Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the 2 minute offense

I was once watching a game with a friend who was new to (American) football who overheard the commentator use the phrase "2 minute offense" and wondered what it was. Being more interested in the game, I brushed it off with the quick explanation: it's an offensive play scheme designed to move the ball down the field as fast as possible so you can score before the end of the quarter.

My friend waited for the play to run and then asked, "So why wouldn't you do that for the other 13 minutes in the quarter? Isn't the point of the game to score the most points?"

On the surface, it's a good question, but when the theory is reduced to application we find that it's a bad idea because it's resting on some very, critically, super star-level bad assumptions that you made when trying to think about the problem in the abstract.

The truth is that the 2 minute offense can be a wise gamble, but it's a poor standard operating procedure for the same reasons that "crunch time" is a bad thing for software development.