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Running Head: THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES

Third Down Play Call Tenden ie! in Pro"e!!ional #oo$%all

&ary 'han(ian Ad)an ed Coa hing Te hni*ue! &on$ lair S$a$e +ni)er!i$y De e,%er -.1/

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES Introduction Pro"e!!ional "oo$%all in)ol)e! o,0le1 !$ra$egy and 0re i!ely e1e u$ed o""en!i)e

and de"en!i)e 0lay all!2 Tea,! ,u!$ o,%ine are"ul $i,ing3 ra0id hange! o" dire $ion3 a ura$e 0a!!ing3 and %odily "or e $o dri)e $he "oo$%all down $he "ield in$o $he end 4one $o ! ore a $ou hdown2 There are 11 o""en!i)e and 11 de"en!i)e 0layer! on $he "ield during $he ga,e2 The o""en!e ,u!$ ,o)e $he %all a$ lea!$ 1. yard! in "our 0lay!3 alled 5down!63 in order $o earn a new !e$ o" "our down!3 $here%y ,o)ing lo!er $o $heir re!0e $i)e end 4one2 The de"en!e a$$e,0$! $o $hwar$ $hi! e""or$3 and i" !u e!!"ul3 gain 0o!!e!!ion o" $he "oo$%all2 On ,o!$ down!3 $he o""en!e will ei$her run $he %all or 0a!! i$ in an a$$e,0$ $o a hie)e a "ir!$ down2 A$ o$her $i,e!3 $he o""en!e will 0un$ $he %all $o !e$ $he de"en!e "ar %a 7 "ro, $he de"en!i)e end 4one on e 0o!!e!!ion i! !wi$ hed2 Poin$! are earned when $he "oo$%all i! arried in$o or augh$ in $he end 4one3 when $he %all i! 7i 7ed $hrough $he "ield goal 0o!$!2 Third down 0lay all! are ri$i al in ,ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion long enough $o gain a "ir!$ down2 In $he %e!$8 a!e ! enario3 i" a $hird down all i! !u e!!"ul3 $he o""en!i)e $ea, will ,o)e $he %all "ar enough $o earn a new !e$ o" down!2 I" un!u e!!"ul3 0re!!ure i! in rea!ed $o ,ain$ain 0o!!e!!ion in $he "our$h down 0lay2 On $hird down!3 0lay all! an ei$her %e $o run $he %all or $o 0a!! i$2 There are ad)an$age! and ri!7! $o ei$her all2 I$ i! i,0or$an$ $o analy4e $he !u e!! ra$e o" ea h all in ,ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion o" $he %all in order $o ,ore e""e $i)ely ,o)e $he %all down $he "ield2 I" a $ea, an ,ain$ain 0o!!e!!ion and gain yardage on $he $hird down3 $hey will ge$ lo!er $o $he end 4one3 ,a7ing a $ou hdown ea!ier $o a hie)e2 I" $hey lo!e 0o!!e!!ion3 $he o$her $ea, gain! i$ "ro, $he !a,e line o" ! ri,,age2

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES 9y analy4ing $he e""e $! o" 0lay all $enden ie! during $he ga,e3 $he ,o!$

