Punting? Here’s An Idea…We Don’t Need No Steenking Punting!

“I don’t believe in punting, and can’t see ever doing it again.”

–       Kevin Kelley, Head Football Coach @ Little Rock’s Pulaski Academy

Unorthodox?  You bet.  Unconventional?  Absolutely.  Effective?  Apparently.

Kelley’s team has won the Arkansas 5A State Championship five times since 2003, including 2011, 2014 and 2015.  He hasn’t punted since 2007.  Ever.  He on-side kicks on every kickoff.  Every time.  His teams do not attempt to return punts.  Ever.

Kelley cites statistics on field position, the likelihood of fumbling and increased offensive opportunity to support his position.  It has worked for him.  College teams have considered Kelley — a true data wonk that applies what the data tell him — but they simply can’t get their head around his ideas.  Like the banking profession we serve, college athletic directors think in terms of downside.  “What if we don’t punt and the other team scores?”  Well, what if you do, and the other teams scores?  You just sacrificed 25% of your opportunity to score / advance the ball and just ceded to conventional wisdom — and you’re still down 7!

Cited in the “Scorecard” section of a 2010 Sports Illustrated, Kelley says, “If your offense knows it has four (chances) instead of three, it totally changes the game.  It’s like someone once said ‘Punting is what you do on fourth down’ and everyone did it without asking why.”

The banking profession that we serve isn’t known for this kind of risk taking.  Bankers have been taught to always punts on fourth down.  And, financial services firms are being badgered by the government and the markets to consider punting on third down, maybe even second.  What if we helped them see the way to keep their “offense” on the field 25 – 33% more of the time?  What if we showed them why playing offense might make them champions, too?  Our job is to bring ideas that make it safe for them to try new things in a challenging market place and in a challenging time.  Maybe Kevin Kelley has an idea that can help us just like it has helped the Pulaski Academy Bruins create a football dynasty on very different terms.

Create more opportunities.  Don’t punt when things get tough.  Don’t fall for easy traps.  Totally change the game.

Worth a try, isn’t it?  I bet it makes a difference…


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