Tuesday, November 04, 2003

We hates him forever!

The Pats won. Ugh.

I've previously established that I don't hold Bill Belichick as a great football coach, although he's a pretty decent one. Yeah, he's most definitely better than Gregg Williams, but George Halas, he ain't. Plus, he's the coach of my team's hated nemesis, the New England Patriots (of whose 2001 Super Bowl victory I will go to my grave thinking it was the most undeserved championship in sports history). But, I gotta give the guy at least this much credit: unlike many coaches in today's NFL, Belichick understands that sometimes the biggest factors in winning aren't scoring but time and field position. He showed this in last night's game against the Broncos, in which Belichick made a startling decision. Trailing by a single point and forced to punt the ball from his own end zone late in the fourth quarter, Belichick directed his long snapper to put the ball over his punter's head. The resulting safety extended the Broncos' lead to three points. Why willingly give up points?

Because, after a team gives up a safety, they have to kick the ball to the other team, but not from the end zone. Instead, they kick it from the 20 yard line -- which means that by giving up two points, the Patriots were able to put the Broncos into significantly less favorable field position. If they had merely punted, the Broncos would likely have had the ball in Pats' territory, and thus been able to move for a possible clinching field goal. Of course, they could have done this following the safety, but Belichick had to assume that his defense would be able to hold the Broncos -- which it did -- and then his own team would get the ball back in better field position than if they had held Denver to three-and-out after a normal punt.

I hate to say it, because I don't like the guy, but that was excellent football strategy on Belichick's part.

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