe. You want to play it safe, go be a bridge inspector. It’s a very important job and it’s apparently
what you were born to do. And fourth, we add one more very important
multiplier to take the game clock into consideration. This only applies if A, the team is tied or
losing at the time of the punt. And, B, the game is past half-time. If both these conditions are met, the gears
begin to crunch and the multiplier is up just slightly with each passing second. I’m doing that with this formula. Why? Because it does that. This won’t affect the score that much until
we approach the end of the fourth quarter. After about a minute into the fourth quarter,
the multiplier doubles. Toward the end of regulation, the multiplier
increases to six. The worst is saved for perhaps the most nauseating
sort of punt, the overtime punt. Punt right at the end of overtime, which believe
it or not as happened, and you’re hit with a multiplier of 20. Now, I’m told that episodes of Chart Party
are sometimes shown in classrooms. Your algebra teacher, rightly so, is probably
sitting there and asking, “What? Why is he doing that? Why would he raise it to the third power? What basis does this have in anything? Where’s any of this derived from?” Well, it’s derived from my dissatisfaction. It’s a reflection of how I feel. I’m misusing algebra to throw a fit. Finally, at my own discretion, I can rule
the cowardice of certain of punts to be unquantifiable. There are certain uncommon scenarios that
these Surrender Index doesn’t account for. Maybe you’ve made a decision to punt that
seems stupid on paper but makes sense for other reasons. If I had to determine to something other than
a cowardly decision was the primary reason for the punt, I’ll hit the button and spare
the punt from the judgment of the Surrender Index. Fair enough? Let’s go ahead and throw a couple of punts
through the wood chipper just to show you how this works. How about that Raiders punt, the one on 4th
and 48? Well, the punt was inside the 40 so there’s
the base score of 1. Since it was way, way past fourth and ten,
we give 80% off. However, they were losing by one score when
they punted so we have no choice but to apply the four times multiplier. The punt occurred with 5:38 left in the fourth
quarter, which necessitates another multiplier of approximately 4.13, leaving us with a surrender
score of 3.3. That’s slightly higher than most punts got,
which I think is appropriate. After all, they did punt while losing in the
fourth quarter. But it’s not even in the same galaxy of how
bad this can get. Let’s take another example. Remember this one we talked about, the Bengals’
punt from the Cowboys’ 24? Putting this through the Surrender Index is
gonna be like sticking a fork in the garbage disposal. To find the field position score, we have
to turn the dial all the way up to the opponent’s 24, which returns a value of almost 300. It was fourth and fourteen, though, so we
can diminish it by 80%. They were down by 14 points at the time so
that’s 2 scores so we triple it. It occurred 73 seconds into the third quarter
so it receives the very tiny multiplier of 1.00039 and finishes with a surrender score
of about 178. Remember, the last one was a three. But remember, also, that this was an emergency
punt. They didn’t plan on doing this so we can hardly
call it a cowardly decision. This is a rare instance in which I’ll exercise
my right to hit the cancel button. This punt is excused. Two down, 46,375 to go. This is what I was hoping for, easily identifiable
outliers we can name and shame. The vast majority of these punts are very
low on this chart. They range from “fine” to “I wouldn’t
have punted but it’s not a big deal.” The obscene content is up here. And, because you might be wondering, I calculated
the average Surrender Index score by year and, yes, teams seem to have grown less timid. In 2000 punts averaged a Surrender Index of
about four. In 2018, it was down to about two and a half. This may be thanks in part to a very well
respected economist named David Romer. One day Romer was listening to a game on the
radio in which a team was two yards from the goal line but decided to kick a field goal
instead of going for it. It seems to have irked him so much that he
wrote an entire paper on it and published it in 2002. Here’s the entire thing, I’ll give you a moment
to read it. How did you like it? What was your favorite part? My favorite part was this, quote, “At midfield
being within five yards of a first down makes going for it, on average, desirable. Even on its 10 yard line, 90 yards from a
score, a team within three yards of a first down is better off on average going for it.” That’s too radical even for me but he’s the
economist. He studied this intensively and he knows what
he’s talking about. This paper was passed around in NFL circles
and while they definitely did not take this specific piece of advice, I think it really
might have had something to do with the modest decline in cowardice over the years. But there are always outliers. Of the nearly 50,000 punts assessed by the
Surrender Index, 10 stand alone and here they are. Washington versus Philadelphia, October 8,
2000. Washington punts from their opponent’s 35
on fourth and one, so no discount. The score is tied at 14 and they’re about
6 minutes left in the fourth quarter. All that combines for a score of about 313. Remember, the average score for a punt that
season was about four. But the funniest thing about this one isn’t
