Was it a mistake to take the ball to start OT?

Was it a mistake to take the ball to start OT?

  • SF did the right thing: Give me the ball, let my defense rest.

  • SF made a mistake: It's better to know what you need, use all four downs if necessary.


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DesotoCountyDawg

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The one place where I thought there was a mistake made was SF final drive in the game. They ran the ball for 5 on the first down and then tried a pass on second down. That should have been a running play. Because that didn't work, they had to pass on third down again. It would have forced KC to use up it's timeouts and if they made the first down with 2 runs, they kick a game winner. Worst case KC has no timeouts in their final drive.

Their OT drive was more like the 4th quarter drive should have been.
SF was running the ball down their throat and Shanahan got too cute trying to throw it. They were gashing them in OT.
 
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patdog

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The one place where I thought there was a mistake made was SF final drive in the game. They ran the ball for 5 on the first down and then tried a pass on second down. That should have been a running play. Because that didn't work, they had to pass on third down again. It would have forced KC to use up it's timeouts and if they made the first down with 2 runs, they kick a game winner. Worst case KC has no timeouts in their final drive.

Their OT drive was more like the 4th quarter drive should have been.
Posted this yesterday. SF had the chance to take the ball out of Mahomes hands, or at worst take a time out away from them (they were already down to 2 and would be down to 1). Shanahan should have looked at it as I've got 3 chances to get 5 yards running the ball and running the clock. We've gashed them this whole drive running the ball and I've got the best RB in the league. So I like those odds.
 
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patdog

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I hated the old sudden death NFL OT rules. It was basically whoever wins the coin toss just tried to get into Field Goal range and most of the time that’s all it took.
Actually, until they started messing with the kickoff rules, the old NFL OT was close to 50-50. Now, it's like college, WAY too big an advantage to the team that gets the ball 2nd. A fair rule would be no kickoff to start OT. Team A chooses which yard line the ball will be place on. Team B chooses which team will have the ball first. Teams will quickly figure out which yard line gives both teams a 50-50 chance to win.
 

patdog

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If you voted take the ball first and let the defense rest, how'd that work out? SF scored the TD anyway, aided by a 4th down conversion deep in their own territory. If you'd kicked off first, you would have at least gone for the TD on 4th and goal at the 5 and had a chance.

Edit: In a normal game, it may be different. But in the Super Bowl, playing against maybe the best big-game QB in the history of the game, no way I'm giving them the ball 2nd in OT.
 
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LordMcBuckethead

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Oh, that is a dumb poll. they lost that means whatever they decided to do is going to be frowned upon.
It's not dumb. Taking the ball second gives you the advantage in OT. They volunteered to give up that advantage, and then the scenario played out exactly how the advantage is gained, and KC won.
 

pseudonym

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A fair rule would be no kickoff to start OT. Team A chooses which yard line the ball will be place on. Team B chooses which team will have the ball first. Teams will quickly figure out which yard line gives both teams a 50-50 chance to win.
I like this idea lol
 

dog12

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My guess is that the analytics would say to go on offense first like the 49ers did. I would think getting the ball 3rd outweighs the advantage of knowing what you need on the 2nd possession. But I bet it’s close. That’s honestly what’s so great about the new overtime rule…..it really negates the advantage of the coin toss because it’s not entirely obvious what the right choice is.

In a big game like the Super Bowl, there will rarely ever be a 3rd possession in OT.

Certainly, with Mahomes getting the 2nd posession, the Niners were not going to get another possession, because the Chiefs would let out all the stops to win the game on the 2nd possession. This includes going for 2, if the Niners had scored a TD.
 
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mstateglfr

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+++++++++ I have genuinely enjoyed this thread. It has been informative and the strategy discussion has been interesting. +++++++++



SPS provides many laughs for me, both intentional and unintentional, but this sort of thread is definitely also why I open a tab and scroll. Good stuff! Its appreciated.
 

dog12

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If not for Chris Jones blowing up that third down near the goal line SF is scoring a TD on their first drive. The plan was working but Jones made a great play and blew it up.
Right. That's what winners do . . . they make plays at critical points of the game.

If the Niners had kicked to the Chiefs to begin OT, the maybe someone on the Niner defense would have made a play like that.

In my opinion, it would be easier to make such a defensive play on the 1st possession rather than the 2nd possession.
 

mstateglfr

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I hated the old sudden death NFL OT rules. It was basically whoever wins the coin toss just tried to get into Field Goal range and most of the time that’s all it took.
Hundy P on this.






Just an awful and anticlimactic way to determine a winner after 60min of play.
Basketball- both teams play a bunch of offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT.
Baseball- both tems play offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT/Extra Innings.
Hockey- both teams play a bunch of offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT. I dont watch the NHL anymore, but the newest version of their OT is pretty cool, and they are considering tweaking the OT rules to account for some unintended consequences that have crept into OT over the last 7-9 years.
Soccer- both teams play a bunch of offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT.



