The Bill Belichick 4th down call has been like a slain woolly mammoth for us in sports talk radio. It's a beast that will feed the tribe for months.
What is funny, however, is the level of utter VITRIOL some people have on the subject.
For the record, I think it was a decent percentage-play call by Bill. Not a no-brainer. And certainly not "idiotic."
I liken it to getting into the trunk of a mafia sedan. When the burly goombah's in the black suits say "get in the trunk" you are in deep trouble.
Belichick felt that Peyton Manning from 70 yards with 2 minutes and a timeout, was his own "get in the trunk" moment. He had to make a move. He tried to wheel-kick fat Tony with the gun, just missed, and got shot in the back.
Still might have been his best chance.
If you want some mildly confusing math (it's all confusing to me) you can read this entry from Sports By Brooks.
Those that disagree however, fall into a class of folks I like to call the "Righteous Punters."
These fans don't just think it was a bad strategic call, they are CERTAIN that Belichick is an arrogant IDIOT for attempting it.
Folks, punting isn't the answer to all of life's problems.
THE YELLOW ZONE
I would like to coin a term for the plus-45 to plus-35 yard line. "The Yellow Zone." Unlike the "Red Zone" this is to describe the cowardly zone where NFL coaches routinely punt the ball away, instead of going for 4th down conversion. If I was making a laminated chart, it would read like this: Any 4th and 5 or less in the "Yellow Zone" you go for it. Period. Punting for what usually ends up being a paltry 25 yards of field position, isn't worth shying away from 4th and 5 or less.
As if anybody needed one more reason to fire Eric Mangini, this past Monday night provided it. Gregg Easterbrook of Page 2's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" pulls the pants down on cowardly coaching decisions.
On Monday night, trailing 16-0 on the game's final snap, Cleveland attempted a ridiculous Stanford Band play (which should now be called a Trinity of Texas play), for no apparent purpose other than to keep "we got shut out on 'Monday Night Football'" from being on the agenda at Eric Mangini's year-end performance review. In an extreme display of poor sportsmanship, Mangini called all his timeouts in the final moments, when Baltimore led by 16 and was not trying to score but just trying to exhaust the clock. The motive was protecting Mangini's résumé, and the result of the ridiculous final play was a concussion for the Browns' Josh Cribbs. Exposing players to injury on a meaningless final down, just to improve your own employment prospects, is a serious coaching offense -- the football world should be mad at Mangini, not Belichick.
REACT: Easterbrook also slammed Wade Phillips for pushing so hard for the late TD against Green Bay while there was clearly, no chance at all for a 17 point rally in the final 2 minutes. It was a classic: "I don't want the word 'shutout' on my year end review" kind of move. Again, not like you need THIS to justify canning Wade Phillips at the end of the year.
IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT... "MESSAGING"
I love how politicians never think that they are doing something the public is enraged about, they only think that they need to do a better job of lying about what they are doing which is making the public outraged.
Pat Waak, the chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said the party had so far failed to convince independent voters of the steps it had taken to improve the economy.
“I think the economy is at the base of the tension,” she said. “Quite frankly, we’ve got to do a better job of messaging. There’s a lot of work to be done to get independents more comfortable with what we’re doing.”
“Listen, it hasn’t been an easy time,” said T.J. Rooney, a former state legislator and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “It’s almost like we’re a victim of our own success. When you’re governing, that changes the political dynamic.”
Andrew Myers, who polled for Democrats in Virginia House of Delegates races this year, said his analysis of exit polls indicated that voters had come to see Democrats as a party of high spending — too willing to make a rush for the pocketbooks and unable to effectively articulate how their health care reform push benefited independents, many of whom already have insurance plans.
“This is what’s particularly heartbreaking: There is a real sense that no one in Congress is standing up for them,” said Myers. “It’s a real problem for messaging for us.”
Translation: You, the public are stupid. We plan to step up our efforts to lie to you. Stay tuned. God, I cannot WAIT until next November.