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Old 01-24-2011, 07:54 AM
Quercus Quercus is online now
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: temperate forest
Posts: 6,784
Football: value of a timeout

I was just wondering if anyone has done a serious analysis of the expected value (in yardage, say) of a timeout in (American) football. It seems to me that if you're behind late, then a timeout is pretty valuable -- in most situations you'd gladly give up 5 or 10 yards in order to get another 25 seconds of time on the clock, at least if you're on offense, and sometimes even if you're on defense.

But in the non-late portions of the game, a team on offense will typically call time out rather than give up a delay of game penalty. I was wondering if this is really a worthwhile call? I mean, how much does giving up 5 yards in a typical offensive drive really lower your chances of winning? Naively it doesn't seem high compared to how much another time out increases your chances of winning in a two-minute drill (multiplied by the chance thay you'll actually be running a two-minute drill of course). Anyone seen an analysis?