The Falcons led the league in 4th down conversion percentage (73 percent or 11/15), though they were only 13th in 4th down conversion attempts. But exactly how aggressive is Smitty? And how does his aggressiveness rank league-wide? Football Outsiders answered both questions with their 2010 Aggressive Index (published yesterday). The AI is calculated as follows:
The computation for AI is a little more complicated than just giving the overall rate of "going for it" on fourth downs. Instead, the head coach's record in different "going for it" situations is compared to the league average, with the numbers weighted by the number of opportunities the coach had in each situation.
"Going for it" situations are limited as follows:
includes all fourth downs in opposition territory, except for these situations:
- Third quarter, trailing by 15+ points
- Fourth quarter, trailing by 9+ points
- Last five minutes of the game, trailing by any amount
Smitty's 2010 AI (1.07) ranked 9/36 head coaches. His 2008-2010 AI (1.52) is the sixth-highest since 1992. Fairly aggressive HC all things considered. Sure, it'd be nice if he opened up the passing game a tad, but sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it too. And sometimes Mike Mularkey eats all your cake because he's mean like that.