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Thursday Cannon Fodder: bad decisions

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

As I sit contemplating today’s CF, the talking heads on ESPN are going on and on about the Denver Broncos decision to attempt at 64-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 5 to keep their drive alive (with 1:11 remaining on the clock).

A field goal from that distance has a 14.2% conversion rate. Teams convert 4th and 5 about 42% of the time. The chances of the Broncos converting and scoring after they got the first down was 27.9%. The coach’s decision hurt his team’s chances to win the game. To his credit, Bronco’s coach Nathaniel Hackett has since admitted that he’d do it differently if could do it over.

NFL coaches consistently make “incorrect” decisions by the statistics. They should go for it more often on 4th down instead of punting / kicking a field goal. They misuse timeouts and mismanage the clock. You’d think that doing all that right would be a job requirement!

Soccer coaches don’t have nearly as much opportunity to make outcome-influencing in-match decisions simply because of the nature of the game. But a few things come to mind.

First, penalty takers. Alexandre Lacazette had a better penalty conversion percentage than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, yet Auba took them even when they were on the field together.

Second, substitution patterns. I’m not sure you can stick a percentage number on how much making or not making a substitution affects a team’s ability to get a result, but it feels like most coaches, Mikel Arteta absolutely among them, under-use their subs.

Third, long shots. The data is out there (and I may do an entire post based on the Twitter thread below — you should click through, there is more than displays here). Stop shooting from distance, footballers, especially when you aren’t centered.

Anything else come to mind for y’all?