The Value of a Single Point

Last night’s game between Hamilton and Winnipeg featured a lot of scoring plays featuring single points. Hamilton had five singles, one from a kickoff, two from punts and two from missed FGs while Winnipeg botched a point after. If you take away Hamilton’s singles and Winnipeg makes it’s conversion attempt then it’s a 21-20 victory for the Bombers.

I’ve long wondered the point of trying to pin a team deep, as opposed to going for the point. In a close game these points add up, and can be the difference between victory and defeat. I think it makes more sense to punt the ball deep into the endzone and force the other team to run it out or concede a point which still adds to their overall score, making it easier to close the gap or to increase the lead. So my advice is take the point! You never know when you will need it…

Really, I think it all depends on how much confidence you have in your defense and special teams. Really if you can trap the opposing team and get the Safety, that's twice the points and you get possession back. Most teams don't typically punt out of their endzone's unless the weather is atrocious (making for a high probably of a missed catch on the return) or they have a kicker with a rifle for a leg. It's better to concede two, and save some time on the clock then it is to kick to ball out to the 45 and typically have it returned back to field goal distance.

If you think your special teams will make a quick stop and your defense can get it done, the trap is typically better. If you don't think either can do it, the single is better. However, given our special teams play (as far as punt/kick off is concerned) has been good this year, I think the trap is the better option for us, especially with the lacklustre offense Winnipeg has been displaying this year.

Sorry Bomber fans, 6 sacks this game and all the turnovers during the win vs Montreal is lacklustre, not to say we've been much better.

Back in the pre 80s era when scoring was much lower, the single point was much more valuable. Games were often won 8-7 or similar scores. Since the advent of the read-heavy or west coast offense and the scoring explosion that went with that in the 80s, the value of the field position has increased at the expense of the point. However I often wonder if coaches these days undervalue that point and give it away too freely.

But in my opinion these days there is a very good strategic balance between the point and the yards. The value of one option over the other can change greatly based on many factors: your return game/opponent's coverage, your run game (to move the ball safely out of bad field position), the score and time left in the game/half, the wind/weather, etc ...

Sometimes the point is better, sometimes the yards are better. The key being that it is a DECISION by the coach and/or returner and either choice has strong merits. If saving the point was always better or taking the yards was always better, it would not be a decision, and therefore it would not be a strategy and would be no fun. So I like rouge rules the way they are. They work very well.

You say you like the rouge rule because it leaves the decision of whether to give up the point for field position up to the coach and/or the returner. But what about the case where the ball flies over the endzone? In that case, there is no possibility of a return, and therefore no decision to make.

The only change I would like to see to the rouge is that in order to get the point, the ball must be playable, i.e. it must touch the field of play or the goal area before going out of bounds.

I'd agree to that on field goes. If they punt it through the endzone I'd still allow the single, as that has lead to some really interesting end of game scenarios.

That is a separate scenario, but still worthy of a point. I've covered this many many times as this subject comes up every year, including just a couple of weeks ago.

The single point is NOT a reward for failure. The kicker may have failed, but the TEAM succeeded in getting close enough that a missed kick would not be returnable.

Consider this. Score tied. Team A marches all the way down to the 10 yard line, gets stopped, kick FG, goes wide, out the back, no point. Then Team B gets stopped at the 40, kicks FG, wide, it is not returned, get a point and win the game.

Why should Team B have a better opportunity to win the game because they moved the ball far worse than Team A?

If you don't want to give up that point, don't let your opponent get close enough to your dead goal line.

teams are more interested in Field Position than the point.

you'll hear the game day broadcasters mention that 1 point in a 4 or 5 point lead doesn't really matter as it is still a 1 score game. (assuming TD)

the kicking team wants to make them start at the 1 and the offense would like to have it at the 35 or so on. and if giving up 1 point will get them the better field position then so be it.