Economist David Romer studied years worth of data and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, teams seem to punt way too much. Going for a first down on fourth and short yardage in your end zone is likely to increase the chance your team winsIf you goal is victory, go for it. But is that the coach's goal?
Even though going for it increases his team’s chance of winning, a coach who cares about his reputation will want to do the wrong thing. He will punt, just because he doesn’t want to be the goat.This story was particularly interesting because of it's parallel to politics. The goal of a elected officials isn't to create good policy, it's to get votes. This should make us at least skeptical, if not outright pessimistic, of politicians.