You can go ahead and put running the football in the group of things I have an unhealthy relationship with. Other members of this group include:
- Any movie where Maggie Gyllenhaal is described as hot.
- Barack Obama’s ridiculous claim that he crossed over Chris Paul (or at least that he did it when Chris Paul was trying)
- Any restaurant menu that includes superfluous adjectives like “farm raised”. Nothing I love more than forgetting what I’m reading about because I had to wade through 8 adjectives that I don’t give a shit about.
- The NCAA cartel that fixes prices on athlete compensation instead of letting the free market work
- People who race around you in traffic only to stop at the same red light as you. They’re probably on the way to the lab to finish up that cancer cure I’m sure.
- A movie about a 100 year old vampire hooking up with a 17 year old girl. Nice message.
At a certain point you know you’ve gone crazy when the mere mention of something increases your blood pressure and makes an aneurism more likely. Running the football is in the group for me now.
I thought I would look at play calling when the score is tied to see if it tells us anything about team success. It does. Teams who call more run plays when the score is tied are on average worse than teams who call pass plays when the score is tied.
The table I’ve pasted on the right shows each team’s percent of plays called that were runs (while tied) along with their point differential for 2011. It’s sorted by point differential and then it shows the percent of run plays called when the score is tied.
There is actually a statistically significant relationship if you want to run a regression to check. The more run plays you call when tied, the worse your team is likely to be.
I should clarify here because it’s not the kind of thing you’re going to use to predict point differentials. Instead it’s just another examination of the relationship between running and winning.
The reality is that teams who call pass plays when they are tied are going to have better passing offenses. They can afford to pass the ball. But every team has a choice between whether it wants to be a passing team or a running team. Some teams just choose to be running teams.