Home Dice Should Bill Belichick have hit a 56-yard basket or rolled the dice in the fourth and third?

Should Bill Belichick have hit a 56-yard basket or rolled the dice in the fourth and third?


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Sunday night’s biggest game even ended with a thud. Or more exactly a doink.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick chose to let kicker Nick Folk attempt a 56-yard field goal in the rain, instead of attempting the shot on the fourth and third. Belichick (shockingly) didn’t say much about the decision after the game. Monday he said more. But not a lot.

“It wasn’t really a decision there,” Belichick said. “We converted two thirds in the game. Nick hit well. No, there was no consideration.

How can he say that there was no consideration? This is another Belichickian deviation; surely it was a near call.

Here is the simple analysis. Option 1: Folk tries a basket that matches his long career in the rain despite having a problem with his vegetable leg, and if he succeeds, Tom Brady retrieves the ball with about 50 seconds left. Option 2: Go ahead on the fourth down, and if converted, the Patriots both bring the possible field goal closer together and take more time (if not all) on the clock.

In the second week the Sunday night football, the Ravens went there in fourth position to prevent Patrick Mahomes from recovering the ball. During the third week Sunday night football, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers only needed 37 seconds to lead his team to a chance to score a winning field goal. During the fourth week the Sunday night footballBrady would have had plenty of time to win the game if Folk’s kick had bounced back instead of being taken out.

Yes, Belichick won six Super Bowls. Yes, he deserves a lot more deference than a guy like, say, Dan Campbell. But Belichick is not above scrutiny. The mere fact that he asserted that there was no consideration to be made warrants the criticism, for the matter should at least have been considered. And maybe the right choice was very well to go.

Maybe on some level Belichick wanted to compete in spirit with Brady. Maybe the coach called for the kick because he was hoping for a final battle with Brady. Can Brady reach the shooting range? Can Belichick stop him from doing it?

Whether Belichick would one day admit it or even realize it, I think he wanted to give Brady the ball with just enough time to make it interesting. And it would have been great to watch, if Folk had just done the job.

Either way, Belichick insults the intelligence of the average football fan by acting like it’s not even a consideration. Surely it was. And a strong argument can be made to go there.