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Scott Kacsmar posted an interesting article yesterday, noting that teams are punting or kicking on 4th down in 2012 more frequently than at any other time in the last 20 years. So far in 2012, just 1.27% of all plays are 4th down attempts.

Scott also noted that teams have been less aggressive on 4th and 1. I wanted to tweak some of Scott’s cutoffs and see if the results changed. I look at all 4th-and-1s since 2000, but limited the data to just weeks 1-10 and the first three quarters of the game. This year, teams have gone for it 56 times in these situations, gaining a first down 75% of the time.

The table below shows how often teams punted, kicked a field goal, or went for it on 4th and 1. The fifth column shows the conversion rate when teams did choose to try to get the first down, and the next two columns display the run to pass ratio (scrambles are included as runs). The final two columns show the success rates by run and by pass.

Year
Punt
Field Goal
Go For It
Conv Rt
Run %
Pass %
Run ConRt
Pass ConRt
201254.3%16%29.8%75%76.8%23.2%76.7%69.2%
201148.7%23.3%28%61.9%83.3%16.7%60%71.4%
201050%11.1%38.9%68.3%76.2%23.8%72.9%53.3%
200946.8%10.5%42.6%61.7%76.5%23.5%64.5%52.6%
200847.3%12.1%40.6%70.1%80.6%19.4%74.1%53.8%
200745.3%14.1%40.6%69.6%84.1%15.9%72.4%54.5%
200647.2%18.1%34.7%70.1%74.6%25.4%76%52.9%
200549.1%10.9%40%66.7%84.8%15.2%66.1%70%
200452%12.1%35.8%69.4%83.9%16.1%69.2%70%
200347.7%15.5%36.8%73.7%87.7%12.3%74%71.4%
200248.5%16.8%34.7%69%82.8%17.2%75%40%
200152.1%14.1%33.7%69.1%83.6%16.4%73.9%44.4%
200045.5%21.3%33.1%72.9%81.4%18.6%75%63.6%
Avg48.8%15.1%36.1%69%81%19%71.5%57.9%

It is a bit odd to see that teams seem less willing to try to convert on 4th-and-1 in 2012 than they were a decade ago. Why do you think that is?

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