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Should we start receiving the kick off of we win the toss?


Steptide
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At home, including Saturday night, will depend on how windy and which direction the wind is coming from.  Watching on TV, typically the wind will blow from left to right.  Marv Levy would use the wind as a trigger to decide if he wanted the ball at kickoff.  By selecting receiving the opening kickoff, Levy then received the choice of which end zone to defend in the 3rd qtr, which typically was facing the wind, then working with the wind in the 4th qtr.

I sense McD has learned this.

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14 hours ago, GETTOTHE50 said:

Why does everyone think it’s a guarantee that the bills will have the final possession of the half? Whether they do or not has nothing to do with the coin toss decision.

 

I think it’s always better to receive first and to get the offense in rhythm. It also helps to see how the defense is planning so you can adjust for subsequent drives.

 

its also a helluva lot better to play ahead. Putting the offense on the field first helps achieve that much more quickly than the defense. 

It's not a guarantee, but with a good offense (which we have) you can control it to some degree.  If you get the ball and there are 6 minutes left, you try to milk the clock with a long drive. If you get the ball back with 1:30 left, you go quick.  Think about the Colts game and the Colts completely controlled the game in the first half and were getting ready to take a big lead.  They go for it on 4th, don't make it, and the next time they see the ball (other than a few seconds before half), the Bills have scored 10 more points on them and taken the lead.

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I can see the argument that it would be better for the Bills to get the ball first and take the lead from the start.  That isn't guaranteed either though.  The Bills could go 3 and out and muff a punt or something.  Then Ravens have an advantage.  I always prefer to defer.  Have for years.  If your defense makes the first stop then you immediately have the advantage.

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I think this makes a ton of sense. This team (all units, offense/defense/ST) is so much better when playing with the lead. Getting an early lead should be the higher priority over getting the ball at halftime IMO. OP is definitely onto something.

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41 minutes ago, Scott7975 said:

I can see the argument that it would be better for the Bills to get the ball first and take the lead from the start.  That isn't guaranteed either though.  The Bills could go 3 and out and muff a punt or something.  Then Ravens have an advantage.  I always prefer to defer.  Have for years.  If your defense makes the first stop then you immediately have the advantage.

 

It doesn't guarantee game flow, but it gives an extra opportunity early in the game to get the lead. I'll take the extra opportunity to get the lead early with today's team.

 

Receive the Ball scenarios

Scenario 1

Bills Drive 1 - score = leading

 

Scenario 2

Bills Drive 1 - 0 pts

Ravens Drive 1 - pts = trailing

 

Scenario 3

Bills Drive 1 - 0 pts

Ravens Drive 1 - 0 pts

Bills Drive 2 - points = leading

 

Defend Scenarios

Ravens Drive 1 - points = trailing

 

Scenario 2

Ravens Drive 1 - 0pts

Bills Drive 1 - points = leading

 

Scenario 3

Ravens Drive 1 - 0 pts

Bills Drive 1 - 0 pts

Ravens Drive 2 - points = trailing

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Not much debate to be had here, as deferring just makes more sense.

 

Sure, you are not guaranteed to double dip, but you ARE guaranteed the ball at the beginning of the most important half.

 

Plus, if you receive the opening kickoff and don't score- now you have a defined disadvantage.

 

It's like needing 15 points to win but you go for 2 on the first TD. It can be lethal if it works, but if not you are playing ketchup the rest of the game. I say save advantages for when it matters, and so does the NFL since pretty much every coin toss winner defers. It's just better.

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I seriously doubt that this has any impact on outcome of the games in the long run. Isn't there any stat on this? I mean how often team which starts the game with ball wins.

 

Anyway, if I had to choose I would generally defer. Against this specific opponent I might choose the ball. But like I said, I think it is completely irrelevant. 

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Here are the Bills results this year:

 

Accepted 1st half: 8 times resulting in 3 punts, 2 ints, 2 TDs and a TO on downs.

