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Belichick weighed holding Welker out before torn ACL

Bill Belichick AP

The second part of NFL Films’ excellent documentary on Bill Belichick premieres tonight at 9 on NFL Network, and it’s another good look inside the Patriots’ head coach as he led his team through the 2009 season.

I’ve already gone into a lot of detail about the first installment, but one of the strengths of Part Two of Bill Belichick: A Football Life is that it doesn’t just paint him as a genius coach who makes all the right moves. Two of the key moments in Part Two are decisions that Belichick, in hindsight, would like to have back.

First, there’s Belichick’s infamous decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Patriots’ own 28-yard line late in a game against the Colts. The Patriots’ offense was stopped just short of the first down, the Colts took advantage of their great field position and scored the game-winning touchdown, and Belichick was pilloried for that call. But Belichick didn’t seem particularly bothered by any of the criticism, saying privately more or less what he said publicly: He thought going for it on fourth down was better than punting, and so he made the call he thought was best at the time.

Belichick appeared to feel more regret about another decision he made that season: Playing Wes Welker, who led the league with 123 catches that season, in an essentially meaningless Week 17 game at Houston. Welker suffered a torn ACL in that game and the Patriots lost in the first round of the playoffs without him.

The most fascinating part of the documentary is that NFL Films recorded Belichick in meetings during the week of the Texans game discussing which players he’d hold out to keep them healthy for the playoffs. During the week, Belichick seemed to be leaning toward keeping Welker inactive because he was worried about an injury.

“Maybe Welker, too,” Belichick said when listing players who would be inactive for the Texans game. “I don’t know how smart it’d be to put him in there to get lit up another eight or 10 times like he usually does.”

Later, Belichick is shown in another meeting suggesting that Welker and Randy Moss would both play but get only limited action.

“Even if Welker’s healthy, I think there’s a point in this game where you can just back off,” Belichick said, before adding of Moss and Welker, “Those are two guys we can’t really afford to lose.”

Sure enough, the Patriots did lose Welker, and Belichick is shown in his office afterward looking devastated about it. This great look at a great coach also includes the coach’s mistakes.

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33 Responses to “Belichick weighed holding Welker out before torn ACL”
  1. sj39 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:06 PM

    “This great look at a great coach also includes the coach’s mistakes.”

    How about the cheating? Does it take a look at the cheating as well?

  2. jakek2 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:06 PM

    Going for it on 4th and 2 was the absolute correct call, no doubt about it (although the play selection could have been better). He put the game in the hands of a top 4 QB in NFL history vs. a team with a crap defense instead of the OTHER WAY AROUND.

  3. tbih says: Sep 22, 2011 3:09 PM

    Dear BB,

    That’s what you get for running up the score.

    Sincerely,

    The Football Gods

  4. jaggedmark says: Sep 22, 2011 3:15 PM

    Part Two are decisions that Belichick, in hindsight, would like to have back.
    ——————————–
    Hey, spin masters, Belichick has said a 100 times he would do that same thing on 4th and 2. Just didn’t work out that time. He felt Colts would have scored from anywhere on the field.

    So question: Why did you write: “in hindsight, would like to have back?”

  5. PFTiswhatitis says: Sep 22, 2011 3:17 PM

    Actually BB did not ever say he wanted to have that call back in fact, in the documentary he clearly says he is NEVER afraid of making a call and gives the impression that he had no regret on that call. Watch it and learn.

  6. steviethewiz says: Sep 22, 2011 3:19 PM

    What no footage of him fooling around with that other guys wife? Yeah real class act that Little Bill is………..Cheater in life and at football.

  7. giablommi says: Sep 22, 2011 3:24 PM

    “That’s what you get for running up the score.”
    ^^^^^^
    Considering the 2009 team won only ONE game on the road, blew lead after lead that season (including the Houston game), and that Welker’s injury occurred in the first half, you’ve pretty much outed yourself as an ignorant, uninformed hater.

    Fail.

  8. niblickmaster says: Sep 22, 2011 3:26 PM

    Does anyone have any idea what Belichick was paid to do this documentary?

