Is It Over Now? Chiefs/Niners SB Thread

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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What am I being aggressive about? We're talking.
Sure.

Look, no one in the KC camp cares about the difficulty of their run. I'm impressed they had to win 4, 3 on the road, against good teams. That itself should be enough.

Schatz of course is wedded to DVOA as he should be. But like WAR, DVOA offers only one way to look at football, and doesn't take into account the stuff I mentioned above.
 

BaseballJones

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I'm actually wondering if we have reached the point with KC and Mahomes that teams feel like - regardless of how the game is actually going - they need to "outscore" (a euphemism for putting up a lot of points) Mahomes. Which is why, even when they're run-dominant teams and KC has a mediocre-at-best run defense, they insist on throwing.

This despite the fact that KC's offense this year was #15 in points, and in the playoffs scored 26, 27, and 17 points vs Mia, Buf, and Bal. And just 19 in regulation vs SF.

In their last 13 games of the season (including playoffs), going into the Super Bowl, they scored the following points:

9, 21, 17, 31, 19, 17, 27, 14, 25, 13, 26, 27, 17 = 263 points = 20.2 points per game

This was no offensive juggernaut. Not remotely like the KC teams of past years. You can beat them by keeping the score low and manageable.

Miami's rushing attack: #6 in yards per game, #1 in y/att. Ran the ball 20 times vs KC in cold weather. Tua threw 39 times.
Buffalo's rushing attack: #7 in yards per game, #8 in y/att. Ran the ball 39 times vs KC. Allen threw 39 times. (at least they tried!)
Baltimore's rushing attack: #1 in yards per game, #3 in y/att. Ran the ball 16 times vs KC (just like 10-11 times on non-scrambles). Jackson threw 37 times.
San Fran's rushing attack: #3 in yards per game, #4 in y/att. Ran the ball 31 times vs KC. Purdy threw 39 times.

Just unfathomable. All four teams - their best chance to beat KC was to run, run, run, run, run. And only Buffalo actually really gave it a legit effort.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think you're on to something, BJ. I mean, KC's only TD in regulation was on a drive of 16 yards that happened after a punt hit a SF player. They weren't putting on a master class in offense at all.

As for McDaniel throwing 39 times despite his rushing prowess, this is the same guy that had his 3rd string QB throw 45 times in Buffalo in a playoff game. The boy genius isn't that smart when the playoffs roll around.
 

BaseballJones

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The only viable explanation would be if CMC was more dinged up from that awkward, leg bending tackle in the first half than we know. But on the occasions he did touch the ball in the second half, he looked fine to me. I really think it was Shanny, again, puking on his shoes in big game, or trying to be too clever/counter-intuitive, or something. Just an awful second half and OT from him and his staff. Taking nothing away from KC.
Well that and...Elijah Mitchell is more than a capable backup. He's averaged 4.7 yards per carry over his career. Nothing wrong with giving him the ball a few more times.
 

tims4wins

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I know it felt like SF outplayed KC overall but KC had more first downs and outgained SF 455-382. They also had a better yards per play at 5.8 vs 5.4.

So while SF probably should have put this game away, the fact is, KC outplayed them overall. Didn’t feel like it, but it’s true.

That third Q by SF though. One of the worst coaching jobs I’ve ever seen.
One nitpick on this: Kansas City ended up with effectively two more drives in the game than SF, 13 to 11. The punt was really the crucial play of the entire game.
 

BaseballJones

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I think you're on to something, BJ. I mean, KC's only TD in regulation was on a drive of 16 yards that happened after a punt hit a SF player. They weren't putting on a master class in offense at all.
I think it's "mystique and aura" emanating from Mahomes now. Kind of like how you just don't want to give Brady the ball at the end of a game. You feel like you need to put up a lot of points against Mahomes, even though you really don't anymore. His mere presence warps football time and space between opposing coaches' ears.
 

