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When would YOU go for two?Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007, at 3:13 PM
Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel said his two-point chart told him to go for two points after the Tigers took a 13-6 lead on Illinois Saturday afternoon.
I've heard of this chart. It's made so that a coach can just glance at it and know when to go for the two-point conversion instead of kicking the ball for one. The only thing about this was that I had not heard of a chart that's told a coach to go for two when he was already ahead by seven.
Later in the week, Pinkel said that his chart -- which he said he's been using for 35 years -- had an "error."
There's no perfect theory for going for two points. But there are some basic ideas;
* -- Don't Chase Points. If you miss the conversion -- whether it's for one or two -- early in the game, there's no reason to keep trying to "get it back," as long as you can still increase your lead. If you miss the kick after your first score and you're up 6-0, then just kick after the second one. Being up 13-0 keeps the pressure on the other team to decide to go for two later. Being up just 12-0 makes it easier for the other coach to just kick if his team comes back.
* -- What's the Advantage? My personal theory is to go for two points ONLY if you won't be worse off if you fail. For instance, if you're down one point, kick for the tie unless there are maybe less than two minutes left to go in the game. Tying the game means you only need a field goal to win. Missing the two-point conversion and remaining down by one point may cost you a chance to win in overtime. At the same time, why not go for two if you're down by five? If you kick the PAT, there's no difference between being behind five or behind four. You still need a touchdown to win. But if you make the two-pointer, you're down by three and you can tie with a field goal.
* -- Consider *When* You're Going for It. Going for two with 14 minutes to go may not be necessary. Going for two with six minutes to go may be the thing you need to do.
My personal chart would look like this….
However, if you want the closest thing to a baseball strategy -- such as "Should he hit for the pitcher?" or "Would you play the infield in here?" -- that football has, going for two is it. Look at the scrutiny Pinkel's call underwent this week.
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