 

Deferred 1st half:  9 times resulting in 2 punts, 5 TDs and 2 FG

 

End of 2nd/beginning of 3rd possessions ("double dips"):  4 such scenarios.  in 2 of them, they "double dipped" in scoring (FG-FG and TD-FG).  So a yield of 2/9.

 

The Bills overall were not a 2nd half team: the Offense scored fewer TDs (and ran more) in the second half.  The 3rd Q was the worst for the Bills in scoring--more than 7 points in the Q 3 times.  The Offense was most productive in the 2nd and 4th Qs.

 

In the 5 games were they deferred, the TDs they scored in their 1st possession of the 3rd Q were their only points of the 3Q.

 

So what to conclude? 

 

Should they maximize scoring opportunities in the 1 st half, where they tend to score better in general?

 

Should they maximize what appears to be their best odds to score in the 3rd Q, and worst,  by deferring to the 2nd half?

 

It likely makes little difference.

 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, prissythecat said:

There have been a number of analysis done on defer vs receive.    The below analysis says that receiving the ball in the 2nd half results in an extra point on average plus a 12% chance of "stealing" a possession.

 

 

https://www.sharpfootballanalysis.com/analysis/opening-kickoff-receive-or-defer/#:~:text=Deciding whether to receive or,of games on the margins.&text=A lot of factors play,half when given the chance.

Good find. And there's this one too:

 

https://www.waldrn.com/how-the-nfls-2008-rule-change-affected-coin-toss-strategy/

 

It also suggests a (smaller) advantage to getting the ball the start the 2nd half.

 

One thing to bear in mind: the changing in the scoring environment. I play with baseball stats a lot more than football, and the increases in scoring in baseball had a huge impact on optimal strategy. Given the big jump in scoring this season, we might see significant changes.

 

Bottom line, however: the effect is small, is likely overwhelmed by more immediate strategic considerations (example: wind in Buffalo expected to pick up significantly as the game goes on, so take the ball as early as possible), and probably isn't something to get too agitated about.

 

Having said that: with our offense this year (and, umm, with our defense this year) I personally like to see our offense on the field from the opening kickoff. It's just more fun.

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9 hours ago, Jobot said:

 

It doesn't guarantee game flow, but it gives an extra opportunity early in the game to get the lead. I'll take the extra opportunity to get the lead early with today's team.

 

Receive the Ball scenarios

Scenario 1

Bills Drive 1 - score = leading

 

Scenario 2

Bills Drive 1 - 0 pts

Ravens Drive 1 - pts = trailing

 

Scenario 3

Bills Drive 1 - 0 pts

Ravens Drive 1 - 0 pts

Bills Drive 2 - points = leading

 

Defend Scenarios

Ravens Drive 1 - points = trailing

 

Scenario 2

Ravens Drive 1 - 0pts

Bills Drive 1 - points = leading

 

Scenario 3

Ravens Drive 1 - 0 pts

Bills Drive 1 - 0 pts

Ravens Drive 2 - points = trailing

My (tcw) Bluf: decision primarily based on Bills deeper knowledge of dynamic weather conditions (information arbitrage), w a lean towards accepting for offense.

 

My conclusion bears in mind potential double dip effect, and small sampling of public available analytics.

 

Very interesting and original analysis Jobot. I agree. Reminds me of something known as "branches and sequels", used to decide whether to... let's say, "impair" someone or some group of unsavories.

 

Appreciate article offered by @prissythecat.
 

Main flaw, which makes my hair stand up: data selection bias.

 

I mean, why choose 2.5 yrs of games (700+), when the rule change made in 2008? It screams of choosing data to make a subjective point.

 

I think @The Frankish Reicharticle provides The Nugget re the bias towards defer. Bearing in mind a copy cat league:

 

"New England's Bill Belichick gained attention early on for his tendency to defer, and since the rule change, leads the league in doing so 95% of the time."

 

So, if the mighty Pats** do it, then we should too.

 

(N.B.: according to my latter theory, we should also expect more owners to get busted at low-end massage parlors.)

Edited by Dukestreetking
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