Tuesday, 27 November 2012
One more thing about two-point attempts
With the scores level late near the end of an NFL game, your side scores a touchdown. You've worked out that the chance of success with a two-point conversion, for either side, is a little over 50%. So you should try for two? No. It makes a difference only if your opponents are going to score a touchdown of their own. Then if you've failed with a two-point attempt, they're certain to win by kicking a single point (under the simplifying assumption that these kicks always succeed). Whereas if you've succeeded, they can still tie the game with their own two-point conversion. In fact, to make your two-point attempt the right strategy the chance of success has to be more than (2 - sqrt(2)), about 58.6%.