More than 12 years ago, former Packers coach Mike Holmgren chose in the final minutes of the Super Bowl to allow the Broncos to score a touchdown, with the goal of giving quarterback Brett Favre enough time to drive down the field and force overtime with a game-tying touchdown. It didn’t work.
Last night, current Packers coach Mike McCarthy chose in the final minutes of the game not to allow the Bears to score a touchdown, instead permitting them to chew up the remaining time on the clock and kick a decisive field goal with only enough time left on the clock to permit a Keystone Cops re-enactment of the Stanford band play.
After the game, McCarthy defended his decision with some bizarre logic.
“I did not consider letting them score at the end,” McCarthy said, per ESPNChicago.com. “I felt they [would miss] a field goal in the end.”
Um, Mike? It was a 19-yard field goal, the same distance as an extra point. Setting aside the countless number of extra points that successfully were converted last year (Robbie Gould of the Bears was 33 for 33), not a single field foal of shorter than 20 yards was missed by anyone in the league.
Most coaches have a chart that spells out when and where a two-point conversion should be attempted after a touchdown. So why not predetermine the circumstances when a team will be allowed to score a touchdown and in turn prevented from milking the clock down to the point where there’s not enough time to try to match a 19-yard field goal?
Then again, maybe advance thought isn’t needed. Maybe every coach should realize that the chances of missing a 19-yard field goal are far slimmer than the chances of driving down the field (especially with a potent passing offense) and scoring a touchdown that would have forced overtime.
If, of course, the Packers also had been able to convert the 19-yard field goal known as an extra point.