even reflected in the score. This punt fell into the end zone for a touchback
which resulted in what was effectively a 15 yard punt. Punts from all the way up here a bummer not
only because you’re giving up the ball with great field position but because the punt
just isn’t worth as much. Part of that is because you can only stick
your opponent back so far. But the touchback is a major factor here as
well. It takes a huge bite. From back here you can reliably stick your
opponent about 40 yards downfield but once you’re at midfield, it starts to deteriorate. In fact, whether teams punt from their own
40 or opponent’s 35, the opponent winds up with the ball in basically the same area. That’s only a 10 yard difference. Not only are you giving up very good field
position, you’re getting far less value for your punt. Teams are less likely to punt from out here
but as you can see it still happens plenty. Even in 2018 we were still doing this. Which brings us to number nine, Cowboys-Texans. The dreaded overtime punt, brought to you
by Jason Garret. His Cowboys were lucky enough to receive the
ball in overtime and drove all the way down to the Texans’ 42 so they could punt on
fourth and one. That is disgusting. Now, late in the process I realized I made
a calculation error. I failed to account for the fact that as of
2017 overtimes were shortened from 15 minutes to 10 minutes and since I was inverting time
remaining to find time elapsed, overtime punts in these two seasons have slightly inflated
Surrender Index scores. I thought about correcting it but I hate overtime
punting so much that I decided to just leave it there out of spite. That’s the number one rule of data journalism,
come in with an agenda and bend the rules however you need to in order to prove your
point. Anyway, if we take another look at the champagne
bubbles we can see that 2018 could have been one of the most disciplined years on record,
a signifier that the NFL really was getting smarter. It’s blemished by this one outlier so extreme
that it just about triples the Surrender Index of the year’s runner-up. Thank you Cowboys. Naturally, Houston beat Dallas in football
that day just as it always does in everything else. For number eight we return to the age of nu-metal. December 2, 2001, Bucs-Bengals. It’s another punt from the 35. As you can see, it’s a lot further up than
number 10 as it fourth and eight rather than a fourth and one. Why the higher Surrender Index? Again, that’s what punting in overtime will
do. In this situation, going for it on fourth
and eight isn’t the play. Kicking a field goal is if you have a reliable
kicker as the Bucs do. Martin Gramatica was pretty dependable as
far as kickers go. In this situation he would have needed to
hit it with the line of scrimmage at the 35. He tried six from at least this far out and
hit half of them. If you want to increase the sample a little,
you can look at his strives from 30 and beyond, he had made 17 of 23. If he makes it, you go home with a win right
then and there. Seems like your odds of that are slightly
better than a coin flip. To punt instead would be to give your opponent
the ball in overtime which is very dangerous. No matter where they get it, they punt it. This is a reminder that winning is only one
of your option and that you don’t have to win if you don’t want to. At least not usually. With number seven we learn that if the fates
have decided you’re going to win, you will be dragged kicking and screaming to that win
no matter how much you don’t want to. Halloween night, 2013, Dolphins-Bengals. I watched this one on TV as it happened and
it’s stuck with me ever since. I mean, what a crummy game. Earlier in the night it was at least interrupted
by trick-or-treaters ringing your doorbell. But by overtime the kids had all gone home
and there was no one left to save you. The Dolphins received the ball first in overtime,
they advanced a few yards and punted. The Bengals took over at their own 25, marched
all the way to the Dolphins 39, ran into fourth and eight and punted. Bengals take it from their own 14 and reach
a fourth and two at the Dolphin’s 40, punt. Now, these days announcers are a little bit
more vocal about overly cautious punting. Just five years ago, it was a different world. I’ll play the broadcast audio right as the
punt team takes the field. Listen to the nonchalance of the announcer
and the reaction of the crowd. “Here comes the punting unit.” The angry Floridian mob makes a very good
point. This could well have been the best chance
the Dolphins would ever get but apparently those two yards were just too scary for them. But fate would deliver them victory no matter
how implausible that victory had to be. When a player with a ball is tackled in his
own end zone, the other team gets two points. This is known as a safety and it’s pretty
rare. It often happens because of a fumble, penalty,
blocked punt, or, in a couple of cases, because the player did it on purpose. Excluding those, we’re left with a straight
up safety in which the ball carrier is straight up tackled in his own end zone. These are very rare. A tackle safety with a line of scrimmage at
the eight yard line and further up, it’s only happened 24 times this century. In other words, once every 200 games or so. For it to happen here and now was completely
unprecedented. It was a game winning, walk-off tackle safety. It is the only time in NFL history this has
ever happened. See what I mean? When the fates decide you’re gonna win, they
