4th and Long in football


Football concept: 4th and Long

The offense has 4 plays to progress 10 yards and start the ‘downs’ over or score. On fourth down, regardless of where they are, a decision must be made. Sometimes this decision is super easy and sometimes not so much. If they have more than even a yard, it is generally thought they will kick a field goal if close enough to the goal or will just punt the ball to the other team. Fourth and long indicates that they probably have over 5 yards to go to get a first down. Sometimes, even though they have a long distance to go and the probability of success is slim, the place where they are in the game dictates they must go for it (see Go For It) and hope for the best.

How the saying can be used in real life:

Used when up against an obstacle with low odds of a successful outcome and a decision on which path to take must be made. So, for example, you could use this when your husband wants to go to his parents for the holidays and you were hoping for a trip to an exotic island for just the two of you. You are facing fourth and long at this point so you have to decide if you want to ‘go for it’ and suffer all the repercussions of a failed attempt or if you want to do the ‘safe’ thing and just punt on your idea of the exotic holiday and hang with the in-laws.

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