Belichick goes into detail on wind decision

Belichick goes into detail on wind decision
November 25, 2013, 12:00 pm
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In the immediate aftermath of the Patriots 34-31 win over the Broncos, Bill Belichick succinctly cited the wind as the reason the Patriots chose direction over possession in overtime.

On a conference call Monday morning, Belichick went deeper into his mental machinations.

“You never want to give Peyton Manning and that offense, you never want to just hand them the ball,” Belichick began. “But I just felt in that particular situation with the wind being as significant as it was, that we just had to stop them from getting into the end zone. If we could do that, then we would have a significant advantage in the overtime period.

“We just had to make one stop and keep them out of the end zone,” he continued. "Even if they drove down and kicked a field goal, I felt like in that game, the field goal to kick going into the lighthouse, you’d have to get the ball to the 25 to be confident in making it. Depending on how the wind was gusting, you might even have to get it to the 20. Whereas going the other way, I think you could definitely get the ball to the uprights from probably anywhere inside the 45-yard line.”

If the Patriots could hold on defensively for that first drive, the rest of the OT period would be distinctly in New England’s favor, even though four of the previous five TDs in the game were scored at the open end of the field.

“Now, getting it in-between (the uprights on a field goal attempt) was more of a challenge because of the crosswind and everything else,” noted Belichick. “But at least to have a shot to make it, I felt like there was about a 20-yard difference in field position to just attempt a field goal, let’s put it that way. I’m saying getting to the 25 on one end, to the 45 on the other. You could fudge a yard or two there, but basically that’s what it looked like to me at that time. I felt like that was a big enough advantage to try to keep the wind.”

The entire kicking game, as we came to see, was impacted by the wind.

“The punting game also was a factor in that too,” said Belichick. “Had we had the ball and not been able to score and be punting into the wind and all that, like I said, with their kicker and his distance, it wouldn’t have taken much for them to be in field goal range. I felt like, ‘Well, if that’s the way we feel about it, we might as well put them in that situation.’ That’s kind of the thought process there.”

Belichick said it took some conversation to make sure the captains had their coin-flip instructions locked down.

“The whole situation was a little bit confusing because when I told the captains that, there was a little bit of a question of, ‘Are you talking about deferring?’ I was like, ‘No, we’re not deferring, we’re taking the wind period.’ ‘Well, is that if they take the ball?’ ‘No, it’s not if they take the ball.’ We actually, with the captains, had a little bit of a conversation that they had right what I wanted to do, because it was a little bit of an, obviously, unusual type of situation. They were doing a good job. They just wanted to make sure that they had the decision that we felt was best and we got it. It was not one of the normal ones.”