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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter uses economics in the sense of decision making under scarcity and uncertainty to examine several aspects of American football. It then explores the field position and strategy, and describes how it is possible to put a statistical value, say, in terms of expected points, on field position, on the choice of whether to run or pass, and on what to do on fourth down. In addition, the chapter addresses the previous research and results based on the 2007 National Football League season. The search for competitive advantage provides strong incentive for coaches and teams to keep their strategy research secret. Fourth down strategy decisions suggest that endowment effects, anchoring effects, and even denomination effects could cause cognitive biases in decision making. The suboptimality findings challenge the pure win maximization models that are favored in most of the North American sports economics literature.

Keywords: National Football League, field position, decision making, fourth down strategy, coaches, teams, sports economics

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