NFL up until recently?...just get to the 30 yard line and end it.
Between 2000 and 2018, 52% of NFL OT games ended on the first possession. Over half the games ended with the team that lost the coin flip not even having a chance to play offense.
That was such a dumb way to run OT.
 

pseudonym

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In a big game like the Super Bowl, there will rarely ever be a 3rd possession in OT.
This is a theory I have that needs to be tested by a volume of OT games under these rules: The third possession seems very unlikely to ever happen.

The most likely scenario I see for a third possession is both teams fail to score on their first drives. Outside of that, it seems that the second team to possess the ball will never play for a tie, knowing that would give the other team an opportunity to kick a FG to win.
 
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columbiadawg2

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I think you have to go on defense in that situation specifically because of who you are playing. I'm not letting Mahomes get the ball last. Now I think KC was scoring regardless at that point in the game but then you could have a shot to go down and score then go for 2 and the win. Or you'd at least know that you are in 4 down territory the whole drive.
 
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Perd Hapley

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In the days of analytics, coaches are going to go for it almost every time on fourth and a foot unless the ball is inside their own 30. I think Reid would’ve gone for it regardless.
I highly doubt there is anywhere close to enough analytics data for that specific situation, given the recency of the rule change. It was pretty close to “inside their 30” anyway. And I think the 30 is more along the lines of the college guidelines. It’s all based on Field Goal distance if you don’t get it, so for the pros it’s more like 35-40 yard line.

In general, you lose the game if you don’t get the conversion. You can’t win the game by getting the conversion. You can’t even win the game by getting the conversion, going down and scoring a TD, AND getting a 2-pt conversion. I think the risk / reward there heavily favors punting and pinning them deep.
 

Perd Hapley

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If not for Chris Jones blowing up that third down near the goal line SF is scoring a TD on their first drive. The plan was working but Jones made a great play and blew it up.
You might be forgetting that the whole drive almost never happened, and only did because of a bail-out hold on McDuffie on the 3rd and 13 play. Would have been a 3-and-out without that.

Very next play, CMC gets a 30 yard pickup and they had the momentum.
 

Bulldog from Birth

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because the Chiefs would let out all the stops to win the game on the 2nd possession. This includes going for 2, if the Niners had scored a TD.
I think this is an argument to do exactly what the 49ers did and go on offense first. Take the ball first, make sure you score at least a field goal, and then force the Chiefs to take a lot of risks like going for it on 4th down while in field goal range, or going for a 2 point conversion at the end, because you are that desperate to not let the 49ers get the ball back for a 3rd sudden death possession.
 

Perd Hapley

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This is a theory I have that needs to be tested by a volume of OT games under these rules: The third possession seems very unlikely to ever happen.

The most likely scenario I see for a third possession is both teams fail to score on their first drives. Outside of that, it seems that the second team to possess the ball will never play for a tie, knowing that would give the other team an opportunity to kick a FG to win.
To me you have to have aligned thinking all the way through the OT, with whatever you decide. If you take the ball first, you have to approach it that you’re going for the TD (and maybe the 2-points) at all reasonable costs in order to maximize pressure and make more predictable the decision making for the other team. If you don’t do that, you pretty much surrender any advantage you have from taking the ball.

If you defer, you play safe defense, you fully embrace the other team getting the FG, and try not to get beat deep or on a big play under any circumstance. I don’t think it’s the wrong decision either way if you align your approach afterwards to what the outcome is, which as a coach you have to be prepared to do anyway because it’s 50/50 as to whether it’s even your call.

ETA: I think there is even a case to be made that you go for the First down or TD on 4th and 4 inside the Chiefs 10, if you are SF on that first possession. If you don’t get it, Chiefs still have to go at least 55-60 yards from deep in their territory to feel good about the game winning FG. Alternatively, you kick the FG - the Chiefs only have to go about 70 yards for the winning TD and still have the fallback of having the FG option after only about 30 yards on the next possession. Not a huge difference, could easily be argued that the TD and the ability to force the same from KC is well worth it, especially when considering the other wild card that you’ll probably get at least 3-4 plays on defense where you can essentially win the game by forcing a TO.

Folks always talk about the value of “knowing what you have to do” on offense, but no one ever mentions that it’s valuable defensively as well. Knowing that the other team HAS to score a TD has huge merits related to coverages, alignments, blitzes, etc.
 
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DesotoCountyDawg

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You might be forgetting that the whole drive almost never happened, and only did because of a bail-out hold on McDuffie on the 3rd and 13 play. Would have been a 3-and-out without that.

Very next play, CMC gets a 30 yard pickup and they had the momentum.
No I didn’t forget it but thanks for pointing it out.
 

