Monday, August 24, 2009

A Lesson in Comparative Advantage from Ochocinco

Someone in the Bengals organization might understand Ricardo. Peter King provides the set-up:
Near the end of the second quarter, the man judged the best kicker in the NFL last year, Stephen Gostkowski, the Patriots All-Pro kicker, kicked the ball off from the Patriots' 30 to the Cincinnati 9, a 61-yard boot. To start the third quarter, Ochocinco, a right-footed, soccer-style kicker, rainbowed one 61 yards to the Pats' nine. Same kick. Same weather conditions. Same result. "He's a terrific player,'' Bill Belichick said a day later. "I love his competitiveness. I love his enthusiasm for the game.''


Anyway, regarding his 61-yard kickoff, he said he wasn't surprised. "I've kicked field goals at [Paul Brown Stadium], just fooling around, from 53 yards. Imagine if I devoted practice time to it. There is no doubt in my mind I could kick in this league. Really, I want to kick so bad.''

The dream ended Sunday -- not because the Bengals don't think Johnson could be an adequate emergency kicker, but because they don't want him to risk getting hurt kicking. With incumbent Shayne Graham out for the rest of the preseason, Cincinnati signed free agent Sam Swank from Wake Forest on Sunday.
Bold emphasis mine. Ochocinco might be the best wide-receiver AND kicker. However, he ends up playing wide-receiver only.

The question for students: Suppose Ochocinco is the Bengal's best receiver and kicker. Explain why Ochocinco is best employed only at receiver, even though he might also be the team's best kicker. (Be sure to treat the injury claim as a red-herring. After all, the Bengals could just as easily made Ocho the kicker and not let him play receiver, out of fear of injury.)

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