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Del Rio chides ESPN for stats-based assessment of decision to go for two

Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio lets out a yell as he walks off the field after  an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. The Raiders won 35-34. (AP Photo/Bill Feig) AP

Analytics has its place in pro football, but it always must yield to a sense of intuition based on wisdom and experience.

When it comes to a decision to go for two after a touchdown under circumstances where the chart would suggest going for one, the gut feeling a coach develops based on years of being in the same or similar situations emerges. On Sunday, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio eschewed analytics and did what he thought was right, given his many years of coaching and playing.

After Del Rio trusted his gut and emerged with the win, ESPN second-guessed him, pointing to statistics based on the chances of winning if they’d gone for two or if they’d opted for the tie.

It’s a Poindexterish look at a dilemma that has less to do with calculators and more to do with cajones. Del Rio let ESPN know about it with this gem: “Good thing ESPN isn’t coaching the Raiders.”

Del Rio knew he had momentum. Del Rio knew there was a chance the one-point try from 33 yards could miss. Del Rio knew there was a chance the Saints would win the toss and drive right down the field for a winning touchdown.

He also knew there was a chance the Raiders would fail to convert on the two-point try. But he also knew that, if he could get receiver Michael Crabtree on an island against an overmatched corner, there was a very good chance Crabtree could catch the ball.

And that’s why statistics can only take a coach so far. Del Rio believed his team was more likely to get the win by going for it. He did. And it worked. And the Raiders are 1-0.

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76 Responses to “Del Rio chides ESPN for stats-based assessment of decision to go for two”
  1. spotsdad says: Sep 11, 2016 6:42 PM

    Roger’s mouthpiece wrong again.

  2. JR Salazar says: Sep 11, 2016 6:43 PM

    Lol…

  3. raiderrob21 says: Sep 11, 2016 6:44 PM

    JUST WIN BABY!!!!!!!!!!

  4. ryanlatterell says: Sep 11, 2016 6:44 PM

    Love the call. Get it over with and trust your players to win the game

  5. dawsonleery says: Sep 11, 2016 6:45 PM

    Good. ESPN is the worst.

  6. Bob says: Sep 11, 2016 6:47 PM

    No such thing as momentum. It’s a fictional, mythical belief created by sportswriters to fit a narrative. Momentum isn’t the Derek Carr throw to Michael Crabtree. If the Saints had made the play, so much for momentum.

    It was the right call because it’s dumb to go into overtime on the road in a game where neither defense could stop the other. You would have been banking on winning the coin toss in OT. Momentum has nothing to do with that, either.

  7. goraidersgospurs says: Sep 11, 2016 6:50 PM

    They had to go for two, noway brees lose in overtime!!!

  8. skol4life says: Sep 11, 2016 6:50 PM

    Del Rio mic drop and double middle fingers (backs away slowly)

  9. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: Sep 11, 2016 6:50 PM

    Huge respect for Del Rio. Tell BSPN where to stick their FPI predictions.

  10. indytom87 says: Sep 11, 2016 6:51 PM

    ESPN must have had a ton of free time while they sort out their Fantasy site today.

  11. jjackwagon says: Sep 11, 2016 6:51 PM

    Go for it and make it, look like a genius.

    Go for it and don’t make it, look like an idiot.

    Del Rio gets to look like a genius for a week. Don’t worry he will look like an idiot again before long.

  12. followme2boston says: Sep 11, 2016 6:52 PM

    I wish more coaches would do stuff like that

  13. Fred says: Sep 11, 2016 6:53 PM

    I think ESPN’s stats are leaving out important info. It’s much easier to score then stop the Saints and losing the coin toss probably loses the game.

  14. elmerbrownelmerbrown says: Sep 11, 2016 6:55 PM

    Who is ESPN and does he have a last name ?

  15. whiteybulgersson says: Sep 11, 2016 6:58 PM

    Bloomberg 2016 Football network standings:

    1. CBS
    2. FOX
    3. NBC
    4. NFL Network
    5. MTV
    6. ESPN

  16. radrntn says: Sep 11, 2016 7:00 PM

    BSPN nuff said

    GO RAIDERS!!!

  17. source7769 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:00 PM

    non conference game and first game of the year… trying to steal a win i can understand why

  18. elmerbrownelmerbrown says: Sep 11, 2016 7:01 PM

    I know we all want to bash ESPN here but WHO on ESPN said this , the way this article is written it’s like the great and powerful OZ said this behind a curtain !

  19. owlbania says: Sep 11, 2016 7:01 PM

    Can’t 2nd guess Jack, look at that stellar record.

  20. mindset839 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:03 PM

    Win or lose I love the call. I would rather put the game in the hands of Carr against the NO def than hope for a favorable coin flip.

