I included a few quotes that I thought best captured this point. The first is from David Romer when he stated:
“there is little evidence about whether conservative behaviors arise because individuals have nonstandard objective functions or because they are imperfect maximizers.”
He's saying they act conservatively but there's little evidence as to WHY this is happening.
PREVIOUS RESEARCH 2B
Carter & Machol wrote:
“We believe the reason for this paradox is that coaches do not have sufficient intuitive feel for the negative value imposed on the opposition.”
Notice that they say that they "BELIEVE" this is the reason, but they weren't able to directly test for it.
PREVIOUS RESEARCH 3A
These two quotes are both from Soham Patel, who wrote:
“individuals are more sensitive to losses than to gains. In football terms, a coach might find the disutility of a play allowing the opponent to score points surpasses the utility of a play that allows his own team to score.”
PREVIOUS RESEARCH 3B
He later states:
“coaches might value losses of a play higher than they would the corresponding gains of a play”
Again, he says they "MIGHT" be doing this. Patel actually mentions Prospect Theory specifically in his paper, but he states it as a quote-“potential” reason for the suboptimal decisions.
PREVIOUS RESEARCH 3C
All of the previous researchers were handcuffed by their methodologies, which they were able to use to determine whether or not coaches were making optimal decisions, but limited them to only make guesses as to why coaches were making those suboptimal decisions. They were, of course, educated guesses and well-informed guesses, but guesses nonetheless.