lay opportunity at your feet. You can try to overthink or cower your way
out of it, but the win will always find you. Sorry Dolphins, you won. I know it’s not what you wanted. Number six. Ah, look, it’s the Bengals again. This one’s actually just a few weeks earlier
in 2013. In overtime Cincinnati drives all the way
from their own 23 to the Buffalo 37. It’s fourth and five and their field goal
kicker is Mike Nugent who has made it from this distance the only time he’s ever tried. But a 55 yarder is still a pretty long kick. I’ll accept that you might not want to try
from this distance so you go for it, right? No, apparently not. Let’s run through the number when we go for
it in this situation and when we punt. The Bengals have one of the best offenses
in the league this season. They are 6th out of 32 in scoring. But for simplicity sake let’s just say they’re
an average team. On average if a team goes for it on fourth
and five they’re successful 38.7% of the time. Yes, a little worse than a coin flip. But, if they make it, they’re at least at
the 32 if not further. That’s sets them up really well for a field
goal that could win the game for them right then and there. If they fail, well, their opponent likely
gets the ball at the 37 and teams who start drives at their own 37 end up scoring 39.2%
of the time. So, if you go for it with these odds and fail,
they take over with almost the same odds themselves. Now, what if they punt? There’s always the danger of a touchback,
which would put them at their 20 and make this punt basically worthless. But let’s stick with just about ideal scenario,
which is what actually happened. They punted and stuck their opponent at the
seven. Now, you have to dodge a bullet. There’s a 22.6% chance a team will score from
their own seven. If you avoid that, a team that starts from
here and doesn’t score still gains about 18 yards on average. If you stop them there, great. They average about 40 yards a punt, which
stick you at your own 35 where you have a 33.9% chance of scoring. In short, if you punt from here, you’re passing
up these odds, so you can give your opponent a free chance to score and win the game. Even if you stop them, your award is having
worse odds than you have right now. You’re trading a better chance for a worse
chance while also giving your opponent the ball for no reason. The Bengals choose the second one. They didn’t have all these stats in front
of them. But, if you trust your gut, it’d probably
tell you to do the same thing I’m telling you. I guess they didn’t have guts either. Number five. Some of the weirdest games I’ve ever seen
have this uncanny habit of showing up in this study, including this one. Steelers-Falcons, 2002. This was a punt very deep in overtime from
the opponent’s 33. Its sole saving grace is that it was fourth
and twelve, which keeps this one from flying completely off the charts, but it’s a familiar
story. For the Steelers this would have been a 51
yard field goal attempt to win the game. Long, but very makable. Their kicker, Todd Peterson, had hit 8 of
his 18 career attempts from 50 yards out, so almost a coin flip. Instead they decided to punt to place the
Falcons at their own 11. Now, since a missed field goal gives the opponent
the ball at the spot of the hold, a miss would put the Falcons at the 36. Teams who start drives from there have about
a 36% chance of scoring. At the 11 that only evolves to about 21%. That’s a difference of just 14%. Essentially, the Steelers traded a good shot
at immediately winning the game just so they could give their opponent the ball with somewhat
worst odds but not that much worse. This was a poor decision. Was it an all time bad decision? I don’t think so. But remember, the Surrender Index is an expression
of my disgust above all else and I sure do hate it and so do the fates who were so annoyed
by this that they went to historic lengths to make sure no one would win this stupid
game. See, both the Falcons and the Steelers ended
up trying a field goal in this overtime period and both of them were blocked. That two of them happened back to back in
the same overtime is just silly. But not as silly as this. At midfield with the game still tied the Steelers
have one second left in overtime to make something happen. They try for the hail Mary. This almost never works. It’s successful 2% of the time. Tommy Maddox heaves it, Plaxico Burress catches
it, his foot’s in the end zone but by a matter of inches the ball barely misses breaking
the plane of the goal line. The most confounding overtime in the history
of the NFL ends in a tie. The Steelers could have tried a 51 yarder
to win, but they didn’t and the fates abandoned them. Number four offers a lesson in recognizing,
or failing to recognize, when your moment has arrived. December 26, 2010. With 5:43 left in the game the Jets punt on
fourth and six at the Bears 35 but the score makes this one especially nauseating. The Jets are losing at the time of the punt. They’re down by just four points, which earns
them the rare multiplier of four. But this is another one of those punts that
is actually sadder than the Surrender Index would indicate. Losing late in the game ought to light a fire
under you but somehow the Jets decided they had the luxury of waiting for something easier
to come around. They did not. A couple of minutes after punting this one
away they got it back and ended up with a fourth and five back here. Essentially, they traded having the ball at
