I drove home for dinner as Helaine was watching the Tampa Bay – Washington football game. It’s good to have a wife who loves sports and is an adamant Philadelphia Eagles fan.
My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Go Tampa Bay.
With under two minutes to go, Tampa Bay scored a touchdown, leaving them down by a point. A kick (aka: PAT) from the two yard line would tie the game. A 2-point conversion would put them ahead.
John Gruden, Tampa Bay’s coach, elected to go for the two point conversion. He literally put the game on the line at that point, because if the attempt failed, Washington would certainly run out the clock.
Listening in the car, I heard Gruden’s choice second guessed. Coming home, I heard the same thing from my wife. The proper play is to kick the safe PAT and hope for the best in overtime.
First, you have to assume the PAT is a gimme. Last year, all season, Lawrence Tynes of Kansas City missed two – and he still had a 96.7% success rate! No one else missed more than one. So, by going for the two point play, you’re taking a ‘sure’ tie off the board.
On the other hand, if you tie, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get the ball back. Even if you do, will you ever have an easier place to score from that the two yard line?
Yes, you’re giving up a tie – seldom the final result. What you are doing is securing the chance to win right there. I like that idea. Just having the opportunity to score and probably win is more than you’re guaranteed in overtime and more than many unhappy teams get.
Today, Gruden was successful. If the play would have failed (the refs did review it), he would have been a major goat… but he still would have done the right thing.