(Made that graphic myself. Kind of becoming a photoshop expert).
Among some football fans, there has long been on a war against what is arguably the least efficient play in football: the goal line fade. After yesterday's slate which featured two separate instances of the play being stunningly ineffective, there is some hope that maybe, just maybe, NFL coaches will finally ditch the archaic goal line play.
First up was the Chargers. Down 31-26 to the Raiders, they had the ball with 6 seconds left on the Raiders 4-yard line. First up, was a goal line fade to Mike Williams, and it was not successful, although it did make some sense in that situation since they needed a play that would leave them some time on the clock should it be unsuccessful. There was one second left on the clock, allowing the Chargers to have one last chance at — yet another goal line fade.
And just like that, the Chargers lose another heartbreaker.
Later on Sunday Night Football, Tom Brady and the Bucs would put on a full display of how amazingly inadequate the play is. It was the third quarter and the Bucs were already down 31-0. They had the ball on first down at the Saints one-yard line. Instead of Tom Brady sneaking it in, when he is arguably the best ever to do that, they attempted 2 separate goal line fades to Mike Evans. While Evans is probably the best in the league at this play, it still failed both times and the Bucs turned it over on downs.
The goal line fine being unsuccessful is hardly new news.
Over the summer, Mina Kimes, a huge hater of the goal line fade, compiled the following stats.
"Just 13.5% of those 37 fades were caught for touchdowns in 2019, compared with 57% of flat routes, 42% of slants and 42.5% of out routes. Although last season was historically awful, the play has always been a dubious option. Over the previous two seasons, quarterbacks connected on 30% of fades thrown close to the goal line compared with 48% of all other routes."
One reason teams still draw up the fade is it's considered to be "safe." It will either be caught by your receiver or it will fall incomplete. But the stats don't back that up.
"And yet, last year, the fade resulted in two interceptions, or a 5.4% interception rate against 2.7% for all other throws (the humble flat route, unsurprisingly, was much safer). And what of the notion that the throw probably will generate a new set of downs? Fades thrown from the 5-yard line or closer also attracted just a single defensive pass interference call, according to Sports Info Solutions, while slant routes drew six fouls."
I think part of the reason the goal line fade irks me so much, is as a Giants fan, it's impossible to forget maybe the greatest goal line fade debacle of all time.
Ben McAdoo's specialty was the goal line fade to Larry Donnell. When you combine an incredibly inefficient play with a shockingly bad football player, the results don't turn out great.
Maybe all the data will finally reach coaching staffs and they'll realize that almost literally any other play would have more success. I've never once called a goal line fade in Madden and I average 34.4 points per game last season in my franchise. Do with that information what you will.