the Bears’ 35 for having the ball at their own 45, a loss of 20 yards. That was a mistake but mistakes happen and
this is their chance to make up for it, a very makable fourth and five around midfield. Remember, there were only about three minutes
left and they’re still losing. They punt again. The Jets are behaving like a team that has
the lead. Ultimately, their reward for this extreme
risk aversion is one final chance way back at their own 28 with a minute left and no
timeouts. It’s hopeless. The drive goes nowhere and the Jets lose. They just kept trading their way out of opportunities,
until they had nothing left. They could never get it that good again. It’s poetic. Though the Jets would still make the playoffs
that season, their time among the NFL’s elite was about to come to an end. Eight years later, they still haven’t been
back to the post-season. They could never get it that good again. Our next punt is only third highest on the
index, but personally it might be the one that makes me the very saddest. Bills-Colts, December 10, 2017. The Surrender Index has now entered the 400s,
largely because it’s a fourth and one punt that’s very late in overtime. See, when you punt with less than five minutes
remaining in overtime you’re usually expressing something very particular: that you’re playing
for a tie, or at least you’d be okay with a tie. That’s because there’s a very solid chance
you’ll never get the ball back, or if you do you won’t have enough time to do anything
with it. Now these bars represent field position, as
well as the distance to the first down marker. So for instance, these four fellows were facing
fourth and 13 at their own two; depending on other factors I might actually still go
for it here, as crazy as that sounds, but punting’s still very understandable. Now if you’re around midfield at fourth and
five, and you actually want to win the game instead of tying, I don’t agree with these
punts. I think you have to go for it. But this Bills punt, there has never been
anything else like it. Unlike their neighbors, who faced fourth and
long, the Bears are sitting at fourth and one. Now, when NFL teams go for it on fourth and
one, they’re successful about 65% of the time. The Bills, however, have someone the average
NFL team does not: LaSean McCoy. Their star running back is the only component
of their offense that’s working today, he’s gained 129 yards on the ground so far. Of his 28 carries, he’s gained at least a
yard on 23 of them. Their odds of converting here are very, very
good. This punt honestly makes me question whether
the Bills are trying to win or not, an unbelievable thing to wonder, considering they’re in the
thick of a playoff race. At 6-6 they’re one game away from a wild card
spot, but they’re stuck in a three-way tie. With only four games remaining, they need
to separate themselves from the pack in the worst way. A tie game just won’t do it. See, for the Bills, this isn’t just any playoff
spot. Should they pull it off, this would be their
first playoff appearance in 18 years. They played through the entire Bush administration,
and then the entire Obama administration, without a single postseason appearance. It’s the longest active playoff drought, not
only in the NFL, but in major American professional sports. This is the city of Buffalo’s only pro sports
team. Their fans have been sitting in a snowstorm
for three hours, they desperately need this. After sending out the punt team, Coach Shawn
McDermott thinks better of it, and calls a time out. Thank goodness, because their opponent, the
Colts, have heavily favored the run over the pass, which eats up more time. If they get the ball and string something
together, the Bills are done, especially because they spent a time out just now. On the other hand, this time out gives McCoy
a minute to catch his breath before this crucial fourth and one. Things are looking up. McDermott sends out the team. The punt team! Yeah! The Bills called a timeout specifically so
they could reconsider this decision, only to punt anyway. Just imagine you’re a Bills fan in attendance
right now: your team hasn’t been to the playoffs in nearly 20 years, you’ve sat outside in
miserable weather for three hours, and you can finally go home, they finally get to the
doorstep, and they surrender. What do you think they sound like? Bills fans certainly don’t like the call,
[inaudible 00:41:32] time with a very good punt. That’s about right. With number two we once again see a punt that’s
a small symptom of a much larger crisis. Ravens-Steelers, October 29, 2000. This one comes earlier in the game than any
other punt we reviewed so far, there are still nearly eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. That’s only a multiplier of about three, so
if it still registers a score of 465, it must be really, really bad. It is. But there’s a special consideration to be
made. The Ravens were losing by three points, they
had the opportunity to tie the game with a 51 yard field goal. Their kicker, Matt Stover, had made a 51 yarder
and a 49 yarder earlier in that game, but it turns out that it was Stover himself who
made the decision not to kick. He would’ve been kicking into the wind, and
he didn’t like his chances. Kickers like to kick, and if he said it was
a bad idea, it made sense to listen to him. I still think they should’ve went for the
first down on fourth and six, but I have to acknowledge that this isn’t quite as bad as
