John Harbaugh considered taking the wind in overtime


Coaches almost always choose to receive the kickoff if they win the coin toss in overtime, but on a windy, rainy day in Chicago, Ravens coach John Harbaugh strongly considered choosing to get the wind at the Ravens’ backs instead.

The Ravens lost in overtime to the Bears after electing to receive the kickoff, punting on their opening possession and then allowing the Bears to march into field goal range to kick the game-winner. Harbaugh sounds like he’s still wondering whether he made the right choice at the start of overtime.

We thought real hard about taking the wind,” Harbaugh said of the overtime coin toss, via the Baltimore Sun. “It’s not so much deferring. You would take the wind is how you would do that.”

What made Harbaugh decide not to take the wind is that the winds were swirling so much in Chicago that he actually wasn’t sure which direction would be more advantageous.

“Then, we just couldn’t decide which way the wind was blowing,” Harbaugh said. “Honestly, it was swirling back and forth both ways, and once we had disagreement on which way the wind was blowing, then it was pretty straightforward for me to say we’re taking the ball if we win the toss.”

The most infamous instance of a coach taking the wind in overtime happened two hours south of the Windy City in Champaign, Illinois, where the Bears played their home games in 2002. That year, former Lions coach Marty Mornhinweg took the wind at the start of an overtime, only to see the Bears kick a game-winning field goal into that wind. Since the NFL shifted overtime formats to guarantee both teams a possession, no coach has ever chosen anything other than to receive the overtime kickoff.

33 responses to “John Harbaugh considered taking the wind in overtime

  1. He should consider taking an extended vacation. His decisions have been pretty awful this year. From bringing in Castillo and changing the run block schemes to his own sideline blunders.

  2. Nevermind. We have multiple infamous coin tosses. The Pitt one was the Jerome Bettis heaaa-TAILS call. Bears was the “Take the wind” game.

    Only the Leos could be involved in such

  3. Even if a coach opts to take the wind and wins 50 percent of the games, it probably does not make up for the other 50 percent where the media tears them to shreds. It is never a good idea to not take the first possession because you may never get one

  4. On such things are games won and lost…McCown’s pass to Martellus Bennett probably doesn’t work against the wind.

  5. larrydavid7000 says:
    Nov 19, 2013 9:49 PM
    marty mortowig 2.0 LOL and LMAO. 6-10 at best. Super bowl Chumps.!!!!!!

    0 0

    Did your team win the SB last year? How’s this year going? Oh ok. Shut it.

  6. I don’t think both teams are guaranteed a possession. Isn’t the game over if a team scores a touchdown on the first possession?

  7. The steelers contingent is pretty vocal about their glorious past but say nothing about the present turmoil the team is facing on the field I.e. Losing season and off I.e. Todd Haley, Big Ben begging for big bucks, Tomlin taking away the teams toys, etc. There’s not much difference between the jets and steelers in terms of circus atmosphere and record.

  8. You should have felt the vibe of the game and realized you were in 4 down territory and walked off with a win in regulation. your o is weak all day and they push the ball to 1st and goal with seconds left in a 5 hr game and you played for overtime. World Champs don’t do that.

  9. steelersaregodsteam says:
    Nov 19, 2013 9:56 PM
    Who has more Super Bowls than the Steelers over the last decade?



    None but the Pats and Giants are tied. What’s your point?

  10. Dennis Green, when coach of the Vikings, once took the wind after the opening coin toss. Which then allowed the Bears to receive the kick for both halves. The Vikes did manage to pull that one out. Bit that is truly overthinking the situation. Denny Green.

  11. At least John Harbaugh has half a brain, his dimwit brother without a Super Bowl ring would have taken the wind if the Saints game had gone into overtime……and the game was played in the Superdome.

    What a great use of challenges in the first half by a coach who doesn’t even know the rules of professional football.

  12. Should have gone for it on 4th down when he had it at the 3 yard line at the end of the game. I would prefer those odds to kicking the field goal and sending it into overtime.

    Bengals should have done the same thing the week before after the hail mary. They should have gone for 2 instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game.

  13. I think, in most cases, taking the “wind” after the coin toss would be grounds for instant dismissal but wow, that wasn’t a wind in Chicago, it was close to a hurricane. I don’t think Chicago wins if Harbaugh takes the end of the field with the wind at their back.

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