  9. bullcharger says: Sep 22, 2011 3:29 PM

    The fact that Belichick could make that 4th and 2 call shows how much support he has within the organization and how little he cares about what others would do.

    Most coaches would safely punt it away even if they thought they could make the 4th and 2. The odds support going for it but a coach can’t look bad calling for a punt in that situation.

    Belichick makes calls to try and win the game without regard for his image. I think back to 2003 when he called for an intentional safety against Denver and won. No other coach would have done that, but it gave them a chance to win.

  10. PFTiswhatitis says: Sep 22, 2011 3:30 PM

    In hindsight, MDS is rewriting the documentary.

  11. dmc1542 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:31 PM

    Belichick wasn’t paid anything, moron

  12. dmc1542 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:34 PM

    Sorry maybe moron was a little harsh…..

    I love when people complain about running up the score…this is the National Football League! This is not Pop Warner, and if you can’t handle another team taking it to you for 60 minutes, you don’t deserve your paycheck.

  13. afc22 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:39 PM

    i give Belichick credit for the Indy call..that took balls. The odds of making it were probably 80% and if he did it’s a call people would talk about for ages. He had the guts to try it.

    the Welker thing is karma. he loves to keep his A team in to run up the score, and it came back to bite him. He’s lucky Brady didn’t suffer a freak injury in the preseason game vs the Giants, but eventually that sort of stuff will catch up with him again

  14. kate773 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:53 PM

    The same people who complain about the Pats running up the score are probably the same people telling Brady to “put on a skirt because this is football and you’re supposed to get hit”.

  15. bradshawlives says: Sep 22, 2011 3:54 PM

    Man I’m tired of simple minded douches like sj39 and steviethewiz who can’t come up with anything other than “Belichick’s a cheater”. How do these morons funciton in society?

  16. habsman says: Sep 22, 2011 3:57 PM

    Wow, there sure are a lot of people who don’t like the Pats! Oh well……………it is what it is.

  17. gabbertisthefuture11 says: Sep 22, 2011 3:58 PM

    What is with you people? Spygate is over so quit whining and move on

  18. ame123 says: Sep 22, 2011 4:06 PM

    Going for it on 4th and 2 is always the right decision. Regardless of field position. Check out scorecasting.

  19. magnuminsp says: Sep 22, 2011 4:07 PM

    The reason Bill went for it in the Colts game was because he know what everyone else knew, that the Pats defense wasn’t going to stop Peyton either way. If they got the first down, the game was over.

    Just like in the Super Bowl against the Rams. The reason he went for the win was because the Rams had scored in the two previous possessions and had they got the ball in overtime, they more than likely would have won.

    Bill actually does know what his team is capable of. He also knows their weaknesses.

  20. ttiger97 says: Sep 22, 2011 4:19 PM

    You turd-balls who want to rag on Belichik would love to have him coach YOUR team. Being a Raiders fan I hate the Pats, but I would love to have him as our coach. So what if one of his underlings taped a some practices. The Pats don’t win every game and haven’t won a Super Bowl in years, but to say they only won because of some videotaped practices is ridiculous.

  21. BTC says: Sep 22, 2011 4:24 PM

    So… about this great coach who needed to cheat in order to win…

  22. habsman says: Sep 22, 2011 4:27 PM

    @ttigers97

    They didn’t tape practices.

  23. hoier says: Sep 22, 2011 4:33 PM

    Every team in the league was video taping, just like “spygate” Those still complaining about this are being disingenuous.

    I also don’t understand the venum toward the Patriots in general. First they are having their first and onld good run as a good team since Bekicik ( maybe Parcells). I do NOT hear the same venum for other long standing good football teams

  24. rodgersrules says: Sep 22, 2011 5:03 PM

    if you’re going to run up the score you suffer the consequences.

    no one is complaining about the way BB runs it up, just pointing out the obvious to you thin skinned Pats fans who can only handle hearing how great your team is. it’s why you come on here in droves and support each other for every article that’s written

    GB fans don’t need everyone telling us how great our team is. we won a SB, we know they’re great. Pats fans seem to need constant reassurance

    go ahead and vote thumbs down, but look in the mirror and see if the description fits first.