it seems on paper. So I figured I’d go ahead and hit cancel on
this one. But then … I skimmed the rest of the play-by-play
and found something very disturbing. On the Ravens’ previous possession, they
had punted on fourth and just three from the Steelers’ 37. The Ravens, while losing in the fourth quarter
by just three points, punted well inside their opponent’s 40 twice in a row. It’s as though they were more afraid of risk
than they were afraid of losing. It’s such a sad way to play football, and
if we look at their last few games, we can see what made them so sad. This was the Ravens’ fifth consecutive game
without a single touchdown. That’s tied for the longest such streak in
modern NFL history. And it’s not as though they didn’t come close,
in fact, they made it to their opponent’s side of the field more than half the time,
they just could not score a touchdown. Maybe they just forgot. Maybe they just forgot that if you can make
it all the way down to the end of the field, they give you six points for that. At any rate, these two punts are very, very
special. As you know, this punt has the second highest
Surrender Index on record, but this one has the 17th highest, and remember, that’s out
of a sample of more than 46,000. You can see how rare this is. The vast majority of punts barely register
on the index. To even get a score of 50 is unbelievably
rare. To earn a score in the 200s is essentially
unheard of, and yet the Ravens achieved this twice, in the span of a few minutes. Unreal. So in light of this, never mind, I’m reversing
my decision: I’m un-canceling the score. This punt deserves infamy. And finally, here it is: the saddest punt
in the world. This punt was from the opponent’s 34 yard
line; this punt was on a fourth and one; this punt occurred while the team was losing by
one point; and this punt occurred with nine minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the fourth
quarter. This returns a mammoth Surrender Index score
of 535.86. I didn’t notice it at first, just thought
my screen was dirty. It is without peer; no other punt of its era
is even remotely like it. Vikings-Lions, October 8, 2006. It’s finally time to talk about the “pooch
punt”. A pooch punt is sort of the inverse of a fake
punt: you line up like you’re going to go for it, or kick a field goal, only to catch
your opponent off guard by punting. Believe it or not, there are some cases in
which this is not a terrible idea. Take this one for instance: the Patriots are
stuck at third and 32, basically no hope of picking up the first down, Tom Brady performs
the ultra-rare third down punt. The idea here is to surprise the Bills’
defense; they didn’t plan for a punt, so they don’t have a designated punt returner back
there to catch it. Because of that, ideally the ball will bounce
all the way down the field, and ultimately be more successful than the inevitable fourth
down punt would be. Problem is, since it’s third and 32, the Bills
are playing a prevent defense, so they have guys back there anyway. The ball is caught comfortably, and the Patriots
end up with a 32 yard punt, which is probably a little shorter than they would’ve achieved
had they run the play on third down to pick up a few yards, and then sent out an actual
punter with a stronger leg to kick it. So was it genius? No, not really, but it was worth a try. The pooch punt started coming into vogue in
the early 2000s. For a time there it was happening nearly once
a week in the NFL. Then one day, in 2007, everyone suddenly realized
it was stupid, and now it almost never happens anymore. I found what I believe to be every pooch punt
of the 21st century, a total of 77. Pooches almost always happen between the 30
and the 35, right along that no-man’s land, in which there’s no general consensus on what
to do. I’ve arranged them here from least to most
successful, in terms of net yardage. In red you see how far it went, and overlaid
in white you see how far they would’ve had to go to get to the first down if they went
for it. Now a lot of these pen their opponents inside
the five, as good as they could hope for. Even though they chose a punt over a makeable
field goal, some of these could be good ideas. But remember, in order to fool your opponent
you have to have a non-punter out there, a place kicker or a quarterback. They aren’t exactly marksmen, so plenty of
these bounce into the end zone for a touchback, and place their opponent at the 20. This is a fun one: on the opening drive of
the game, the Bengals, rather than going for it on fourth and five, or trying a 50 yard
field goal, pooch it. It ends up as a touchback, the ball goes to
the 20, and the Titans get the ball pretty much for free. Fantastic. But up here is where it gets really funny. These punts were so ineffective that the opponent
actually returned the ball past the line of scrimmage, even though the very point of these
is to avoid a return. Essentially they would’ve been better off
just handing their opponent the ball for free. One of these was even returned all the way
back for a touchdown. And buddy, they 1,000 % deserved it. See, Panthers coach John Fox was seemingly
obsessed with the pooch punt. Between 2003 and this point in 2007, he’d
had his field goal kicker, John Casey, pooch it six times, all between the opponent’s 34
and 38. Within this same span, Casey attempted 15
actual field goals, so if he lined up for a field goal at this point on the field, any
