Bill Belichick: Disrespecting the Game

A Good Coach Makes A Bad Decision

It took me a whole day to get a grip on this whole situation. I thought maybe my anger for seeing this call in a game was clouding my judgement. So after calming down and thinking rationally, I still can't find a reason to justify that call. I have listened to some sports analyst try to make it sound sensible to why a coach would make that decision. Well, my feelings for most sports analyst is no secret. Some of them don't have a clue.

At first, I was not even going to comment on this whole thing, but, then I started thinking, I started writing to express my opinion on different issues, and to give a perspective on sports from a former athlete, who does not have the pressure of trying to impress someone or keep a job. Plus, some of my friends wanted to know what did I think about the whole situation.

The Play in Question

The play in question happened during the Patriots vs. Colts game Sunday night. The coach in question is Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots. Allow me to set this up for you. Fourth down and 2 yards to go for a first down. Inside of their own 30 yard line, Coach Belichick decided that his team would go for it instead of punting. After some confusion and a timeout, they attempted a pass play and came up a little short of the first down. Leaving Colts' QB Peyton Manning only 28 yards to lead his team to victory. Of course Manning came thru and then some of the worse sports casting I ever heard hit the airways.

So many tried to justify the decision to go for it. Matt Millen, perhaps one of worse GM's in football history tried to validate it. Merrill Hodge did the same thing. So many sports shows were trying to validate it, that I wound up watching re-runs of Martin all day.

So let me set the record straight on what I thought. I know Coach Belichick and Tom Brady are futureĀ hall of famers. ButĀ I thought it was a HORRIBLE decision!

The Reasoning

" If he would have made it, they would be calling him a great coach", but they didn't make it. "Peyton Manning had just drove over 70 yards for a touchdown in under two minutes, so they knew he would do it again." Well make him do it again. "The ref gave them a bad spot." Football is a game of inches, and anyone who really knows football knows that first downs are a matter of a left foot/right foot spot of the ball. None of these reasons are concrete enough to justify going for it on fourth down inside of your own thirty.

Going For It On Fourth Down

All the sports guys who are trying to justify going for it on fourth down have even tried to use statistics. Those statistics sound good too, saying, " There is a 56% conversion rate for teams who go for it on fourth down." That sounds good if you are trying to justify this bad decision or if you don't really know anything about the ins and outs of football.

The truth is that those stats really represent teams who are losing and trying to come back. Those stats represent teams that have at least crossed the 50 yard line. Those stats don't show that the other team was strictly in a prevent defense, just trying not to let them score to quick. I'm also willing to bet that those stats represent teams who had fourth and INCHES!

One sports writer even went as far as to say that according to a "math" formula used, Belichick made the right decision to go for it on fourth down.

Even most of the guys who play Madden will tell you to kick it in that situation. (lol)

Instead of admitting that it was a bad decision, people are completely "disrespecting" the game of football trying to justify it. That is why it has been such a big "stink" about it.

Failed Before the Failure

Before the play even came into the picture there were problems in their fourth quarter plan. After a TV timeout, the Patriots had to take another timeout.After two plays, Belichick said they had already made the decision to go for it on third down. Ok, then why the confusion? The punt team was trying to run onto the field and the offense was coming off. Tom Brady was all the way to the side line when they told him to stay on the field. And lets get something straight, the look Brady had on his face was not one of confidence as some have suggested. When you look at that video, you can clearly see that he was shocked to say the least. ( confused may be a better word) This series was doomed before it even started.

The Big Play

Fourth and two, and after a timeout, the play they came up with was a two yard route to Kevin Faulk. He catches it, he bobbles it, then he pulls it in. The ref gives him a spot that may be questionable. But the decision to go for it is questionable. It was not a perfect series, it was not a perfect play, it was not a perfect catch, it was not a perfect decision to go for it....but now you want the ref to be perfect on his spot of the ball. Ok. (shaking my head)

If you wanted a clean catch on the ball, it should have been thrown to a wide receiver. I understand taking advantage of a mismatch on the linebacker, I even understand trying to throw to the least likely person in that situation. But this is no ordinary decision, this play will decide the game. I have to throw to one of my receivers at this point. Then he committed the ultimate sin in running a route for a first down, running your route directly at the first down marker. You can't blame the spot on the ref, you have to blame the bobble, and you have to blame the decision to go for it in the first place.

Give the Defense A Chance

You are winning! Give the defense a chance. Ok, I've heard the argument that Manning had just drove down the field 78 yards in under two minutes. So, the thought should have been we know he will score in 30 yards, but lets see if he can drive 70 yards again. If he does it then you were supposed to lose. But, at least you have a bigger chance for error. The defense may get a sack or be able to jump a route and get an interception. You put as much green as possible in between the Colts and the goal line. You punt the ball. It is a no-brainer. All of the formulas and statistics are out the window.


Tom Brady had no other choice but to say he backs Belichick's choice to go for it. First of all you don't want to show fall out behind it, you want to support your leader. Plus, if he was going to disagree, he should have done that on the field during the timeout. The same goes for Kevin Faulk.

But some are missing the point. The defense is offended. No they are not just going to come out and say it. Have you seen what they have been doing to players who show in resistance against the machine. (lol) But it was a slap in the face. It didn't even look like the defense was trying to stop them on that winning drive. But, would you blame them?


You punt the ball in that situation!! Belichick knows that, even if he never admits it. We will see what the rest of the season holds for them. I believe there will be some fall out from the defensive side. But who knows.

I am not saying that Belichick is a bad coach. Belichick is actually a great coach, he just made a bad decision. For his team and for himself. He set the team up for failure and he left himself open for scrutiny by not just coming out and saying that he made a bad decision. He disrespected all of the "unwritten" rules of football.

Someone said, " That is what championship teams are about." I would have to disagree. That was a decision that you would expect from a team who didn't expect to be winning at that point in the game. A team with a losing record and had nothing else to lose. Not from a championship calibur team and coach.

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Comments 3 comments

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 7 years ago from New York, NY

acanderson24, Great Hub you have here. "The truth is that those stats really represent teams who are losing and trying to come back." is really what says it all. And like you also bring out lets see now what happens to the Pats after all of this. Bottom line though is the Colts just seem to, no matter what, at the end of their game this season come up with a way to pull it out and put another win in their column!

EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

EYEAM4ANARCHY 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV.

I don't know if I would go so far as to say it is disrespectful to the game, but I agree with most of your reasoning. There are a ton of variables that go into a last minute drive in a closegame, that aren't a factor in the majority of 4th down tries.

acanderson24 profile image

acanderson24 7 years ago Author

lol...maybe... "disrespecting the game" is a little harsh. Understand that this article is coming from a former football player. There are unwritten rules to everything, from the streets to the biggest businesses in the world. Breaking these rules are considered "disrespecting". Of course none of the other coaches are going to say it publicly. But behind closed doors, their saying it. None of the Patriots defensive players are going to say it publicly, but behind closed doors they are saying, " he doesn't believe in completely disrespected us." I don't care how much he respects Manning, you don't do that to your team. Do you know what the Colts coach was saying over there? "This guy is gone disrespect us like that." (lol)....Maybe if he was coaching a team that was 1-7, maybe..but he is coaching a championship calibur team. Show the defense you believe in them....

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