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Mark Humphrey, Associated Press
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers questions during a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Indianapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the New York Giants in NFL football Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5.

WASHINGTON — It's advice that sounds like heresy on the gridiron: Go for it on fourth down. Try more onside kicks. Running backs don't matter so much.

That myth-destroying advice comes from sports statisticians who study the numbers behind winning football teams like the New England Patriots. Advanced NFL Stats founder Brian Burke calls the Patriots the "Moneyball" team of the NFL. He says they're in the Super Bowl because they have this system and stick to it.

The numbers experts say the NFL as a whole is slow to embrace the concept.