opponent who did their homework would know to watch out for it. It surprises no one. It doesn’t surprise the announcer, who matter-of-factly
sees it coming. Sometimes they will snap it directly to Casey,
and they do here, and he pooch punts it. And it doesn’t surprise the Packers’ Tramon
Williams, who scoops it up and takes it the distance. This is what’s known as getting too cute. The Panthers totally had it coming. Throughout the rest of his career, John Casey
never pooch punted again. That was in the middle of the 2007 season,
right when teams stopped trying to run the pooch. My theory, which I can by no means confirm,
is that this single play was such a catastrophe that it single-handedly killed the pooch punt. It’s dead, I’m thankful for that. That seems like it would be the saddest punt
of all time, right? It’s not. Let’s look at the scoreboard at the time of
these 77 pooch punts. It’s relatively uncommon to pooch punt while
losing, there are only 24 such instances. So let’s take those 24 pooch punts by trailing
teams and sort them by the quarter of the game they occurred in, and the distance they
would’ve needed for the first down. I hate every single one of these, but the
ones sitting in the top half of the chart are relatively understandable, they had 10
or 15 yards to go for the first down, and I guess they didn’t feel good about a field
goal. These happen on fourth and feasible, but it
was in the first half of the game, so they presumably had the luxury of time as they
negotiated for field position. One of these punts does not belong. Yeah, a team pooch punted on fourth and one,
in the fourth quarter, while they were losing. They were the Brad Childress 2006 Minnesota
Vikings, and they were sitting on the Lions’ 34. They were trailing by just one point, this
would’ve been a 51 yard field goal attempt for Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell. It was a kick he was absolutely capable of,
this season he was one for three out in this territory, but over the course of his career
he made more often than he missed. Was Longwell injured? No, he was not. Was the weather an issue? No, this was in the Metrodome, so they’re
playing indoors. You’re down by one point, and you have coin
flip odds of taking the lead right now, and if you miss, again, you have nine-plus minutes
remaining and are totally still in it, even if they take the ball down and score. And your kicker is good at long field goals,
his name is Longwell. Okay, we’re getting nowhere with this. You don’t want to kick a field goal, and that’s
that. So how about this, how about you go for it? Remember, NFL teams are successful in fourth
and one 65% of the time. Your running back, Chester Taylor, is three
for four in his career when he gets the ball on fourth and one. When your quarterback Brad Johnson has thrown
on fourth and one he’s converted six out of seven, and when he’s just taken the ball and
run a QB sneak up the middle, he’s a perfect 11 for 11. He’s made it every time. You could call a quarterback sneak, you could
hand it off, you could throw it, you could kick a field goal; all of these favor you. Just don’t punt. And yet they did. This punt is all alone. Fourth and one inside the 35. No other team has ever dared to venture here. Never mind for a moment that they were losing
in the fourth quarter, no team in this century, whether winning by seven, or 14, or 31, or
in any other situation, has ever punted on fourth and one, from this far out. It wasn’t smart, wasn’t bold, wasn’t fun,
and it wasn’t safe. It wasn’t anything, but the signifier of a
loser. This is what losing teams do. Except, they won. That’s right: the team that committed the
saddest punt in the entire world immediately made a stop, got the ball, kicked a field
goal, and added a pick six for good measure. They won 26 to 17. And that Washington team that punted into
the end zone from their opponent’s 35? They won. And those Buccs who wouldn’t let Martin Gramatica
kick the game winner? They received a miraculous fumble on the very
next play, they let Gramatica kick this time, and they own. The Dolphins? You remember that game ending safety that
literally had never happened before? They won, thanks to that. The Bengals, after their tasteless decision
to punt to the Bills got a stop, benefited from a great punt return that immediately
put them into field goal range, and they won. Of course those Steelers who wouldn’t let
their kicker try a 51 yard game winner escaped judgment, thanks to the weirdest overtime
ever, they tied. And those Bills, who chose to potentially
punt away their playoff chances and keep playing that miserable game in the snow? They ultimately won, somehow they even made
the playoffs. And that Ravens team, who punted deep into
enemy territory twice in the fourth quarter, when they were losing? The team that week after week couldn’t score
a touchdown to save their lives? Well, obviously they lost. And then they came out of absolutely nowhere
to win their next 10 games in a row. And then they got to the Super Bowl and they
won the Super Bowl. Yeah, the teams that, according to the Surrender
Index committed the 10 saddest, worst punts of the 21st century ended up with a 6-3-1
record. They won twice as often as they lost. So what am I to make of this? These were awful punts. They were, if you ask me, objectively terrible
decisions, and yet ultimately, usually miraculously, they won anyway. What does that mean? What do you think buddy? Think we’re going to punt on this one.

