Colts 2009 Bill Belichick" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-336" src="http://redsoxmaniac.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Bill-belichick-colts-pats-2009.jpg" border="0" height="250" alt="Patriots Colts 2009 Bill Belichick" width="375">
And with the pass deflection to push the Patriots a 4th & 2 with two minutes left in the Patriots-Colts game, the heartbeat of all fans involved with this amazing Sunday night game pounded fast and furious. Peyton Manning has a chance to take his team down the field to win the game. The Patriots have a chance to make a stop, and a chance to prove to the NFL that the 2007 magic is alive and well.
But, wait. Tom Brady is relaying signals from the sideline. The punt team has not come on to the field. There is two minutes left on the clock, and Bill Belichick, with his team on their own 28 yard line, makes the most historic coaching decision ever made on the gridiron field. He decides that destiny comes on this play; gain the 1st down, and the Patriots will make their mark, and the message will be passed along through the national media outlets.
Lose the first down, and the Colts will begin their road as the newest team of destiny. The new undefeated argument. The new 2007. The best quarterback. The team of the decade. The greatest coach of all time. And everything that is football, that is greatness, that is gridiron history, that is sport debate; Bill Belichick made the decision to control destiny itself.
And the Patriots walked up to the line of scrimmage, and everyone who was watching it, could not believe what was happening before their eyes. History was being made on so many levels, and yet the story itself was simple: Get the 1st down, and keep Peyton Manning off the field.
The Colts defense stepped up their game, and before this historic play, were keeping the potent Patriots offense at bay in the latter half of the 4th quarter. Their safeties were close in on the line. The linebackers were close as well. There were 22 players no more than 10 yards from each other, and they all knew that this was it. The Colts had an momentum advantage, but meaningless without this stopping them right here. Destiny is in front of them, and they can control it, embrace it, become it.
The Patriots offense, with so much destruction it wreaked upon the Colts secondary, had become mortal, and susceptible to mistakes. They nonetheless, had the chance to control destiny. To mold the identity of greatness for the NFL. The ability to control the talking heads of playoff scenarios, the fear of the red,white, and blue uniforms, the praise of the last pick in the draft over the first, the ballsiest coaching call in history: They can control it with moving the chains just two more yards.
Did it matter that Kevin Faulk was only a foot short? Did it matter that Tom Brady had an open target down field? Did it matter that Peyton Manning took advantage of the short field to prevail over his rivals?
It all matters to the history of this great game, to the people who spends hours arguing the greatest plays, players, playoffs, and predictions. It matters to the struggling print industry that can relay sports stories to the local community. It matters to the 10-year old with a Jared Allen jersey, watching the game with the parents. It matters to the game, the past game, the future game, and the destiny of the two teams who were involved this amazing Sunday night.
Bill Belichick, who will catch harsh criticism, have fans doubt his legacy, leave many fans with heavy hearts and watered-eyes as they start a new week. Bill Belichick made it matter, because he made the decision to have one play decide the destiny of two teams, one rivalry, millions of fans, and the narrative of the NFL itself.
If there is any positive that can come from anyone that is a Patriots or a Bill Belichick fan, it is the fact that this decision represents so much to sports in such a finite moment. A moment where Tom Brady could’ve gained a first down, a moment where Peyton Manning becomes the most dominant force in the AFC, a moment where the narrative of football is changed forever. Bill Belichick gave us this story, this story within a story, the ability to control destiny itself.
And with one play, tomorrow will forever be so much different than any sports fan could’ve ever imagine. The future is exciting, and I thank Belichick for making the most maniacal instinctive that any coach has ever made. The future is exciting, and with one play, the narrative of football changes. Thanks Bill; I cannot wait until the next chapter.
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