Inside The Bills

Funny math when it comes to 50-50 balls

Posted by Chris Brown on September 24, 2016 – 1:34 pm

Jump balls in the passing game are often called 50-50 balls by coaches and players because in most instances the receiver and defensive back in coverage usually have an equal chance of coming up with the football, hence the term ’50-50.’ But Arizona head coach Bruce Arians and Bills LB Preston Brown had some funny math concerning those types of passes.

Buffalo’s defensive backs had their share of troubles in jump ball situations last week against the Jets, but Preston Brown was voicing his faith in his teammates on the back end. The problem was his percentages went a little offline.

“I think the coaches had us in the right position to make plays,” Brown said. “I mean you look at the plays where we got beat on any pass, I mean the guys are right there. We know we can make plays on those balls, those are 50-50 balls that nine times out of 10 we’re going to win, it just wasn’t our day that day. But we know our guys are competitive and they’re going to come back next week ready to go.”

When asked why he felt the Jets receivers had so much success against the Bills DBs, coach Arians took a similar approach to the very same subject with some funny math.

“Well Fitz was on fire,” he said. “I think he hit eight out of nine 50/50 balls. You know your success rate on 50/50 balls is usually around 40 percent. They just hit a really hot quarterback that was dropping it in places that only their guys could get. I thought it was good coverage but just got beat by some great throws.”

So according to Brown, half the time Buffalo’s DBs win 90 percent of the time on jump balls. According to coach Arians on offense, half the time receivers win 40 percent of the time. Let me know if anyone has the algorithm to tell me who really has the edge or if it’s just… you know… 50-50.



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