  21. stinkymcmulligan says: Sep 11, 2016 7:10 PM

    ESPN has enough problems, like keeping their Fantasy Football app online

  22. realtruthteller100 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:12 PM

    stats are for loser nerds who cant play the game. leave football to the football guys and the stats guys can stick with there science kits.

  23. burgboy82 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:16 PM

    After this crazy win for the Raiders (thanks from a Bucs fan, btw!) and his son’s 320 yd 4 TD showing (go UF!) against Kentucky this weekend, Jack is on a crazy high right now.

  24. chinahand11 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:16 PM

    “elmerbrownelmerbrown says: Sep 11, 2016 6:55 PM Who is ESPN and does he have a last name ?”

    Elmer, I seriously advise you not to look for this ESPN fellow. He has the ability to turn someone into a yarping nose-picking lie-spewer who is either laughed at or hated by most of the humans on this planet. In short, someone like Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless. For the love of all that’s holy turn away while you still can.

  25. moerawn says: Sep 11, 2016 7:22 PM

    Since ESPN became ESPC I rarely watch.

  26. pantherpro says: Sep 11, 2016 7:30 PM

    Looked like on TV there was some Raider trash even at the Superdome. I guess every city has there uneducated! You know the ones Trump likes?

  27. cardinealsfan20 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:32 PM

    Analytics always must yield to intuition?

    Tell that to the people who position PFT’s advertising, or datamine information of consumer preferences. Tell it to the statisticians who calculate the organized replacement of light bulbs in subways, instead of waiting to change individual bulbs.

    Intuition is based on emotion. Analytics is based in fact.

  28. imnotsorryisaidthat says: Sep 11, 2016 7:35 PM

    he had no choice give the ball to drew in ot game over

  29. espnsux says: Sep 11, 2016 7:37 PM

    ESPN sucks.

  30. patsbrat says: Sep 11, 2016 7:38 PM

    Brees threw for 425 yards and 4 TDs, and ESPN wants Del Rio to give him the ball back?

    Just win Baby!

  31. smitty113 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:41 PM

    He should chide ESPN for injecting politics every chance they get on a sports channel.

  32. dobreshunka says: Sep 11, 2016 7:41 PM

    I usually love coaches going for two, but here’s what I don’t like about this particular call…there were 47 seconds left. If it was the last play of the game and you don’t like your odds in OT, then it’s a great call, but even if you make the two point conversion, you lose if you give up the late FG in regulation. If you hate your D in OT, don’t you also hate your D with 47 seconds left? In fact, with the new OT rule, you could argue that even with a tired D, your odds of winning are better in OT because at least you get the ball back if you give up a FG. Give up a FG in the final 47, it’s game over. Of course, miss the 2-pointer, it’s also game over.

  33. raydahhs75 says: Sep 11, 2016 7:44 PM

    Let’s not forget – they could have tried the onside kick after a failed 2 point attempt. That also has to be factored into the calculation. Despite what any of the ESPN “stats” people say, the total calculation – odds of succeeding on the 2 pointer, odds of recovering and scoring from the onside kick if you fail, odds of NO scoring the go ahead field goal in regulation no matter if the score is tied or not (and NO’s odds of doing so were much better than the Nfl average), the odds of winning the coin flip in OT, the odds of NO scoring a TD on opening possession of OT, or losing in OT period – no matter the calculation you run, the Raiders odds of winning were just as good by going for 2.

  34. dirtysouthironmen says: Sep 11, 2016 7:55 PM

    You play to win the game.

  35. raiderapologist says: Sep 11, 2016 8:02 PM

    Jjackwagon got tired of bragging about the Chiefs’ OT win at home against the mighty Chargers, so he comes trolling here. Him and pantherpro are probably roommates.

  36. nhpats says: Sep 11, 2016 8:03 PM

    Balls of steel!

  37. letsberealpeople says: Sep 11, 2016 8:04 PM

    Statistics are the effect; never the cause.

    ESPN can continue to mislead fans and shame coaches. Kudos, Del Rio for going out and winning the game!

  38. r502 says: Sep 11, 2016 8:09 PM

    The only measureable stat on that conversion attempt are the size of the stones it takes to make the call to win or lose after 59 minutes and13 seconds of football.

  39. jw619 says: Sep 11, 2016 8:12 PM

    Hey “pantherpro”, please enlighten all of us how great the santa clara niners are going to be this year…Raider troll that probably got his girl friend stolen from a Raider fan…

  40. bannedfromchoirpractice says: Sep 11, 2016 8:13 PM

    So…”statistically,” what are the chances of winning if they’d gone for two or if they’d opted for the tie. What are the numbers? The article is lacking the most pertinent info.

