Sunday, November 22, 2009
Going for two
Sunday I was listening to the Giants-Falcons game on the radio when the Falcons, trailing by 14, scored a touchdown with about six minutes left in the game. Playing for overtime the Falcons kicked the extra point. They scored another touchdown but then lost in overtime. There was a case for playing to win in regulation by going for the two point conversion after the first touchdown. Suppose we assume the Falcons will score another touchdown and the Giants will not score again in regulation. Suppose the chance of converting a two point conversion try is p and the chance of making an extra point try is q and that if the game goes into overtime each team has a 50% chance to win. Then what is the relationship between p and q that determines whether it is better for the Falcons to go for the two point conversion or try to kick the extra point after their first touchdown?