The Exact Odds Of The Bill Belichick Call

I stumbled upon a great website called They have a "Go For It" table that calculates the exact odds of a team winning a football game given the time left in the game and how many points the team is up by. New England was up by 6 with 2:08 left to go. The Colts got the ball back on New England's 29 yard line. Unfortunately, the site does not have the exact odds at every time limit, but we can get very close. The site measures the odds on specific yard line. A team on their own 20 yard line with three minutes left to up by six has about a 66% percent chance of winning the game by going for it on fourth down. A team on their own 40 yard line with three minutes left to go up by six has about a 59% of winning the game by going for it. Considering the Pats were on their own 30 with about 2:00 minutes to go, the Pats probably had about a 63% chance of winning the game by going for it on 4th down.

However, I can do one better. According to the Win Probability Calculator, one can actually calculate the exact odds of the Pats winning that game. At that moment, the Pats had a 77% chance of winning that game. However, they only had a 7% chance of making the first down and by going for it, they were expected to LOSE by .9 points. They did end up losing by 1 point. They also had a 2% chance of getting a TD and a 0% chance of making a field goal (I don't know how the odds of making a TD were higher, but whatever).

On the flip side, you change 4th down to 3rd down in the Win Probability Calculator (thus, the odds of the Pats winning if they had punted instead of going for it on 4th down), the Pats had a 85% chance of winning that game and were projected of getting 0.0 points, thus, they would have probably won that game.

In my original post, The "Bright" One said that in the future when robots are coaching, they'd even know to punt it. Well, I guess that day is here when coaches can just use the calculator and realize that Belichick actually made the wrong call. When you look at the qualitative aspects of that game- that the D was letting Peyton throw all over them towards the end of the game and the Pats offensive looked awesome. But who cares about the qualitative aspects when you have stats!

I therefore rescind all my defense of Belichick after figuring out that by going for that 4th down, the Pats theoretically gave the game away to the Colts. And obviously, they did.