Monday, 4 February 2013

Read this blog and win the Superbowl

Astonishing as it may seem, the evidence suggests that Jim Harbaugh, coach of the San Francisco 49ers (an American Football team), does not read this blog.  But he should.

Last night the Superbowl was played between the 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Jim's elder brother John (I can't say whether he's among my readers).  And the 49ers fell behind 28-6, before scoring a touchdown with seven or so minutes remaining in the third quarter.  

As my readers know, the best strategy in this situation is to attempt a two-point conversion.  But the 49ers chose to kick for a single point - the possibility of a two-point attempt was briefly raised and dismissed by analysts on the channel I was watching.  The 49ers went on to score two more touchdowns without reply: after the third they went for two points to tie the game, but failed.  The Ravens then scored a field goal to go five points ahead.  The 49ers drove close to the Raven's goal line in the last three minutes, but were obliged by the points difference to go for a touchdown on fourth down rather than kick a field goal, and failed.

Suppose instead that the 49ers had gone for two at 28-12, and failed.  After their next touchdown they would attempt two points again.  If they succeeded, they would try for another two after their third touchdown, leaving themselves either level or two points behind, and if they failed they would kick a point after their third touchdown.  So in the last two minutes they would have been either three, five, or six points behind.  Five or six would have been no different from in the game, but three would have allowed them to kick a tying field goal, with a good chance to win in overtime.

Reportedly Jim Harbaugh is paid $5m a year for his coaching skills, and may be worth more...

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