The date was November 25th, 2013, another classic showdown between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Going into the game, the Patriots were actually the underdogs to the high-powered Denver Broncos. The Patriots came back from a 24 point halftime deficit and after 4 quarters of play, the Patriots and Broncos found themselves tied at 31. Winds were blowing at over 20 mph throughout the game, making kicking and passing conditions very unfavorable.
The Patriots won the overtime coin toss and decided to take the wind. They wanted the wind at their backs on offense. This made the passing game easier, and obviously, made a field goal attempt much easier. In overtime in the NFL, a game can only end on the first drive if a team scores a touchdown.
Otherwise, both teams are guaranteed to possess the ball at least once. Bill Belichick knew this rule and knew it would be very difficult to score a touchdown driving against the wind. Bill put the fate of the game on his sub-par defense. His defense delivered in order to finally give the Patriots the ball with just under 5 minutes to play in overtime. Finally, the Patriots positioned Stephan Gostkowski for a game winning 31 yard field goal.
Taking the wind was a very questionable call, but it was the reason why the Patriots were able to win on that cold and windy November night. Yesterday, Bill Belichick decided to kick off in overtime against the Jets instead of receiving the ball. The Patriots offense was playing a very sloppy game and was unable to move the ball down the field. Additionally, they were 1/10 on third down conversions. Belichick may have believed that the defense could have made a play on defense to set up the offense to make a play to win the game. He thought it was the best thing for the team.
Bill Belichick has made many questionable calls during his tenure as Patriots head coach. Some have paid off, and others, like yesterday, did not pay off. This is not a reason to panic in New England. We can still clinch home field advantage next week in Miami with a win.
By Matt Nadworny