BaseballJones

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One nitpick on this: Kansas City ended up with effectively two more drives in the game than SF, 13 to 11. The punt was really the crucial play of the entire game.
True. But either way...it wasn't like SF actually outplayed KC. Even if it felt like they were at one point in the game. (and actually WERE up to a certain point...but alas, it's a full game - and then some)
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think it's "mystique and aura" emanating from Mahomes now. Kind of like how you just don't want to give Brady the ball at the end of a game. You feel like you need to put up a lot of points against Mahomes, even though you really don't anymore. His mere presence warps football time and space between opposing coaches' ears.
Similarly, once SF got the ball in OT down 3, a TD drive there felt inevitable. Even converting the 4th and 1 felt inevitable.
 

tims4wins

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True. But either way...it wasn't like SF actually outplayed KC. Even if it felt like they were at one point in the game. (and actually WERE up to a certain point...but alas, it's a full game - and then some)
It was about as even as it could get. It took 75 minutes to decide a winner.
 
Oct 12, 2023
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I expect KC to be terrific next year. Kelce has one more great year in him, the young receivers are just getting better, they’ll probably add a good one in the draft, and the D is great and young. But still… a lot has to go right to win it all. But to me they’re absolutely the clear favorite going into next year.
KC should absolutely be the favorite next year and they should be able to retool the offense somewhat but their D has Snead and Jones as free agents along with useful contributors like Danna, Nnadi, Gay, Edwards and Tranquill. Keeping the D together to reprise their 2023 performance is going to be a challenge.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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It was about as even as it could get. It took 75 minutes to decide a winner.
Speaking of:

With the new OT postseason rules, what do people think the ideal strategy is?

I see arguments both for and against choosing to receive the ball in OT if you win the toss.

To me, assuming all other factors are equal, you have to defer. Kick the ball to your opponent, and then after that first drive you know exactly what you have to do, plus you have 4 downs to work with. And if the opponent scores a TD on their possession, you can choose to go for 2 to win the game on yours and not give the ball back to them in a sudden death situation.

Maybe SF felt their defense was totally gassed after regulation and chose to receive the ball to give them a rest. At the same time, to me that's not ideal strategy.
 

cornwalls@6

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No question they are a dynasty right now. Akin to the early and mid 90s cowboys, and the first iteration of the Patriots. A lot of things have to go right to keep this going. Player health, keeping Reid and Mahomes together as long as possible, cap management, and extracting maximum value out of end of the round draft picks. But they already have their place in history, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them ad 2-3 more.
 

cshea

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No idea what the analytics say but kicking seems like a no-brainer to me for all those reasons.

Certainly seemed like the 49ers were unprepared for the rule change.
 

cshea

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In short, if you take the ball first you have no way of ending the game. You have to play defense and I'd rather get that out of the way first so I know what I have to do on offense plus I get the extra down.

Edit: No way of truly knowing but if KC got the ball first, does Reid go for it on the 4th and 1 at his own 34?
 

cornwalls@6

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No idea what the analytics say but kicking seems like a no-brainer to me for all those reasons.

Certainly seemed like the 49ers were unprepared for the rule change.
Yeah, if the rationale wasn’t to give their tired defense a blow, and they simply didn’t understand the new rules, another massive black mark on Shanny. In the vast majority of instances, I’m on team defer in that situation. For all the reasons that have already laid out.
 

trekfan55

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The Niners lost because
a. Their defense was gassed (and short one key LB) and at the end they couldn’t stop the Chiefs twice (regulation and then OT).
b. The Chiefs defense played an extremely good game. The secondary covered everything and Jones disrupted Purdy enough that he could not make key plays with players open.
c. The one lucky break in a very close game went the Chiefs way (punt hittimg a player’s leg). Remember the NFCCG vs the Giants?
 

SirPsychoSquints

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If you take the ball first, you dictate what the other team needs to do for better or worse, and you have a very easy path to a win if you see the ball a second time. If you take the ball second, you know exactly what you need to win, which means you have the benefit of un second guessable 4 down territory the whole time if needed, and even if the first team scored, you also should have the first true sudden death opportunity in the likely event they did not go for two.

