Just a fun little question that popped into my head while playing NCAA 14 this morning, and I was curious about results. I believe it was 2 years ago, the NFL finally got with the times and allowed teams who win the coin toss to defer to the second half. Prior to that, if you won the coin toss you had to take the ball first, otherwise, the other team could get the ball to start both halves. So with that mechanism in place, which one do you prefer?
I believe I'm likely in the minority here, but I prefer to get the ball at the start of the game. I see the pros for taking the ball at halftime. You have a better feel of game situation, you can better control your end of half strategy, perhaps even the double up of grabbing an end of the half TD then getting the ball right out of the half. And of course, with the Jets, I think most people would rather see the strong unit, the defense, take the field first, especially in conjunction with the other pros. Hell, it sometimes feels like the D has a better shot of scoring than the offense does. However, for me, I think there's a lot of value in kick starting your QB and getting him into the flow of the game. Also, I think there's a lot of value in starting the game up 3-0 or 7-0 before your D has to take the field. I also like the team set a tone. If I see a boxer come out in round 1 and throw some haymakers off the bat, I get excited. I want to see my team in the same vein. So, that's why I like taking the ball first.
There were some issues the Jets had with starts that, IMO, at least somewhat contributed to the season we had, and it flew completely under the radar. Some fun stats: In a staggering 12 of our 16 games, opposing teams scored first. Admittedly, we went 5-7 in those games, whereas we went 1-3 in the games where we scored first. However, an incredible 7 times, we allowed opposing teams to score on their first drive, plus San Diego who scored off a punt return before they even started their first drive. 3 times (Pitt, Houston, and the second Miami game), the other team had points before our offense even took the field. All 3 losses. The other 4 games (MIA, STL, SEA, Indy) we did wind up going 3-1, so perhaps it wasn't determinative of the ultimate outcome, but other than Indy to a degree they were uphill battles.
Another fun, though meaningless stat: The 2012 Jets received the ball to open the game exactly 8 times. Their record when starting with the ball was 5-3... 1-7 when they received the ball at half time. Their only win when they didn't start with the ball was against Arizona. Their losses when starting with the ball were against Seattle, San Diego and Buffalo.
So, what say you?