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Posted: Thursday, 12 September 2013 3:01PM

Bills' Marrone likens analytics in football to poker

Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550)  -- In an advanced age of football where countless studies and analytical data are at your fingertips, sometimes head coaches in the NFL tend to rely on a perceived old and outdated logic in their decision making. When it comes to certain situations on the field, Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone knows most of what's out there.

"A lot of the situations [are like] Texas Hold 'Em, really, and you're playing percentages on everything that you do," Marrone said, referencing the version of poker that swept the nation a few years back.

Most of the negative reactions to the coach's decision making were linked to punting on a 4th-and-1 situation inside Patriots territory or even refusing to go for it on what some data will suggest is the smartest percentage play, despite it may not being the normal accepted logic in NFL circles.

"The problem that happens -- a lot of the questions come like… it's 4th-and-1, plus-49 like in the last game. A lot of statistics and analysis out there of 35 to 40, 4th and 4 or more, the percentages are in your favor to go for it. If it's 4th-and-6 from the 6-yard line, there has been articles and research done that you can go for it," Marrone started.

"That's just -- and I always try to explain this probably to my wife more than anybody because she reads it -- is that that's taking those situations based on down and distance. What that doesn't do is take into a situation of field position. These percentages and analytics for field position equal to points -- X-amount of yards and the start of field position equals the other team getting X-amount of points. It all really depends on what you believe from a philosophy standpoint, and I think you have to look at all of them and weigh them in and how you play them."

There are plenty of fans of the analytical game and it's slowly-increasing popularity within the confines of the National Football League, and Marrone shows he has an understanding of it.

"When you're in the heat of the battle and it's going quick, and it's fast and you've got to make fast decisions, there's a lot of information coming at you and you just have to make the best decision and play percentages," he said.

No matter the topic, when it comes to decision making in the NFL there is an overload of information that's available for consumption.

"Well you see those guys play poker, right? It's like that," Marrone remarked when asked if he had to carry a card on game day with all the information. "You know exactly what those percentages are, what those yards are and everything that's going on."

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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