My gut feeling says that the right choice in the current system comes down to the quality of offenses. If your offense is worse, I think you almost certainly want the ball second. It’s basically the overtime equivalent of the Chiefs last regulation possession: it’s a huge win for you, as the team with the weaker quarterback, if your opponent kicks a field goal and/or if they are incentivized to consider kicking or punting on 4th down in general.

I think Chiefs taking the ball first would have been extremely defensible.

Statistically, I wonder if getting the ball first and being incredibly aggressive on 4th down and extra point isn’t the actual best play, but it’s reasonable to think no team is going to want to Staley themselves in OT in the super bowl.
This can't be right - both teams would prefer the better offense go first?
 

Ed Hillel

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Kicking also gives you the chance to go for 2 if you score a TD second, which has to be considered the right move since handing the ball to KC again in sudden death at that point is suicide.

Separate note, I thought it was amazing nobody was assigned to Mahomes on that 4th and 1 in OT. Crazy there was such a large gap for him there.
 

BaseballJones

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Counterpoint:

You don't "get" the extra down. The team that goes first can use all four downs too. It just feels like you get the extra down because you're far more likely to use it, and because it's possible you need to use it. But you don't get more downs than the team that goes first.

Moreover, while yeah, the team that goes second knows what they have to do, if you get the ball first and score a TD, the team that goes second is losing - let's say by seven points. Your expected points scored under normal circumstances if you have first and ten from your own 25 is around 4 points. So you're less likely to go down and score seven than you are to NOT score seven. But those expected points charts don't factor in if you use all four downs each series. So I don't know what the number actually is. But it's a ton of pressure on the offense to have to execute, because one mistake and the game is over. For KC to execute their strategy as Chris Jones alluded to in one of those tweets, if SF scored a TD, KC would have needed to get a TD and then the 2-point conversion (which they were going for). The two point conversion rate in the NFL is about 48%. So the odds are still with you as a defense. KC has a higher than average success rate on 2-point conversions, but even still...it's asking a lot of them.

Plus, if you get 3 and hold the other team to 3, you get the ball first in what is now sudden death. A bunch of "IFs", obviously, but there's clearly a fairly likely scenario where that happens.

I think either choice is defensible. What's not defensible is not preparing your players for all the scenarios, and then playing soft zone and allowing KC to just rip down the field.
 

johnmd20

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Counterpoint:

You don't "get" the extra down. The team that goes first can use all four downs too. It just feels like you get the extra down because you're far more likely to use it, and because it's possible you need to use it. But you don't get more downs than the team that goes first.
If you receive the ball 2nd and you're down 3 and it's 4th and 6th on your own 25 yard line, you go for it 100% of the time. If you receive first and it's 4th and 6 on your 25, you punt every time.

I kind of think it is an extra down. There is no choice, you go.
 

Ed Hillel

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You get extra information. It’s the same reason you always go for the 2 down 15 with 5 minutes left up front. You have to know how many possessions you need.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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If you receive the ball 2nd and you're down 3 and it's 4th and 6th on your own 25 yard line, you go for it 100% of the time. If you receive first and it's 4th and 6 on your 25, you punt every time.

I kind of think it is an extra down. There is no choice, you go.
Similarly, if you receive the ball 2nd and the other team already punted, and it's 4th and 2 on the opponent's 25 yard line, you kick the FG 100% of the time. The team going first might go for it and fail. Similarly, if you're down 7, you go for it 100% of the time.
 

cshea

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Counterpoint:

You don't "get" the extra down. The team that goes first can use all four downs too. It just feels like you get the extra down because you're far more likely to use it, and because it's possible you need to use it. But you don't get more downs than the team that goes first.