About the author


  1. 20 minute videos? YouTube, my time on this Earth is precious.

    Give me a video at least the length of a short film, or leave me be.

  2. You actually made a mistake with the bengals punt from the 24’s surrender index. The play did come about a minute in the 4th quarter, so I scored it myself and got a score on 356.304. This is because the game clock score is 2 times greater than yours. I don’t know if this was known, but I wanted to let you know. This punt is 5th, but was canceled.

  3. "Pro football is not primarily a game of scoring, it's a game of punting. It's a game of, in a sense, giving up. Failing."

    So what you're telling me is, the 24 years of living in Cleveland, I've been watching the Browns do really good in Football?

  4. What to make of this? How about that your system is flawed? Why did the teams with the highest surrender indexes have such good records? Because of the 4x multiplier for a one score game. Punting when you are more scores down is sadder than punting when you are one score down.

  5. Let's talk about the Dolphins punt. Let's say you miss the field goal or get stopped. You hand your opponent great field position and a great chance to win the game. By punting, you make it much harder for your opponent to win the game. Also, you have the chance to stop them and get the ball back with great field position at first and ten .

  6. I think the yards from first down has reasonable-ish explanation based on the situations you're typically in in which you make the 1-6 versus 7+ decisions. (I know you were making a joke, this isn't criticism just what I thought was a neat idea) When you have 1-6 yards to go the question is when are you not going for it? When you're deep in your own territory more likely to punt. You go for a field goal when you're close enough to the opponent's end zone and the game is close enough that the points matter. "Hey guys we could go for it but it's risky, why not just snag the 3 points and call it a day, it's 14-16 anyway". Also, when you're 4th and 5 say, you've gained yards, it's less likely that you're deep in your own territory and in a situation in which it's too risky to go for it. On the the flip side, the 7+ means you've been beaten by the defense pretty well. 7+ includes all those 16+ outliers and all the other situations in which the offense gets the ball, defense shuts them down hard, and it's 4th and 10 and you haven't made any progress in the last two quarters.
    Basically, while yards to go and field position aren't explicitly correlated, the breakdown of the decisions shows a relationship between the success of the offense and the yards to go (which isn't a stretch, if you get close to make it to a first down, you're doing something right). And building on that, there's a connection between the success of the offense and the field position on a first down. If the defense pushed you back, you're probably not in range to make a field goal, if the defense couldn't push you back, you probably are.

  7. 54 minutes long, a riotous good time. The ending took me through an emotional rollercoaster and I learned so much.

