Jason Garrett, NFL Coaches Mishandle Pre-Halftime Clock Management
At NBC, I took a look at how important it is to properly manage the clock prior to halftime.
As a whole, NFL coaches don’t seem to properly manage the clock well prior to halftime. As the second quarter winds down, coaches should make decisions based almost entirely around the clock. Scoring is of course the main objective, but when it becomes evident that the offense will have their shots at scoring a touchdown without rushing things—such as on 1st and Goal at the one-yard line with 45 seconds and three timeouts—calls should be made to ensure the opposition doesn’t have enough time to put together a late-second drive of their own. In effect, the end of halftime is a chance to “steal” a possession in a league in which holding the football is becoming more and more valuable; as scoring continues to increase, the importance of end-of-halftime tactics will do the same.
So just how much did the early timeouts hurt each team? Since both the Eagles and Giants kicked field goals before halftime (both of which likely could have been avoided), the cost was three points. On average, though, teams that have started with the ball at their own 20-yard line with around 40 seconds to play have historically averaged just under one point per drive. Thus, each coach cost his team about one “expected point.”
Read the rest at NBC.