Moreover, while yeah, the team that goes second knows what they have to do, if you get the ball first and score a TD, the team that goes second is losing - let's say by seven points. Your expected points scored under normal circumstances if you have first and ten from your own 25 is around 4 points. So you're less likely to go down and score seven than you are to NOT score seven. But those expected points charts don't factor in if you use all four downs each series. So I don't know what the number actually is. But it's a ton of pressure on the offense to have to execute, because one mistake and the game is over. For KC to execute their strategy as Chris Jones alluded to in one of those tweets, if SF scored a TD, KC would have needed to get a TD and then the 2-point conversion (which they were going for). The two point conversion rate in the NFL is about 48%. So the odds are still with you as a defense. KC has a higher than average success rate on 2-point conversions, but even still...it's asking a lot of them.

Plus, if you get 3 and hold the other team to 3, you get the ball first in what is now sudden death. A bunch of "IFs", obviously, but there's clearly a fairly likely scenario where that happens.

I think either choice is defensible. What's not defensible is not preparing your players for all the scenarios, and then playing soft zone and allowing KC to just rip down the field.
If you get the ball second, the decision is made for you. I need 3 points and it's 4th and 4 at my own 31, I have to go for it. If I have the ball first, I have to actually elect to go for it. I'm not sure many coaches. Obviously depends on the distance to make the first down. If the 9ers didn't get the holdinig flag, they would've been facing a 4th and 13 from their 22 and punting.
 
Oct 12, 2023
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I'm actually wondering if we have reached the point with KC and Mahomes that teams feel like - regardless of how the game is actually going - they need to "outscore" (a euphemism for putting up a lot of points) Mahomes. Which is why, even when they're run-dominant teams and KC has a mediocre-at-best run defense, they insist on throwing.

This despite the fact that KC's offense this year was #15 in points, and in the playoffs scored 26, 27, and 17 points vs Mia, Buf, and Bal. And just 19 in regulation vs SF.

In their last 13 games of the season (including playoffs), going into the Super Bowl, they scored the following points:

9, 21, 17, 31, 19, 17, 27, 14, 25, 13, 26, 27, 17 = 263 points = 20.2 points per game

This was no offensive juggernaut. Not remotely like the KC teams of past years. You can beat them by keeping the score low and manageable.

Miami's rushing attack: #6 in yards per game, #1 in y/att. Ran the ball 20 times vs KC in cold weather. Tua threw 39 times.
Buffalo's rushing attack: #7 in yards per game, #8 in y/att. Ran the ball 39 times vs KC. Allen threw 39 times. (at least they tried!)
Baltimore's rushing attack: #1 in yards per game, #3 in y/att. Ran the ball 16 times vs KC (just like 10-11 times on non-scrambles). Jackson threw 37 times.
San Fran's rushing attack: #3 in yards per game, #4 in y/att. Ran the ball 31 times vs KC. Purdy threw 39 times.

Just unfathomable. All four teams - their best chance to beat KC was to run, run, run, run, run. And only Buffalo actually really gave it a legit effort.

the Ravens gameplan was insanely terrible, to the point of coaching malpractice. The Dolphins and 49ers are both reminiscent of the 2016 falcons (who were 5th in yards per attempt). Offenses designed on chunk plays and who don’t like to, or can’t, just pound the ball and grind the clock consistently. McCaffrey getting 20 carries in a 5 quarter game against a below average run D and playing into Spag’s hands is just bad coaching but that should be expected from Shanahan.

The “Mahomes effect” might be real, but I think there’s also a lot of coaches who don’t like to get away from their identity. The beauty of peak Belichick/Brady/McDaniels was their ability to reinvent themselves week to week. Blount had 30 carries pounding the ball against a weak Indy run defense and the next game in the Super Bowl he had 14 and the team went mostly spread offense

That said, as great as Mostert was this year and as awesome as McCaffrey is, neither of them are 30 carry “wear the defense out” type guys. Both those teams would benefit from having a #2 who can be a bruiser
 

shawnrbu

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George Kittle’s receptions in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl:

28 yards
-1 yard
0 yards
4 yards (It was a big play, at least)

He’s 30. Is he basically done as a receiving TE?
 

cshea

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Again, at the bottom of it, the team that gets the ball first in OT under these rules cannot end the game. They have to play defense at some point. If I'm a coach, I want to get the defense part out of the way so I know what I have to do. If I get the ball second, I can end the game.
 

