There are some game plans where it's best to punt early. Don't wait for fourth down to kick; play for better field position and a chance to cut your losses.
It was third down and miles to go in Anaheim this past week when Don Andersen, director of the Freedom Bowl, a holiday-season football bowl game, made such a strategic decision.
Faced with possibly the most lukewarm reception ever given a proposal for the name of a bowl game, the promoter decided wisely to drop back and punt on an idea to rename the bowl "The Orange County Freedom From Drugs Bowl."
The suggestion was well-intentioned enough. The bowl game needs money to attract better teams, and the director thought he had a way to get backing from Orange County at the same time.
Andersen went so far as to meet with county Supervisor Don R. Roth and Sheriff Brad Gates to see if the county might be willing to put up $800,000 seized in drug raids to sponsor the game.
There would be an anti-drug message on national television in exchange for sponsorship.
But not every play that may look good on some coach's blackboard has results when tried out on the playing field. By last week, the plan to enlist the county didn't have much of a cheering section at all.
The proposal only served to highlight the need for drug education and treatment money, and contrasted it with the perception of an extravagant spectacle.