Perd Hapley

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No I didn’t forget it but thanks for pointing it out.
Just saying that’s how close it was to Mahomes getting the ball and needing only probably 3 first downs to win the game….against a defense that would still have not much rest. Hard to say that qualifies as “the plan working”.
 

aTotal360

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It was 100% the wrong decision. The second team gets to play with all 4 downs because they know the goal. The first team will play more conservatively because they just want to get points on the board.
 
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IBleedMaroonDawg

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It's not dumb. Taking the ball second gives you the advantage in OT. They volunteered to give up that advantage, and then the scenario played out exactly how the advantage is gained, and KC won.
It's just dumb to make it a poll. I don't mean the question is actually dumb.
 

IBleedMaroonDawg

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Hundy P on this.






Just an awful and anticlimactic way to determine a winner after 60min of play.
Basketball- both teams play a bunch of offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT.
Baseball- both tems play offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT/Extra Innings.
Hockey- both teams play a bunch of offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT. I dont watch the NHL anymore, but the newest version of their OT is pretty cool, and they are considering tweaking the OT rules to account for some unintended consequences that have crept into OT over the last 7-9 years.
Soccer- both teams play a bunch of offense and defense before a winner is determined in OT.



NFL up until recently?...just get to the 30 yard line and end it.
Between 2000 and 2018, 52% of NFL OT games ended on the first possession. Over half the games ended with the team that lost the coin flip not even having a chance to play offense.
That was such a dumb way to run OT.
I usually do not, but I completely agree with you. It is a god-awful way to finish off the game. That was awful and anti-climactic, as good as that game was for a Super Bowl.

Like someone said this morning, I knew the game was over as soon as the field goal was made for San Francisco
 
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dog12

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I think this is an argument to do exactly what the 49ers did and go on offense first. Take the ball first, make sure you score at least a field goal, and then force the Chiefs to take a lot of risks like going for it on 4th down while in field goal range, or going for a 2 point conversion at the end, because you are that desperate to not let the 49ers get the ball back for a 3rd sudden death possession.
Okay . . . but I don't think the Chiefs would go for it on 4th down or go for a 2-point conversion out of desperation to prevent the Niners from getting the ball back. Rather, I think the Chiefs would take those chances because they KNOW that, if they are successful, they will definitely WIN the game.

That's the huge advantage of going second . . . you know EXACTLY what you have to do to win the game.
 

Hot Rock

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It's not dumb. Taking the ball second gives you the advantage in OT. They volunteered to give up that advantage, and then the scenario played out exactly how the advantage is gained, and KC won.
It's not a dumb poll but it is limited. I don't think either choice is correct. It needs choice(s) for not sure or depending on the circumstance etc..
It is not as cut and dried as you seem to think.

We all agree the 2nd set of possessions in OT is definitely an advantage for playing offense first because all they need is a FG. It didn't get that far.

The first set of possessions: It would be great to know if you needed to go for it on 4th but sending your exhausted defense out there may have been a bigger part of it than we know. He may have thought he would have been giving KC an advantage to send his exhausted def back out there without a break. Injuries were being assessed etc... Without that play at the end by Jones, most likely 49ers score the TD and it all changes.

Since 49ers made a FG, KC could have decided to play more conservatively and take the tie for a 2nd OT if presented the choice. I think KC would have stayed aggressive with Mahomes protecting the ball so well and they also knew that the 49ers only needed a FG on the next drive but it is a possibility KC would have settled for FG.

I don't think it would have gone passed that first set of possessions even if both got a TD. I think KC goes for two if both get the TD to end it there rather than let 49ers get first shot at sudden death.

I still lean toward playing defense first but it's not cut and dried fact. A lot is about the flow of the game and players were exhausted.
 
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pseudonym

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It's not a dumb poll but it is limited. I don't think either choice is correct. It needs choice(s) for not sure or depending on the circumstance etc..
It is not as cut and dried as you seem to think.
I made the poll binary because once San Francisco won the toss, their choice was binary: kick or receive.
 
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Hot Rock

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This is a theory I have that needs to be tested by a volume of OT games under these rules: The third possession seems very unlikely to ever happen.

The most likely scenario I see for a third possession is both teams fail to score on their first drives. Outside of that, it seems that the second team to possess the ball will never play for a tie, knowing that would give the other team an opportunity to kick a FG to win.
never is a long time. Some coaches get conservative and stick with running once they get into the redzone and take the FG but I agree I don't see Andy Reid doing that with Mahomes. This game was a defensive heavy weight fight. Both defenses domintated a lot.
I made the poll binary because once San Francisco won the toss, their choice was binary: kick or receive.
yes, but it’s not a cut and dried choice, I would lean to playing DEF first but there is no way I have as much information as the coaches. They may have felt good about stopping KC on a two point conversion which swings the decision slightly etc… every team and even situation must play to its particular strengths and not assume you do it the set way.
 

IBleedMaroonDawg

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Anyone who's ever coach know you make it a decision you have to live with it. Second-guessing can drive you crazy. That's what makes guys like Stephen A. so successful. He has made a living as a second-guessing people.