Helmet Head

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It will be interesting to see how the Purdy-Shanahan develops this offseason. Especially since it came out a few weeks ago that they pursued Brady last offseason.

It’s also depressing to think that Mahomes will probably never have worse personnel around him offensively, and he still won the Super Bowl. Granted, he may never have a better defense. So, it could just end up being a wash.
 

slamminsammya

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It will be interesting to see how the Purdy-Shanahan develops this offseason. Especially since it came out a few weeks ago that they pursued Brady last offseason.

It’s also depressing to think that Mahomes will probably never have worse personnel around him offensively, and he still won the Super Bowl. Granted, he may never have a better defense. So, it could just end up being a wash.
I don't know about never, with his cap hit it just takes a few bad drafts to bleed talent.
 
Oct 12, 2023
656
The Niners lost because
a. Their defense was gassed (and short one key LB) and at the end they couldn’t stop the Chiefs twice (regulation and then OT).
b. The Chiefs defense played an extremely good game. The secondary covered everything and Jones disrupted Purdy enough that he could not make key plays with players open.
c. The one lucky break in a very close game went the Chiefs way (punt hittimg a player’s leg). Remember the NFCCG vs the Giants?
part of the reason the D was gassed was that stretch of 3 straight 3 and outs where they had 8 passes and 1 run. The 3rd quarter offensive playcalling was abysmal.

Kittle being underutilized in the pass game is also a big issue. He got banged up towards the end but 3 targets, 2 catches for 4 yards is underwhelming to be kind and it seems to be a trend for them in the playoffs.
 

mauf

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No idea whether this video is legit, but my friend who lives in the KC area said the number of fireworks set off in his neighborhood in the hour or so after the game was insane.

(Edit: video removed, as it isn’t what it claims to be.)
 
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tims4wins

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George Kittle’s receptions in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl:

28 yards
-1 yard
0 yards
4 yards (It was a big play, at least)

He’s 30. Is he basically done as a receiving TE?
He wasn't 25-26 year old Kittle this year when he caught 88 and 85 passes respectively, but 65 catches on 90 targets with an eye popping 15.7 YPC suggests he is still elite.
 

BigSoxFan

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part of the reason the D was gassed was that stretch of 3 straight 3 and outs where they had 8 passes and 1 run. The 3rd quarter offensive playcalling was abysmal.

Kittle being underutilized in the pass game is also a big issue. He got banged up towards the end but 3 targets, 2 catches for 4 yards is underwhelming to be kind and it seems to be a trend for them in the playoffs.
Yeah, Niners really blew the 3rd quarter. Getting nothing after the INT, 2 more awful drives, and the killer ST fumble were just killer. They should have been up 2 scores most of the game. But when they kept screwing up their opportunities, you knew what was coming.
 

Hoya81

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the Ravens gameplan was insanely terrible, to the point of coaching malpractice. The Dolphins and 49ers are both reminiscent of the 2016 falcons (who were 5th in yards per attempt). Offenses designed on chunk plays and who don’t like to, or can’t, just pound the ball and grind the clock consistently. McCaffrey getting 20 carries in a 5 quarter game against a below average run D and playing into Spag’s hands is just bad coaching but that should be expected from Shanahan.

The “Mahomes effect” might be real, but I think there’s also a lot of coaches who don’t like to get away from their identity. The beauty of peak Belichick/Brady/McDaniels was their ability to reinvent themselves week to week. Blount had 30 carries pounding the ball against a weak Indy run defense and the next game in the Super Bowl he had 14 and the team went mostly spread offense

That said, as great as Mostert was this year and as awesome as McCaffrey is, neither of them are 30 carry “wear the defense out” type guys. Both those teams would benefit from having a #2 who can be a bruiser
Edelman had Gronk on his podcast last week and they went into this a bit, essentially saying that the gameplan changed almost every week.
 

Average Reds

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It will be interesting to see how the Purdy-Shanahan develops this offseason. Especially since it came out a few weeks ago that they pursued Brady last offseason.
I get what you are saying here, but Purdy had a great season and certainly played well enough to win last night.

