All year long Eagles coach Doug Pederson has made a name for his himself by being aggressive on fourth down.
Via Yahoo Sports.
The Eagles do many things in a different way. They take an aggressive approach on offense and defense. They have incorporated as many college offensive concepts as anyone in the NFL. They use analytics across the board, even as some old-guard NFL types mock that approach. In a league that seems to adore punting, the Eagles often go for it on fourth down.
Let’s start with Pederson’s proclivity for going for it on fourth down, because it says a lot about his approach. Fourth down is a punting down for most NFL teams. It’s so ingrained in NFL culture that announcers still breathlessly talk about a team gambling when they go for it on fourth-and-short in opposing territory, even when the numbers say they should be going for it. While some teams are scared of being criticized for going for it too much, the Eagles went for it on fourth down 26 times this season, second in the league, with an NFL-best 17 conversions.
The Eagles study fourth-down data over the offseason. They’re not just making the time-honored “gut decisions,” they’re based on probability. Sometimes Pederson has to make a 50-50 call, though it’s all based in math. And oftentimes the math says to go for it, though teams ignore statistics to their own detriment.
During the Super Bowl, Pederson once again made a “gutsy” call on fourth and 1 in the goal line and completely caught the Patriots defense off guard with a perfectly executed trick play.