Chip Stew: Changing the Way the NFL Thinks About Going for Two

For the latest entry in our Chip Stew series, let's look at the coach's aggressive approach to the game. Not only does he routinely go for it on fourth down (a move that's heavily backed by statistics), but Kelly also tries for two point-conversions far more than other coaches. Here's Michael David Smith:

In five of Oregon’s 13 games last season, the Ducks tried for a two-point conversion after scoring their first touchdown. Three of those five two-point tries were successful, and two were unsuccessful. When the Ducks didn’t go for two, they often sent out their field goal/PAT unit and had them line up in a trick-play formation, shifting into the standard kick formation only after seeing if the defense appeared ready to stop the play they planned to run.

Kelly’s approach to two-point conversions — trying them after taking a 6-0 lead, rather than only trying them late in the game when the “chart” says they should — is unheard of in the NFL. According to Aaron Schatz of, the last time a team tried for a two-point conversion in the first quarter (other than on bad snaps or fumbled holds when the team initially planned to kick the extra point) was in 1998. And even that play was done in an attempt to chase points by a team that had just scored a touchdown to narrow the deficit from 14-6 to 14-12 and wanted to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

The math behind attempting a two-point conversation is more questionable than going for it on fourth down. Brian Burke analyzed it a couple years ago. His numbers showed a potential advantage, especially if you run the ball (or execute a quarterback run), but it's not clear cut. Kelly seems to have confidence it can work, at least in college. I can't wait to see if he will bring that attitude to the NFL.