  25. ossipeepats says: Sep 22, 2011 5:07 PM

    I love it… people still can’t comprehend that the only thing that Patriots were guilty of was the location of the camera – what it was recording is not, never has been, and never will be illegal.

  26. dmc1542 says: Sep 22, 2011 5:19 PM

    Funny how people forget Jimmy Johnson admitting that the Cowboys of the 90’s did the same taping methods the Pats were caught doing.

    I guess when you only have 1 arguement against the greatest team since those Cowboys, I guess you idiots gotta use it.

    So hate on, haters, and we’ll just rack up another 14-2 season, and hopefully the o-line can hold up and we. will. see. you. in. indy.

  27. ampats says: Sep 22, 2011 5:31 PM

    steveiethewiz,

    when are you going to post something that everyone on this site doesn’t continue to know what an idiot you must be.

    Sure lets have BB talk about an alleged affair that happened over 25 years ago while he was an assistant on the NY Giants staff. Since it seems to hit so close to home for you was your mom involved?

  28. pigeonpea says: Sep 22, 2011 5:37 PM

    ame123 says:
    Going for it on 4th and 2 is always the right decision. Regardless of field position.

    Maybe in Madden, but it certainly wasn’t here – especially from your own 28!

  29. CKL says: Sep 22, 2011 5:39 PM

    rodgersrules says:
    Sep 22, 2011 5:03 PM
    if you’re going to run up the score you suffer the consequences.

    no one is complaining about the way BB runs it up, just pointing out the obvious to you thin skinned Pats fans who can only handle hearing how great your team is. it’s why you come on here in droves and support each other for every article that’s written

    GB fans don’t need everyone telling us how great our team is. we won a SB, we know they’re great. Pats fans seem to need constant reassurance

    go ahead and vote thumbs down, but look in the mirror and see if the description fits first.
    ______________________________
    So you’re not complaining that the Pats keep trying to score (despite the fact that their margins of victory this year aren’t even close to their week 3 opponent’s) but you feel that they need to “suffer consequences” for it? That is what we call a contradiction. Maybe you other team fans who come on here and whine just about the Pats when other teams “run up the score ” (what a laugh, there’s no such thing anyway) etc. are the ones who need to look in the mirror. A couple of your GB fan brethren fit that bill of constant whining on Pats posts. Me? I like to judge each action of each individual individually. I wouldn’t call wanting to ensure correct information is being posted as being insecure about our team, but whatever floats your boat.

    Some people who hate BB think he’s arrogant but I would say that his allowing himself to be shown to be as falliable as anyone else means he’s just the opposite.

  30. dienavinjohnson says: Sep 23, 2011 12:12 AM

    My absolute favorite part of that episode was when Belichick lit into his defense after they blew the shutout. The previous scene showed the DBs dancing to the stadium music. I fricking hate that when I’m at the game and I see that. Inevitably they can’t get off the field.

    From what I could see, the 3 guys that were dancing were Wilhite (cut), Merriweather (cut), and Darius Butler (cut). I hope his current crop of players gets the message. PLAY 60 MINUTES!!! I don’t care what anyone else says, this guy is a fantastic coach. And if you are a coach, you should emulate him. If you hate him so much that you disagree with me, your ignorance is your reward.

  31. steviethewiz says: Sep 23, 2011 8:07 AM

    Aw poor little ampats is mad at me well maybe you should be mad at the guy who got fined and cost your team a draft pick but no you are not smart enough for that.

  32. gregjennings85 says: Sep 23, 2011 10:23 AM

    “I love it… people still can’t comprehend that the only thing that Patriots were guilty of was the location of the camera – what it was recording is not, never has been, and never will be illegal.”

    __________________________________

    That’s probably why Belicheat was fined 100k and the Patriots were stripped of 1st round pick…camera location.

  33. howiegtr says: Sep 23, 2011 4:36 PM

    Since BB was the Defensive Coor. of the Parcell’s Giants SB wins I guess they’re cheaters too. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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