Larry David believes he could be a coordinator in the NFL.
He believes this on the grounds of his philosophical approach to strategy and play-calling. And you know what? He doesn’t sound crazy.
"I’m a fourth-down guy,” he says. “I’m going for it on fourth. Think about this. Two-minute drives — why are they always so successful? Why do these teams always score on two-minute drives? Because they use four downs, that’s why.”
The actor and writer best known for "Seinfeld" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" was saying all this on The Rich Eisen Podcast at NFL.com, which is worth a listen if you’re not super busy.
David’s football philosophy could be boiled down to “Don’t concede anything.” So he doesn’t like punting, he doesn’t like taking a knee at the end of a half and he doesn’t like zone defenses.
“Here’s the big mistake on defense: They play these zones,” he said. “They leave these big seams. So you see the players and they’re like, ‘There’s a guy here and there’s a guy there, so I’m gonna go in the middle and go like this.’ And the quarterback, who can throw a ball 100 miles per hour, goes, ‘Oh look, I’ve got a guy open.’ ”
Some of this is backed up by math. Last winter, a man named Brian Burke, founder of AdvancedNFLStats.com, ran some numbers and found that over time, repeated fourth-down attempts favor the offense and that teams should almost always go for it on fourth-and-1.
“What the numbers suggest — and sometimes it seems crazy — but in almost all of those situations, it makes sense to go for it," Burke told The Huffington Post.
Burke came to that conclusion by taking data from 2,400 games played between 2000 and 2008. Because teams tend to make unconventional decisions at the ends of the second and fourth quarters, he threw out that data. He then came up with a metric he calls “expected points,” which is the number of points a team can expect in a given situation, based on the average. If you’re close to your own end zone, the number is low. If you’re close to your opponent’s end zone, the number is high.
He then looked at which fourth-down attempts — punt, field goal, first-down try — created the highest expected point total.
What he found is that going for it on 4th-and-1 results in the most expected points no matter the field position. NFL teams convert 74 percent of the time in that situation.
"Offenses have gradually gotten the upper hand," Burke said. "The value of possession is so much greater because of the greater chance of scoring. You never want the other offense to have the ball, and field position" — usually the argument for punting — "has become less and less important."
So who needs an offensive coordinator, eh? Why not take a shot on an actor?
Besides, even if he’s wrong, he’s really good at apologizing (warning: NSFW language).