e""e $i)e all! "or ,ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion o" $he "oo$%all an %e de$er,ined2 I" 0o!!e!!ion i! %e$$er ,ain$ained on running 0lay!3 $he!e 0lay! an %e u$ili4ed ,ore o"$en2 Con)er!ely3 i" running 0lay! are ,ore e""e $i)e3 $hen running 0lay! an %e alled ,ore o"$en2 &ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion i! $he ,o!$ i,0or$an$ "a $or in dri)ing $he "oo$%all down $he "ield $o ! ore 0oin$!2 Third down 0lay all! an %e $he de$er,ining "a $or %e$ween earning a "ir!$ down and lo!ing 0o!!e!!ion3 and under!$anding 0lay all $enden ie! an gi)e an ad)an$age $o $he o""en!i)e $ea,2 #or $hi! analy!i!3 !i1 )aria%le! were o%!er)ed2 The o""en!i)e $ea, wa! re orded "or ea h 0lay3 in order "or $enden ie! $o %e $ra 7ed %e$ween $ea,! and wi$hin $ea,!2 The 4one o" ini$ial 0o!!e!!ion o" $he "oo$%all wa! re orded3 a! well a! $he de!$ina$ion 4one o" $he 0lay2 The 4one o" ini$ial 0o!!e!!ion wa! de"ined a! $he lo a$ion o" $he *uar$er%a 7 when $he 0a!! wa! $hrown on 0a!! 0lay!3 and a! $he lo a$ion o" $he !$ar$ o" $he run on running 0lay!2 The "ield wa! di)ided in$o 4one! "or analy!i! 0ur0o!e!3 %u$ !0e i"i lo a$ion wa! al!o re orded u!ing a nu,%ering and le$$ering !y!$e,2 Thi! wa! i,0or$an$ in de$er,ining $enden ie! in lo a$ion and di!$an e o" running 0lay! )er!u! 0a!!ing 0lay!2 The $hird down 0lay all3 ei$her run or 0a!!3 a! well a! $he ou$ o,e o" $he 0lay all wa! re orded2 In 0a!!ing 0lay!3 $he ou$ o,e wa! a$egori4ed a! ei$her 5 o,0le$e6 or 5in o,0le$e62 I" $he 0a!! wa! o,0le$e3 ou$ o,e wa! "ur$her la!!i"ied %y 5yard! gained63 5no yard! gained63 or 5yard! lo!$63 wi$h nu,eri da$a re orded "or yard! gained and lo!$2 #inally3 $he ou$ o,e o" $he $hird down wa! re orded a! 5$urno)er63 5$ou hdown63 5 "ir!$ down63 or 5"our$h down62 Thi! wa! i,0or$an$ in de$er,ining $he !u e!! o" 0a!! 0lay! )er!u! run 0lay!3 a! well a! $he $enden ie! in whi h 0lay! were

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES alled in !0e i"i !i$ua$ion!2 Methods The 0ro"e!!ional "oo$%all ga,e !ele $ed "or $hi! analy!i! wa! $he New Yor7 ;ian$! )!2 San Diego Charger!2 The ga,e $oo7 0la e a$ <ual o,, S$adiu, in San Diego3 CA3 $he ho,e o" $he Charger!2 The ga,e wa! 0layed a$ ::.=0, on Sunday3

De e,%er >3 -.1/2 Wea$her ondi$ion! were lear and $e,0era$ure! !$ayed near ==?# "or $he dura$ion o" $he ga,e2 In order $o analy4e $he ga,e3 a har$ wa! dra"$ed $o in lude $he "ollowing in"or,a$ion "or e""i ien$ $ra 7ing during $he ga,e2 The har$ u!ed "or ,a$ h analy!i! in luded a$egorie! "or no$a$ion o" $ea,3 4one o" ini$ial 0o!!e!!ion3 0lay all3 ou$ o,e o" $he 0lay all3 de!$ina$ion 4one o" $he 0lay3 and $he re!ul$ o" $he $hird down2 Ta%le 1 i! an e1a,0le o" $he ,a$ h analy!i! har$ u!ed "or da$a olle $ion2 Da$a wa! olle $ed while wa$ hing $he li)e ga,e "eed on $he #O@ ne$wor72 Throughou$ $he ga,e3 $hird down! were re0or$ed and analy4ed "or $he rele)an$ da$a2 In order $o $ra 7 0lay lo a$ion3 a har$ o" $he "oo$%all "ield wa! dra"$ed and di)ided in$o 1> 4one!2 #igure 1 i! a diagra, o" $he "ield and $he 4one! u$ili4ed "or $he ,a$ h analy!i!2 A nu,%er and le$$er !y!$e, wa! u!ed $o $ra 7 $he !$ar$ and end lo a$ion o" ea h 0lay2 #or e1a,0le3 in $he no$a$ion5-A63 $he 5-6 indi a$ed $ha$ i$ wa! $he !e ond $hird8down o" $he ga,e3 and $he 5A6 indi a$ed $ha$ i$ wa! $he !$ar$ing lo a$ion o" $he 0lay2 In $he no$a$ion 5-963 $he 5-6 indi a$ed $ha$ i$ wa! $he !e ond $hird8down o" $he ga,e3 and $he 596 re0re!en$ed $he de!$ina$ion o" $he 0lay2 Line! were drawn %e$ween $he no$a$ion! o" ,a$ hing 0lay! $o diagra, $he rou$e o" $he 0lay2
Play # Team Zone of Initial Possession 3rd Down Play Call Outcome of Play Call Destination Zone of Play Outcome of 3rd Down

