We've certainly seen much more detailed, stats-based posts regarding the matter of onside kicks and never punting, but MSM is starting to come around. "Conventional wisdom" be damned...
Going on 4th/onside kick theory gaining MSM steam
I've read a number of both pro and college football analysis books and pieces that demonstrate that in the modern NFL and modern college football it is better to go for it on 4th down and punt whenever your distance is less than 3 yards or so and you are outside your own 4 or so.
you mean 40?
Punting it?! You idiot! What are you doing?!
Whatev's. Everyone is all for it and then you don't convert or recover which results in media/fans calling for the coaches head. It's a whole lot easier to say go for it when it's not you answering questions in the post game conference.
It works... you're a hero. Just ask Dantonio.
When it doesn't... dust of that resume.
Or Miles going for it on 4th down at least twice with a fake field goal and that play last week against Alabama
I have also noticed that a lot of coaches are trying to run fake punts (Ravens game) or go for it repeatedly on 4th down (Paul Johnson / GA Tech)...personally going for it on 4th down should be reserved for 4th quarter drives down one possession, and maybe on 4th down and a few inches.
4th and 5, 4th and 10...don't fake punt it. Just punt it. If you fake punt and fail you'll be roasted bad.
Problem is that we develop conventional wisdom by looking at what fails. Remember that football has been around for a 100+ years, I am sure some coach somewhere has thought of most of his play calling ideas and tried them. That is why they aren't the conventional wisdom, the didn't work back then. Some of these ideas can be used once a lifetime, but after that coaches will plan for them.
However, an update in the rules that affect every team could be interesting. I kind of like the no punting rule, it would put pressure on some conservative coaches. Imagine being pinned on your 3 yard line, it would put pressure on you to actually get a first down instead of trying 3 conservative runs and punting.
How about making it so that only the players on the play when a touchdown is scored can attempt a point after attempt. If your defense scores, they have to try the point after. No kicker on the scoring play? Then either your lineman tries to kick (Suh) or you go for 2. It would make point after attempts interesting.
You can't get fired for doing things the way they've always done them. It's why coaches all have the cheat sheets for going for 1 or 2. Coaches don't get criticized for playing the odds.
Had the Lions gotten the first down on that 3rd down pass play, the city would have been toasting Schwartz instead of roasting him.
Its going to take a lot longer for the statistics guys to take over football like they did in baseball.
Les Miles is a guy who actually calls a game much closer to ideal game theoretic choices than the average coach but everyone just thinks he's nothing more than