Trick plays in American football, Now you see it, now you lose

Football is a beloved sport in America due to the unity it can bring to fans and the entertainment of the athletic feats performed by your favorite players. One of the most exciting plays to be seen in the sport can be seen in trick plays. Whether it is an incredible comeback seen recently in the Green Bay Packers loss to the Seattle Seahawks, or a team trying to widen its lead like the Steelers in their super bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks trick plays can dramatically alter a game. Utilizing game theory it can be seen that there are only so many options for the offense to choose on fourth down, kick a punt or field goal, or go for the first down. The defense would then have to react to this by lining up to block the kick, or line up to tackle the run or defend the pass. Applying football strategies makes this more difficult due to time left in the game, and the score but even with all of this it has been seen the success rate of trick plays is over 10 percent of non-fake fourth down plays when only a few yards were needed. Yet it certainly has not translated into coach game plans since you will rarely see a trick play in the NFL. This evidence shows that there should be significantly more fake play calls, however as game theory shows once these trick plays become known they will easily be shown to be unsuccessful. Therefor the smart play seems to be that a coach should save this strategy for when absolutely necessary as seen by the patriots on their touchdown play thrown by a wide receiver against the ravens, that wide receiver’s first NFL pass ever. It would also be seen that if two teams would play an infinite number of times, each would vary its strategy until both had come to a Nash Equilibrium where kicking and faking yielded the same benefit. So as this article shows football scenarios can come down to a lot more than x’s and o’s when strategizing for important game scenarios where game theory can decide a team’s fate.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/gametheory/2015/01/trick-plays-american-football

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