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES

1 Giants B3 Pass Incomplete T3 Fourth Down Table 1. Sample data collection chart. Data was recorded during the game using this chart.

Go al

10

20

30

40

50

40

30

20

10

Goal

T1

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

e n o z d nM1 E s t n a i G
B1

M2

M3

M4

M5

C h a r g e r s M6 E n d z o n e
B6

B2

B3

B4

B5

Go al

10

20

30

40

50

40

30

20

10

Goal

Figure 1. Sample field diagram. This is a sample of the field diagram used during the anal sis. !ones are also indicated.

Results A 7ey "inding o" $hi! analy!i! wa! $he $enden y o" $he $hird down $o %e 0layed a! a 0a!!2 O" $he -1 $hird8down 0lay! analy4ed3 1A o" $he 0lay! were 0a!!e!3 and only "i)e were run!2 O" $he 1A 0a!!e!3 !i1 re!ul$ed in a "ir!$8down3 nine re!ul$ed in a "our$h down3 and one re!ul$ed in a $ou hdown2 #igure - illu!$ra$e! $he 0er en$age o" ea h 0a!! all ou$ o,e2 O)er hal" o" $he $hird down 0a!! all! re!ul$ed in a "our$h down2 There were !i1 in o,0le$e 0a!!e! $hrown $hroughou$ $he ga,e2 Howe)er3 0o!!e!!ion wa! ,ain$ained de!0i$e an in o,0le$e 0a!!2 None o" $he 0a!!e! re!ul$ed in $urno)er!2 Ano$her i,0or$an$ "inding rela$ed $o $he yardage gained %y ea h $ea, de0ending

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES on $he 0lay all2 O)erall3 1=> yard! were o)ered in 0a!! 0lay! on $hird down! %e$ween $he $wo $ea,!2 In on$ra!$3 only 1- yard! were gained on running 0lay!2 #igure / highligh$! $he di""eren e! in yardage %e$ween $he 0lay $y0e!2 The Charger! gained 1/. yard! on 0a!! 0lay!3 while $he ;ian$! only gained -> yard!2 When o,0ared $o running 0lay!3 $he yardage gained %y running $he %all wa! on!idera%ly le!!2 The Charger! ran $he %all "or 11 yard! on $hird down!3 while $he ;ian$! only ran $he %all "or one yard on $hird down!2 #igure : !how! $he di""eren e! %e$ween $he $ea,! and $he yardage gained2

Third Down Play Calls

24%

Runs Passes

76%

Figure 2. "umber of pla calls. Between both teams# onl fi$e of the third down pla calls were runs. %f the &1 pla calls# 1' were passes. The tendenc for a pass to be called on a third down is much greater than the tendenc for a run to be called.

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES

Result of Passes

6%

38% First Down Fourth Down Touchdown 56%

Figure 3. (esult of passes. %$er half of the pass pla s resulted in a fourth down. Passes had a 1))* success rate in maintaining possession# as +ero passes resulted in interceptions or turno$ers.

Yards Gained by Play Calls


140 120 100 80 60 40 20 11 Number of Yards Gained 1 0 Runs Play Call Passes 28 Giants Char ers 130

Figure 4. Differences in ardage between pla s. Pass pla s resulted in more ardage gained b both teams than running pla s.