  41. artambriz says: Sep 11, 2016 8:14 PM

    Raider fans should be worried,the loss of Woodson was noticeable!
    Mack can’t play ALL defensive positions!

  42. mogogo1 says: Sep 11, 2016 8:16 PM

    Who specifically second-guessed him? And what exact stats did they use? Since they only moved the extra point back last season the truly relevant stats are on an extremely small sample size. And if they used the all-time stats the relevant stats would be totally overwhelmed by years and years worth of games under the old PAT rules.

  43. antichargers says: Sep 11, 2016 8:18 PM

    panther pro how did the kitties do ,oh thats right lost again ill watch the press conference where cam sulks out like a 3rd grader,or complain about hits on him mmmeeeoooowww

  44. antichargers says: Sep 11, 2016 8:19 PM

    i think its funny how losing team fans troll here

  45. justwinbaby29 says: Sep 11, 2016 8:19 PM

    What a win! What a comeback! Games like these can make the difference between 7-9 and 10/11 wins where the Raiders are trying to get to.

    Onions, double order!!

  46. benwaballs11 says: Sep 11, 2016 8:29 PM

    Do people still watch ESPN?

  47. jjfootball says: Sep 11, 2016 8:36 PM

    NOTHING NEW THIS SEASON WITH THE OFFICIALS, THEIR STILL CORRUPT AGAINST THE OAKLAND RAIDERS, THEY DON’T EVEN TRY TO HIDE THE FACT THAT THEIR HELPING THE OTHER TEAM, IT’S DOWN RIGHT BLATANT!

  48. insertdumbname says: Sep 11, 2016 8:39 PM

    pantherpro says:
    Sep 11, 2016 7:30 PM
    Looked like on TV there was some Raider trash even at the Superdome. I guess every city has there uneducated! You know the ones Trump likes?

    __________________________

    Lol. “I guess every city has THERE uneducated!”

    I normally ignore grammar on here but that’s too good.

    Maybe we just live in a post-irony society.

  49. insertdumbname says: Sep 11, 2016 8:40 PM

    And yes, I left out a comma.

  50. justsayin70 says: Sep 11, 2016 8:44 PM

    JDR has no room to talk – he was the defensive coordinator for the Broncos in the 43-8 buttkicking in Super Bowl 48. Thanks God he’s gone.

  51. justsayin70 says: Sep 11, 2016 9:05 PM

    When you lose as often as the Raiders do, you have nothing more to lose by going for two.

  52. jjfootball says: Sep 11, 2016 9:05 PM

    Raaaaaaiiiiiiiidddddeeeeerrrrrrrsssssss!

  53. jjfootball says: Sep 11, 2016 9:08 PM

    Raider fans just laugh at the trolls, because if you don’t like the Raiders, it just shows what a dork you are!

  54. Ivan Pavlov says: Sep 11, 2016 9:10 PM

    Bob says:
    No such thing as momentum.
    —————
    Obviously you never studied physics. If an object is in motion (on the move) then it has momentum. The Raiders were definitely on the move. The Saints were on their heals.

    And it is waaaaaayyyyyyy more fun to watch a team go for the win than play for overtime.

    btw – if you’d said there’s no such thing as “centrifugal force” you would have been correct. That’s a myth.

  55. ajd4 says: Sep 11, 2016 9:11 PM

    cardinealsfan20 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 7:32 PM
    Analytics always must yield to intuition?

    Tell that to the people who position PFT’s advertising, or datamine information of consumer preferences. Tell it to the statisticians who calculate the organized replacement of light bulbs in subways, instead of waiting to change individual bulbs.

    Intuition is based on emotion. Analytics is based in fact.

    5 5

    OK, how about when a light bulb goes out before the next analytics-based, scheduled maintenance, do you wait to change it on schedule or do you go with your gut and change the light bulb right away because you need light in the subway?

    The Raiders needed a win today so screw the maintenance schedule.

  56. jbraider says: Sep 11, 2016 9:43 PM

    I love the way Del Rio got everyone involved in the offense

  57. twoteamsforlosangeles says: Sep 11, 2016 9:57 PM

    The extra point is never a guarantee…even from the old distance

    Signed,

    John Carney, 2003

    If you’re down by one against the Saints, always go for the two and the win

    Signed,

    Daunte Culpepper, 2002

    How dare you diss Jack for going for two and the win? What is wrong with you, ESPN?
    Signed
    Mike Shanahan, 2008 and Jon Gruden, 2005

  58. cardinealsfan20 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:12 PM

    @ajdr

    The answer to your random burned out light bulb question depends on several factors; including the area the bulb illuminates and the availability of maintenance personnel. If it is not in a vital area most likely it is left until the next scheduled change.

