This Unspoken Football 'Rule' Should Be Broken More Often
The numbers say NFL teams should go for it more often on fourth down. So why don't they?By Carter Woodiel | September 24, 2016
NFL coaches are chickening out on fourth down. Here's why.
See, on fourth down, NFL teams have a choice: Punt the ball to push back the other team's field position, or go for the first down knowing they'll give away the ball right where they are if they fail. And coaches tend to be really conservative when making this call.
For example, back in Week 1, the Washington Redskins had the ball at the Steelers' 40-yard line, a yard from a first down. Instead of going for it, they punted the ball to the Steelers' 13. Essentially, they gave up a chance at scoring just so they could move their opponent back a measly 27 yards.