NFL Plagued By Epidemic Of Gutless Coaches
John Fox was bashed for being conservative in Denver’s epic playoff loss, but consider the fact that with Peyton Manning as the quarterback, the Broncos only went for it a league-low five times on fourth down in 2012. Every time it was with 1-2 yards to go. Three times they did it while trailing, and three times they converted. Willis McGahee let a fourth conversion slip through his hands in New England. A fifth play was actually a fake field goal against the Raiders, so Fox only had Manning actually go for it four times, which is absurd…
...While I can learn from my mistakes and believe in the data, NFL coaches have shown they are increasingly more afraid to even be in a situation that makes them look wrong on fourth down. With a quarter of the league changing head coaches, six of which are first-time NFL head coaches (seven counting interim-only Bruce Arians), it will be interesting to see if 2013 continues the gutless approach, or if this new breed will start to turn the tables and roll the dice a bit more.
Trust the numbers. Double check them too just to be safe. But trust that going for it on fourth down is going to be worth it more often than not.