While I know very little of real NFL Xs and Os, I do know one thing for sure - that having 2nd and 1 is better than having 1st and 10. In other words, if a team could make a deal with the NFL that instead of starting new sets of downs 1st and 10, they could start on 2nd down, but have just one yard to go to move the chains, every team in the NFL would do it. Because it's much easier to make one yard in two tries (and in some cases three) than 10 yards in three.
Okay, so that's obvious, but why then do coaches so often when faced with 2nd and 1, call a run up the middle to try and pick up the first down? Marvin Lewis did it Monday night, Tom Coughlin did it Sunday. Sure, if you get the first down, you advance a yard or two up the field, but I'd take 2nd and 1 at the 33 over 1st and 10 at the 35 any day. Essentially, the desired outcome of your play call makes your situation worse. How can billion dollar organizations not know this?
So for any coaches out there who read this blog (all zero of you), you MUST be aggressive on 2nd and 1. If you don't complete the pass, then it's 3rd and 1. Which one could argue is itself better than 1st and 10. (Though that one's a closer call).