Alright already. He made the call. Deal with it.
Whether you're a Patriots fan, a Colts fan, or none of the above, the majority of football lovers are questioning Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down with two yards to go on his own 28-yard line.
That raises the question: How far does the saying, "In Bill We Trust" go?
To some fans, that question shouldn't even be asked. With three Super Bowls and four AFC championships in the decade, the Patriots would not be where they are today without Belichick.
So, to put to rest any early rumors of ousting Belichick from the New England tundra, here are five reasons to stop nagging Belichick about his fourth quarter call.
1) The Call Had Nothing to Do With a Lack of Confidence in His Defense
Belichick-run teams have always had a trademark: defense first, everything else thereafter.
No matter his trust or distrust in his defensive bunch, he would've elected to go for it even with a Pro Bowl defense on his side. Why? The Brady bunch. Just as much trust as the team showed in Belichick after the game, he showed just as much in his offense that has won him three titles in the 2000s.
To prove it, Belichick (right or wrong) went to his "go-to" back in Kevin Faulk and possibly did get the first down. We'll never know because it was never reviewed. Add to that his defense's great stands all game with picking off Manning twice, and that was the formula for Belichick's call.
2) The Call Was Something Different That the Colts Might Not Have Been Ready For
Can you really blame Belichick for trying something the Colts hadn't seen from his team before?
Peyton and the Colts have seen everything, from goal-line stands to flea flicker touchdowns and everything in between—but not a fourth-down call with two minutes to go on New England turf. That speaks volumes to Belichick's thought process.
No, it's not typical; but since when has Belichick's team been typical? Is it typical to win three Super Bowls in a decade? What about losing the heart of your defense time and time again and still putting together a team that can hold Manning's Colts to 14 points through three quarters?
Granted, the team needs to be able to FINISH the game, but that's not the point. Case and point? Try Pats/Broncos circa 2003, when Belichick took an intentional safety and had his Patriots three-and-out the Broncos to allow Brady to march downfield and throw the game-winning touchdown to David Givens.
He was a genius for that call because it worked. Now he's a dunce? Oh, only what if.
3) Manning Forced Belichick's Hand, and Rightly So
Everyone who watched the game from the outset saw that Peyton Manning was voted by previous Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks as the better overall quarterback when compared to Tom Brady. I personally disagree, but that's for another time and place.
So, when the so-called "better" quarterback led the Colts to one of his great comebacks, how could Belichick believe that putting the ball in Manning's hands was the right thing to do?
The media and football fans always talk so highly of Manning's greatness, but when Belichick wants to give him one less notch on his belt, is it so wrong? Of course hindsight is 20-20, but nevertheless, Belichick was in a mighty game of chess and happened to get checkmated once Brady let that pigskin fly.
The chess championships could come to Indy this January if Belichick's crew gets a shot at redemption at Lucas Oil Stadium in the playoffs.
4) History Favored the Pats...Heavily
Many times, when any call is questioned in ANY sport, generally we look to the statistics to see what went wrong.
Lots of times coaches and management take the odds. Sometimes, they don't.
If a specific call has only worked 10 percent of the time, why call it? What about 33 percent of the time? Even 50 percent. What was the percentage of Belichick's call and how well did it work in the past?
ESPN said something about the Patriots being successful 75 percent of the time against the Colts on fourth down, which is much better than 50 percent. However, looking into the situation a little bit, the Pats historically would have converted that 4th-and-2 60 percent of the time. That ends the game.
Let's take it a step further. If the Pats netted a punt of 38 yards, which is statistically the general punt average for New England's field position, that places the Colts on their own 34, from where they generally have a 30 percent chance of scoring. That gives the Pats a 70 percent chance of winning.
However, even if the Patriots didn't convert, they had a 79 percent chance of winning by stopping the Colts. Don't believe me? See the equation here.
5) Why Would You Even Begin to Question a Legend?
Is Joe Namath being questioned for his bold prediction (or his kiss attempt of Suzy Kolber)?
Was Babe Ruth questioned for his bat point suggesting where he would hit his home runs?
Then why question a man who will be a Hall-of-Fame coach when his career is over?
Yeah, I don't get it either, but I don't question Belichick's thinking in situations like that. The three rings around his fingers have allowed me to erase any doubt I have in Belichick, and that's something I can appreciate. It's time the rest of the NFL's fans do the same, and stop loving to hate such a decent coach.
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