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES Findings

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I$ an %e de$er,ined "ro, $hi! analy!i! $ha$ ,ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion on $hird down 0lay! i! a hie)ed $hrough e""e $i)e !ele $ion and e1e u$ion o" 0a!!ing and running 0lay!2 A! de,on!$ra$ed $hrough $he da$a3 running $he %all ,ay %e a %e$$er o0$ion when a low nu,%er o" yard! i! needed $o ,ain$ain 0o!!e!!ion2 Con)er!ely3 when a high nu,%er o" yard! i! needed $o ,ain$ain 0o!!e!!ion3 a 0a!! i! u!ually ,ore e""e $i)e2 Ea h o" $he!e 0lay! 0re!en$! uni*ue o""en!i)e and de"en!i)e hallenge! $o $he $ea,!2 I" a 0a!! i! in o,0le$e3 $he o""en!i)e $ea, ha! wa!$ed $he o00or$uni$y "or yardage3 and in rea!ed $he !$a7e! o" $he "our$h down 0lay2 I" a 0a!! i! in$er e0$ed3 no$ only doe! $he o""en!i)e $ea, lo!e 0o!!e!!ion3 %u$ al!o $he de"en!i)e $ea, ould 0o$en$ially run $he %all $o $heir ad)an$age3 gaining )alua%le yardage2 Po!i$ion on $he "ield3 de"en!i)e lineu03 a! well a! indi)idual !$reng$h! and wea7ne!!e! o" 0layer! !hould %e weighed %e"ore hoo!ing an a00ro0ria$e 0lay2 #or ea h $ea, in $hi! ,a$ h3 0a!! 0lay! were alled "ar ,ore o"$en $han running 0lay!2 Thi! wa! rela$ed $o $he nu,%er o" yard! needed $o ,ain$ain 0o!!e!!ion3 and "or $he!e $ea,!3 0a!!e! were e""e $i)e2 Third down! all! are ri$i al in ,o)ing $he %all down $he "ield2 A !u e!!"ul all will !e$u0 $he o""en!e wi$h a "ir!$ down3 or a !hor$ di!$an e $o o)er in $he "our$h down2 The "a $ $ha$ o)er hal" o" $he $hird down 0a!! all! re!ul$ed in a "our$h down i! an indi a$ion $ha$ 0a!!e!3 when o,0le$e3 were !$ill no$ long enough $o gain !u""i ien$ yardage "or a "ir!$ down2 Thi! ould largely %e due $o $he e""i a y o" $he de"en!e2 On $he o$her hand3 running 0lay! re!ul$ed in a "ir!$ down on $wo o" $he "i)e 0lay!2 Running 0lay! re!ul$ed in a $ou hdown on $wo o" $he "i)e 0lay!2 Running 0lay! were ,o!$ly !u e!!"ul in $hi! ga,e %e au!e o" $he !hor$ yardage needed3

THIRD DOWN PLAY CALL TENDENCIES %u$ $hi! ,ay %e a good !$ra$egy $o e,0loy2 One o" $he %igge!$ !ugge!$ion! $ha$ an %e ,ade a! a re!ul$ o" $hi! analy!i! i! $he

need $o )ary $hird down 0lay all!2 I" an o00o!ing $ea, de$er,ine! $ha$ 0a!!e! are alled on ,o!$ $hird down!3 $heir de"en!e an %e ade*ua$ely 0re0ared3 gi)ing $he, $he ad)an$age2 Howe)er3 i" 0lay all! are )aried3 $he o""en!e ,ay ha)e an ad)an$age2 Thi! an %e a hie)ed %y alling 0a!!e! e)en when !hor$ gain! are needed3 and %y running $he %all when longer yardage i! needed2 The ele,en$ o" un0redi $a%ili$y ,ay %ene"i$ $he o""en!e %y a$ hing $he de"en!e unaware2 O)erall3 )arying $he 0lay all! an %e an e""e $i)e !$ra$egy in ge$$ing $he %all 0a!$ $he de"en!e3 %u$ 0a!!e! are $he ,o!$ e""e $i)e "or ,ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion when $he %all need! $o ,o)ed ,ore $han a "ew yard!2 Running 0lay! are $he ,o!$ e""e $i)e "or ,ain$aining 0o!!e!!ion when di!$an e! under 1. yard! need $o %e gained2