Why punt?

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Interesting stuff in this AP story (embedded in this post): Between the data he jotted down from the show and what he has collected from his own team’s games over the years, he determined going for it on fourth down every time isn’t risky at all. In fact, according to his numbers, he is playing the percentages — even in the most extreme circumstances.

Let’s take an example.

According to his data, a team that takes over the ball at its opponent’s 10 or closer has a 92 percent chance of scoring a touchdown. A team that gains possession between its opponent’s 40-yard line and its 31 has a 77 percent chance of scoring a touchdown.

So, Kelley figures, even if the Bruins fail to convert, he is only increasing his opponents’ chances of scoring a TD by 15 percentage points more than if his team got off a decent punt. So why not go for it on fourth-and-8 from your own 6?

And, it should be noted, the Bruins convert about 50 percent of the time.