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Old 01-25-2011, 10:27 AM
furt furt is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 9,273
Originally Posted by Ellis Dee View Post
The value of a timeout is to prevent something bad from happening. A delay of game penalty on 1st and 10 early in the second quarter of a tie game is a bad thing, so calling a timeout to avoid the penalty is a good use of a timeout.

Not every game comes down to a last minute drive where you need timeouts, so whatever the utility of having an extra timeout in that situation is, you have to reduce it by the likelihood of getting there in the first place.
But clearly there are some situations where the five-yard penalty is only of marginal value. I've seen QBs call timeout before a third-and-fifteen play (is third and twenty really significantly worse?). I've seen it called before short field goals (the difference between a thirty-yard attempt and a thirty-five-yard attempt is virtually nil). Do that in, say, the early fourth quarter of a tie game, and it's obviously a bad play.

The thing is that in the large, perhaps vast majority of situations, the five yards is worth more than the time out, and so coaches are going to teach players to call the TO rather than take the penalty. A heady player might sometimes know when to take the five yards (and I've seen it done), but it's unrealistic to expect a player forced to make a split-second decision not to revert to his coaching -- and really, you don't want them doing it anyway.