The Belichick calculator

A group of much smarter guys than us over at Football Outsiders have posted a probability calculator. You can enter your own probabilities and it will determine whether your estimates favor Belichick going for the fourth-and-2 or the other option: punting and gaining 40 yards of field position.

Even though I still find his arrogance astounding, it's closer than you think.


  1. http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/11/belichicks-4th-down-decision-vs-colts.html

    looks like he made the right decision. amazing how much TV can be dedicated to the argument when simple math has a definitive answer. in my mind it's sort of like arguing about the force of gravity.

  2. when I first commented I didn't know that the answer was so definitive, but I'm not surprised.

  3. The calculator allows you to easily do the same type of math I did in my below post.

    The thing that I think deserves additional mentioning here is that the Colts were more likely to score from the 28 in that particular situation than they would have been had it happened early in the game.

    Not to play amateur psychologist here, but I think we can all agree that there was some element of total shock from the Patriots and they did appear to be totally unprepared to even take the field in the situation that Belichick had created. I'll admit that I'm certainly hesitant to try to "read the minds" of athletes, but momentum does have some impact on an outcome's probability. I don't think that should be completely ignored.