In this blog post we’re going to play a little game.  I’ll give you the down and distance, for example, 2nd and 4, and you guess whether this is a running down or a passing down.  The answer will be based upon whether there were more running plays or passing plays in that situation in the NFL in the 2016 regular season.  Don’t bother posting your answers, although comments are always welcome.  I’ll give the answers at the bottom of the post.  As usual, all data is from my goto site for NFL stats, pfref.com.

Is it a running down or a passing down?

  1. 1st and 5
  2. 1st and 10
  3. 1st and 15
  4. 2nd and 1
  5. 2nd and 5
  6. 2nd and 10
  7. 3rd and 1
  8. 3rd and 5
  9. 3rd and 10
  10. 3rd and 15+

Jot down your answers and test your football IQ.  (Note on question #10, it’s 3rd and 15+, meaning it could be 3rd and 15, 3rd and 16, 3rd and 29, whatever.)  I’ll give the answers below.  I took the quiz myself before looking up the answers.  These are my answers.

(My guesses, not the real answers.  Yet.)

  1. RUN
  2. PASS
  3. PASS
  4. RUN
  5. RUN
  6. PASS
  7. RUN
  8. PASS
  9. PASS
  10. RUN

Now we get to the real answers.

  1. 1st and 5.  RUN.  Teams ran the ball on 1st and 5 (131 runs, 79 passes).
  2. 1st and 10.  PASS.  Teams passed the ball on 1st and 10 (6592 passes, 6521 runs).
  3. 1st and 15.  PASS.  On 1st and 15 there were 151 passes and 98 runs.
  4. 2nd and 1.  RUN.  On 2nd and 1 teams overwhelmingly ran the ball: 418 runs, 184 passes.
  5. 2nd and 5.  PASS.  (My first wrong guess.)  Teams passed only slightly more than they ran on 2nd and 5: 418 passes to 407 runs.
  6. 2nd and 10.  PASS.  Teams tended to pass on 2nd and 10: 1556 passes, 952 runs.
  7. 3rd and 1.  RUN.  208 passes, 511 runs.
  8. 3rd and 5.  PASS.  521 passes, 46 runs.
  9. 3rd and 10.  PASS: 579 passes, 50 runs.
  10. 3rd and 15+.  PASS: 492 passes, 112 runs.  (My 2nd wrong guess.)  I fooled myself into thinking of times when teams basically give up on getting the first down and run a draw play on 3rd and very long.

My score was 8/10 = 80%.  How well did you do?  Probably better than I did for most of you would be my guess.  Well, that was fun for me.  Hope you had fun with it, too.  I might do some more of these quizzes in the future.

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