Beli-kick de­fends de­ci­sion

Pats’ coach says giv­ing Jets ball in OT right move

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - FOOTBALL -

FOXBOR­OUGH, Mass. — Bill Belichick stood by his de­ci­sion Mon­day to kick off to start Sun­day’s over­time in New Jer­sey. The New York Jets scored quickly to win 26-20 and boost their play­off hopes. The loss de­prived the Pa­tri­ots of clinch­ing the No. 1 seed in the AFC play­offs.

“I clearly thought that was our best op­por­tu­nity, so that’s why we did it,” Belichick said on his reg­u­lar Mon­day me­dia con­fer­ence call. “Didn’t like the way it worked out, but to me that was the right de­ci­sion for our team at that time.”

‘Didn’t like the way it worked out, but to me that was the right de­ci­sion for our team at that time’

— Pa­tri­ots coach Bill Belichick

Af­ter the Pa­tri­ots ral­lied to tie in the clos­ing min­utes, Belichick in­structed spe­cial teams cap­tain Matthew Slater to say his team wanted to kick off. Slater seemed con­fused as to which way the Pa­tri­ots would kick, but Belichick said Mon­day that didn’t mat­ter be­cause there was lit­tle or no wind.

The Jets marched right down­field and won on Eric Decker’s six-yard TD re­cep­tion, leav­ing New Eng­land hav­ing to go all out in the fi­nale at Miami to clinch home-field ad­van­tage through­out the AFC play­offs — a game that would have been ren­dered mean­ing­less with a win in the Mead­ow­lands.

Belichick mapped out his rea­son­ing, cit­ing games in New Eng­land’s past.

“Look, the bot­tom line is field po­si­tion,” he said. “Good field po­si­tion, you don’t have to take it as far, you get a stop, you get a field goal it’s really more a field po­si­tion con­sid­er­a­tion. In other over­time games that we’ve been in, re­gard­less of which way it went — the Den­ver game (a win) from a couple of years ago, or the Den­ver game (a loss) from this year, where we had the ball, got stopped, gave it them in good field po­si­tion — they ended up scor­ing a touch­down, but they didn’t have very far to go to get in field goal range.”

As far as the con­fu­sion over which way the kick­off would go, Belichick said, “The dis­cus­sion (with his cap­tains) was that we wanted to kick off, No. 1. No. 2, if we didn’t win the toss then we had the pre­ferred di­rec­tion. Hon­estly, it really didn’t make any dif­fer­ence, there was al­most no wind in the game, so that wasn’t a big con­sid­er­a­tion.

“What I did want to do is de­fend a goal and have them choose to kick off. We chose to kick off and I don’t know ex­actly hap­pened out there at mid­field, but we ob­vi­ously didn’t have the choice of goals, they did. We talked about that on the side­line be­cause that could have been our choice had the coin toss gone dif­fer­ently.”

Belichick in­formed the of­fi­cials he wanted to kick well be­fore the coin toss was held.

“For that ex­act rea­son, so there wouldn’t be any con­fu­sion about what was go­ing on. That’s why when I was asked af­ter the game was there con­fu­sion on the play, I don’t think there was any con­fu­sion,” he said. “Then (ref­eree) Clete (Bake­man) came over to me af­ter the toss and said, ‘You got what you wanted here right?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, ex­actly.’ ”

Belichick ad­mit­ted he was per­plexed by the re­ac­tion his de­ci­sion has prompted.

“It seems like much ado about noth­ing for me; I don’t really understand what the is­sue is,” he said. “What are we talk­ing about here? What should have hap­pened that didn’t hap­pen or what­ever? I don’t know.”


New York Jets wide re­ceiver Eric Decker makes the game-win­ning touch­down catch to de­feat the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots 26-20 in over time Sun­day.

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