What 4th downs say about taking risk

Feb 4, 2011

After studying more than 22,000 fourth-down decisions over five NFL seasons, researchers found that teams trailing by three touchdowns or less are more likely to “go for it.”

Try asking any Monday morning quarterback about blown fourth-down play calls in the NFL and you are guaranteed passionate opinions. In most fourth-down plays, an NFL team will punt or try for a field goal. But, occasionally, teams decide to do something that is viewed as risky—attempt a fourth-down conversion or "go for it."