After the Patriots won the overtime coin toss on Sunday night, Bill Belichick took the unusual step of taking the wind, instead of receiving the opening kickoff. You could hear Monday morning’s hot sports takes coming: If the Patriots won, it would be, “Belichick is a genius! He knew to take the wind in overtime!” If the Patriots lost, it would be, “Belichick is an idiot! Everyone knows you always take the ball in overtime!”
As it turned out, the Patriots won. And as Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski pointed out afterward, that made it the right call.
“Great decision,” Gronkowski told WEEI. “He is our coach [and] we’re behind him with everything, especially Coach Belichick. Whatever he has, we’re behind him. So it was a great call because we won.”
Logan Mankins said afterward that he and the Patriots’ other three captains were shocked when Belichick instructed them to take the wind if they won the coin toss.
“We all looked at each other like he was crazy — then we all asked again and again and again,” Mankins told Comcast SportsNet’s Postgame Live. “And we just wanted to make sure we were doing exactly what he wanted.”
As for Belichick, he said he simply thought he’d rather have the wind at his back in overtime.
“The wind, it was a strong wind,” Belichick said. “We just had to keep the out of the end zone, obviously. I just felt like the wind would be an advantage if we could keep them out of the end zone on that first drive. We were able to do that. The wind was significant in the game, it was definitely significant.”
And Belichick’s call was definitely the right one. Especially considering that Belichick — unlike the rest of us talking about it on Monday morning — doesn’t have the benefit of hindsight.