By contrast, Shanahan didn’t come close to coaching well enough to win. So maybe Purdy should pursue a coach who won’t choke under pressure?
 

loshjott

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It will be interesting to see how the Purdy-Shanahan develops this offseason. Especially since it came out a few weeks ago that they pursued Brady last offseason.

It’s also depressing to think that Mahomes will probably never have worse personnel around him offensively, and he still won the Super Bowl. Granted, he may never have a better defense. So, it could just end up being a wash.
He will almost certainly have a worse HC/play caller relatively soon.
 

BaseballJones

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If you receive the ball 2nd and you're down 3 and it's 4th and 6th on your own 25 yard line, you go for it 100% of the time. If you receive first and it's 4th and 6 on your 25, you punt every time.

I kind of think it is an extra down. There is no choice, you go.
It sure feels like an extra down. But it's not. The other team can go for it too. It's crazy to in some circumstances, but you do get to use all four downs if you want.
 

BaseballJones

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If you get the ball second, the decision is made for you. I need 3 points and it's 4th and 4 at my own 31, I have to go for it. If I have the ball first, I have to actually elect to go for it. I'm not sure many coaches. Obviously depends on the distance to make the first down. If the 9ers didn't get the holdinig flag, they would've been facing a 4th and 13 from their 22 and punting.
So it makes your life easier in terms of decision-making, but you don't actually get an extra down.
 

tims4wins

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So it makes your life easier in terms of decision-making, but you don't actually get an extra down.
It's not just the decision to go or not go on 4th down. It also affects your play calling / decision making on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down.

Edit: I also think you are ignoring that going for it on 4th down on the opening drive under a 4th and medium or longer would most likely result in a decrease in your chances of winning; whereas going for it when behind definitively increases your chances of winning.
 

BaseballJones

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It's not just the decision to go or not go on 4th down. It also affects your play calling / decision making on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down.
I agree. Those are all good arguments. I'm just pushing back on the whole "you get an extra down" argument because you don't. The home team in baseball has certain advantages but both teams get 27 outs.

I'm not gonna argue this further because maybe it's semantics, and you all are making good points.
 

Ale Xander

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To me, the comp for this Chiefs season is the Niners' 1988 season when they went 10-6 and edged out Rams (10-6) and Saints (10-6) for the NFC West, and then trucked the Vikings 34-9 and Bears 28-3 in the playoffs before slipping by the Bengals in SB XXIII 20-16 in Bill Walsh's last year.

Those Niners went 14-2 the following season and stomped the Vikings (41-13), Rams (30-3), and the Broncos (55-10) to win their fourth Super Bowl. Let's hope for the league's sake that's not some sort of predictor of the Chiefs' fortunes for next season.
Very good comp!
Great QB, top 3 GOAT, an offensive master at HC, great but possibly underrated defense with a great edge and an All-Pro at DB, a Te who was a great receiver but a poor blocker (IIRC), an owner who's a nepo baby (to be fair like many are).

Difference is 49ers WR Rice was much more experienced and the GOAT there and the Chiefs Rice was a rookie.
 

CFB_Rules

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I think mathematically, the analytics would say to receive first because regardless of whether you receive first or kick first you can go down the field and put up 8 points using all 4 downs. But only the team that receives first has the chance to end the game in sudden death. Psychologically for humans, you always want the other team to go first.

Put it like this, if you receive first and go down and put up 8 points, the second team has to play basically perfect in order to earn the opportunity to give the ball away in a sudden death situation.
 

Rudi Fingers

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Again, at the bottom of it, the team that gets the ball first in OT under these rules cannot end the game. They have to play defense at some point. If I'm a coach, I want to get the defense part out of the way so I know what I have to do. If I get the ball second, I can end the game.
If the team going first scores a TD, and their defense is gassed, I could see a rationale to go for 2 on the opening TD. If successful, even though the team going first can't *win* on the first possession, they won't be able to *lose* on the second possession.