Dallas Cowboys Film Study: Second Down Play-Calling

March 3, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments

In our first statistical analysis of Jason Garrett’s play-calling, we noticed that he was tipping plays via the formation .
As we studied the Cowboys’ game film this offseason, we also noticed a play-calling trend on second down.  On the majority of second down plays, it appeared as though Jason Garrett called a run if the team passed on first down, and vice versa.
We looked into our stat database and the results are shown below.
As you can see, our hunches were correct.  Other than on 2nd-and-1 or 2nd-and-2, the Cowboys ran significantly more after calling a pass on first down.  There were actually only 12 plays called on 2nd-and-1 or 2nd-and- 2 after a first-down pass, so that sample size is probably too small to make significant conclusions.
In the other scenarios, though, the sample size is plenty big enough to conclude that Garrett was tipping plays via the down and distance.  On 2nd-and-3 through to 2nd-and-7, for example, Gar...

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