The Patriots’ captains might have thought coach Bill Belichick was losing it when he decided to take the wind instead of the ball in overtime Sunday night.
But it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, rather one made nearly 28 years ago that prompted Belichick to give Peyton Manning the ball
Belichick referred back to a decision then-Giants coach Bill Parcells made in the blustery 1986 NFC Championship Game, when helped them win a 17-0 decision over the Redskins, which led to a Super Bowl title.
“Coach Parcells against the Redskins took the wind to start the game and we went ahead 17-0, and that was the final score of the game,” Belichick recalled Monday, via Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal. “I really think that that decision was a big decision in that game and a big decision ultimately in that team’s championship.
“I learned a lot from that. I’m not saying that that’s always the right decision. Clearly each situation is different, but there’s a place for it. I think there’s a time when it’s right. I just thought that last night was the right time for us. But that decision by Bill in that game, it just was a good lesson for me that it’s such a huge factor in the game, if the conditions are what they are, it can be such a big factor in the game that it’s worth making that decision if you feel it’s that significant.
“He did it in — there are not many games bigger than an NFC Championship game — he did it in that game and I think that was probably the difference in the game.”
Belichick said he felt like there was at least a 20-yard difference in field goal range from the open end of the stadium to the other, and that difference was enough to convince him that giving Manning the ball — and a chance to win the game with a touchdown — was a risk worth taking.