No, I don't think we have differing opinions about what a "no brainer" is.
In your example, giving up the goods is the no brainer. You don't have to choose to do that, but most people without thinking are going to give up the goods just to be on the safe side. It's just money, and are you willing to bet your life on it?
Now if you don't think they have guns or know Jeet Kune Do, then maybe you don't do that. But that probably requires a bit of thinking to measure your situation and then calculate the odds. But even so, you've changed variables with 2 possibly unarmed defedners, which can certainly change whether it's a no brainer or not.
In our case, Smitty's gut reaction shoudl have been, let's try and win this game right here and right now. And once he began to actually think about it, he should have also figured it out. He should have just had a feel for the thing. But if you had changed any of the variables, made it 4th & 11 or added 38 seconds to the clock, or changed the field position, perhaps the conventional wisdom would have been the right call.
-The very fact that conventional wisdom says punt takes away a no-brainer.....
Not particularly. You have to factor in that much of this conventional wisdom was developed in the 60s and 70s when the game was a lot different. Playing prevent defense is conventional wisdom, and most would say not playing the prevent is a no brainer.