As Joe Morgan is to baseball, so Gregg Easterbook is to football.
The Minnesota Vikings boomed a punt to Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears, most dangerous punt returner ever, and he repaid the favor by running the ball back 89 yards for a touchdown. As a result, football pundits everywhere are asking, “Why does anyone punt to Devin Hester instead of kicking the ball out of bounds?” Tuesday Morning Quarterback asks: Why do NFL teams ever punt to any returner, rather than deliberately punt out of bounds?
(1) I didn’t see the game, so I’ll pay Mr. Easterbrook the Samaritan compliment of presuming that maybe Ron Franklin and Pete Bercich said something about it. Still, that hardly constitutes “pundits everywhere,” and without further citations I have to just roll my eyes.
(2) Because the (miniscule) chance of a punt being run back for a touchdown is offset by the (pretty good) chance that the kicking team will beat the receiving team to the spot of the ball, thereby waddling around it in what I call “mother hen” mode.
(3) Think about it for half of a second, Easterbrook – if this were a dominant strategy, wouldn’t more coaches do it? Easterbrook cites one time Belichick did it, as proof of the Mastermind’s Genius, and concludes it’s the way to go. That’s some crackerjack research, Easterbrook. Read More