In the aftermath of a Week 7 win for the Stampeders over the Redblacks there was a terrible outcry.
In case you were unaware of the situation, the Redblacks led by four, in a game which they had kept Calgary out of the end zone, with just over one minute to play.
Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell elected to take a safety instead of punting out of his own end zone, the Stampeders scored a field goal on the next drive to win the game with no time left on the clock.
Cue the online outrage!
The problem here is results-based analysis. It didn’t work out, so it was the wrong call.
If they had punted out of the end zone, given Ottawa’s punt average and Terry Williams’ return average this season, the Stampeders would have needed to go about 28 yards for the score. Given average kickoff yardage with average return yardage for the Stamps, Calgary would have needed about 40 yards for a no doubter field goal for Calgary. Paredes is rarely asked to kick it from 50-plus.
The Stamps may have been held out of the end zone prior to that on the night but had only three drives in the game that netted less than 28 yards. One two-and-out in the second quarter, a kneel down at the end of the first half, and a drive that went for 26 yards that ended in a Rob Maver punt in the third.
The Stampeders had shown this year that Nick Arbuckle could get to the end zone at the end of the game.
Let’s not forget that the Stampeders offence under Stamps head coach Dave Dickenson has twice engineered 10-plus point comebacks over the B.C. Lions late in the fourth quarter in the last few seasons. They also hold a CFL record for comebacks following the first quarter and first half. They are capable of coming back on most nights, and often have.
If the Redblacks had punted, there is just as good a chance that the Stamps would have scored anyway.
Especially considering the Stamps drive to get the field goal went 30 yards and included three straight runs to finish the game, kill the clock, and get Paredes just a little closer each time.
So the Stamps went exactly as far as they likely would have needed to had Campbell decided to punt.
The only reason this was a bad decision was the result. If he had gone the other way and the Stamps scored, he would have been crucified for not pounding the ball deep on a kickoff and forcing the Stamps to try and get into field goal range.
Rick Campbell was damned because he did, and potentially damned if he didn’t.