  8. I always hated math throughout school but even now, 8 years out of high school, I'm still such a nerd for football statistics and Idk why. So as a Raiders fan it really bugs me when people say "Carr's why the Raiders are losing" EVEN THOUGH HE HAS A PASSER RATING OF 103.6! CARR ISN'T GIVING UP 27.5 PPG!

  9. I truly despise the punt. It's the worst rule, the worst play, the single most ridiculous rule implemented in a game that is supposed to be dynamic and interesting.

  10. please sign these kids' petition, you'd be doing a great favor. God bless

  11. Hey nerd, football is not a game of failure. The offense's failure is due to a defense's success. It's a game of offensive or defensive success, not failure.

  12. It's 3 AM, I just finished watching the whole video. That wouldn't be completely terrible if I hadn't ALREADY WATCHED THE ENTIRE VIDEO 3 MONTHS AGO!

  13. Well, I suppose it’s okay to take a really stupid punt if you have arguably the greatest defense of all time. 😂😂😂

  14. Its not because these coaches are stupid its just that they think it would hurt their teams momentum if they don't make the 4th down play and are forced to turnover. Like you said, these teams often go on to win, so even though the numbers say its not a good call sometimes punting makes teams feel like it was their choice to turn the ball over and i guess makes them feel more confident and still in control.
    Coaches fear going for it on 4th so much because not only do you lose position if you fail, but it is a heavy blow for your teams morale and big boost for the other teams.

  15. Hypothetical.

    A team is losing by a single point, with one second remaining in regulation. They are standing on the opponents' 1 yard line (ie. one yard away from scoring a touchdown.) They punt.

    What would the surrender index in this scenario be?

  16. great stuff, very informative. I grew up in Canada, and we used to play a game with a US football called "yards" where we only punted the football, if the other side caught it they would have possession. I was on a team with blond boy Michael Schmau, who unfortunately punted backwards, he was facing the right direction, but because he swung his leg too early, managed to punt our football behind him, costing us yards. Has punting backwards ever happened in USA?

  17. 13:20 seems there is footage. Here ya go! It’s veryyyy close to being out at the one to me, but you interpret it for yourself.

  18. Hit thumbs up at the start of the video by research and presentation alone, was blown away by the results. This was astounding, well done. "Buddy, math does not exist to make things better it exists to empower you to tear things apart." – Micheal Swaim on Cracked After Hours

  19. The saddest punt I ever saw was when I was in junior high. We're playing our local rival and a kid that had gone to our school magically switched schools whenever he started playing jr high football (something about him supposedly being that good of a player). So it's the third quarter and the guy is killing us, especially in punt returns. So coach tells our punter something he's evidently never heard before: "when you take the snap, kick the ball out of bounds." Well the punter is obviously confused by this whenever he catches the ball he turns parallel to the field and punts the ball directly out of bounds for a loss of about 8 yards. The next day at school we asked coach about it and all he could say was how much of an idiot the guy was for not trying to kick the ball down the field, but he at least gave him credit for following directions

  20. I wonder if you could do this with the "Worst goal given up in NHL History". Now NHL history is a long time, so you could again cut this down to since 2000. Factoring in time of the game (regulation period or overtime), meaningfulness of the game (did it cost the team a playoff spot, higher seed, home-ice advantage or even eliminated them from the playoffs), playoffs or non-playoffs, how far away the shot was, did it deflect?

  21. Man, the saddest punt was quite the roller coaster. I predicted a particular team would have had the saddest punt, but come to find out their opponent had the punt. But of course the team that I thought had the punt, but didn’t, ended up losing anyway. #LionsBeLions

  22. If even-5-yard spikes are due to officiant bias, we would expect to see dips at the x9 and x1 yard lines, which we don't.

  23. Patriots Jets Monday Night Football game is practically over at 33-0 with a couple minutes left but the patriots PUNTING FROM THE 31. ON 4TH AND 2!!! Insanity

  24. None of this takes into account the weather conditions. How good your offense is compared to they're defense. Or if you punt do you trust your defense to make a stop which also depends on how good they're offense is. Or weather or not the kicker is trusted to make a kick. Also injuries. There are alot more things to take into account when punting.

  25. Ha just like I said at the start of the video. If a team has a ball hawk d or good d in general. Punting is a way to get your play makers backnon the field

  26. Love these segments – smart, fun and innovative. Maybe consider a feature on the 1978 Patriots, who had four 500 yard rushers and nearly a fifth? Gotta be some interesting data there.

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