    It’s not a simple “maintenance schedule”. It’s a complex calculation designed to improve efficiency.

  59. cardinealsfan20 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:26 PM

    @Ivan Pavlov

    He’s not talking about momentum in the sense of physical laws. Rather, it’s about some nebulous feeling that supposedly permeates teams in certain situations.

    This falls in the same category as team “chemistry”, another favorite subject that cannot be proved.

  60. jskorey says: Sep 11, 2016 10:35 PM

    What do “cajones”, shelves, have to do with anything? lol But seriously an extra point is no longer automatic. I could see the Vikings doing this, too😉

  61. jjackwagon says: Sep 11, 2016 10:36 PM

    raiderapologist says:
    Sep 11, 2016 8:02 PM
    Jjackwagon got tired of bragging about the Chiefs’ OT win at home against the mighty Chargers, so he comes trolling here. Him and pantherpro are probably roommates.
    —————————————————-
    Please cite your references.
    Speaking of roommates, roll over and give Trollonto a kiss.

  62. saints12013 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:37 PM

    Bottom line is, the Saints D is atrocious beyond belief. I would’ve went for 2 also especially since our top CB exited the game with a broken leg.

    Whomever said these games are an example of a 7-9 season or winning 10 or 11 games is absolutely 100% correct.

    Saints D = Embarrassingly Pathetic

  63. briang123 says: Sep 11, 2016 10:38 PM

    Go ask the average talking head what Del Rio should do and they will say “I will let you know as soon as I see what happens.”

  64. stexan says: Sep 11, 2016 10:39 PM

    Del Rio may be a head coach these days, but he’s still a linebacker.

  65. radrntn says: Sep 11, 2016 10:58 PM

    Del Rio played to win the game, rather than not to lose the game……huge difference…..the first you need balls, the later stats…bottom line the raiders are undefeated, and it’s been 5 years since you could say that…….saddest stat of the day…. the refs….what a joke

    Go Raiders!!!!

  66. xpensivewinos says: Sep 11, 2016 11:16 PM

    Looks like he’s now 1-fer-2.

    “The Chart” also says not to leave an axe and a tree stump in your locker room. He didn’t listen to that one either……..

  67. uglydingo says: Sep 11, 2016 11:25 PM

    The analytics people play the percentages but that doesn’t mean that they’re always right. They often disrespect the coaches and players and the actual skill required to play the game. Hearty congrats to Jack Del Rio for using his judgement and ignoring the ESPN metrics.

  68. raiderapologist says: Sep 11, 2016 11:31 PM

    jjackwagon says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:36 PM

    raiderapologist says:
    Sep 11, 2016 8:02 PM
    Jjackwagon got tired of bragging about the Chiefs’ OT win at home against the mighty Chargers, so he comes trolling here. Him and pantherpro are probably roommates.
    —————————————————-
    Please cite your references.
    ————————–
    References? You’re a troll. I don’t need references for that.

  69. dejadoh says: Sep 11, 2016 11:35 PM

    The Raiders were already 1 for 2 with 2 point conversions during the game. Practice! Practice! Practice!

  70. raiderapologist says: Sep 12, 2016 12:00 AM

    justsayin70 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 8:44 PM

    JDR has no room to talk – he was the defensive coordinator for the Broncos in the 43-8 buttkicking in Super Bowl 48. Thanks God he’s gone.
    ——————-
    Look at Denver’s defensive numbers before Del Rio arrived, and after. And that butt kicking might have had something to do with Manning chucking ducks with his eyes closed. Clown.

  71. headwoundharry says: Sep 12, 2016 12:02 AM

    Good call. Del Rio needs to be a pro and ignore the press. They are paid to sell product, not coach teams. Nice win.

  72. claydefayette says: Sep 12, 2016 4:56 AM

    I believe this same man had to lose a playoff game to Pittsburgh and big ben by choosing to take the points in Jacksonville. Good call coach

  73. hugeheavywoman says: Sep 12, 2016 2:54 PM

    Great defense Del Rio. Wade Phillips took your 11 Denver starters and made them the top D in the league overnight. You are epic fail. Good luck on your road to the playoffs.

  74. hugeheavywoman says: Sep 12, 2016 7:27 PM

    Defense baby! You suck!

  75. mdintino1420 says: Sep 13, 2016 12:54 AM

    Just move to Las Vegas already!! Oakland has zero to offer in terms of stadium financing.

  76. hugeheavywoman says: Sep 13, 2016 2:10 PM

    Vegas isnt going to finance the Raiders. The Davis family had proven ovah and ovah that they dont know how to financially operate a NFL franchise.

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