Belichick leaned back on Parcells lesson about wind

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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.

24 responses to “Belichick leaned back on Parcells lesson about wind

  1. How times have changed. One minute you’re going for it on 4th down from your own 20 against manning to, gulp, kicking to him in OT with a chance to lose. For the record, I agreed with both decisions. It’s what makes BB one of the top 2-3 coaches of all time.

  2. Compare and contrast Belichick’s decision Sunday night with what he did several years ago when he chose to go for it on fourth and two in his own end instead of punting it to Manning and the Colts in the dome late in the game with his defense gassed and hurt. It didn’t work back then but it was similar situational awareness and probability analysis. Great coach.

  3. .

    Belichick has a coaching advantage due to the fact that neither ownership nor fans will question any of his unorthodox decisions.

    He’s earned this privilege because for over a decade, most of these “against the book” maneuvers have been correct.


  4. I’m sure all long time fans remember that game. Conditions were similar to the weather Sunday night. However, what will always stick with me was the memory of all the torn paper, confetti and what-not swirling in the air after they’d won. Awesome.

  5. @ tigerlilac,
    I’ll go to my grave knowing they made that 4th & 2. I didn’t believe it until other Pats fans showed me the light (and the play several more times).

    Fassel was on NFLAM this morning and he said he too would have made the same decision to kick to PM, even 5 years ago pre surgery if those weather conditions were the same. It’s funny that he was the only other former HC I heard who agreed. Mooch and Billick both said no way.

  6. The one thing I won’t forget about Belichick going for it on 4th and two from his own 20 against Manning and the Colts in the dome was Dungy, after the game, telling everyone that would listen that you “have to punt” in that situation. Of course, no you don’t have to punt in that situation and Belichick didn’t, and he made no excuses afterward despite the loss and all the bull from the talking heads.

  7. That was an epic game and Belichick is a great Coach. Even without the fortune of Brady he still would be one of the better ones, but remember, EVERYONE is a Genius in hindsight when it works out in your favor.

  8. I’ll never forget that 1986 game. Schroeder fainting in front of the bench, trash flying around Giants Stadium. That surreal dusk sky. Giants were the best team in the NFL that year, and Bill’s defense was the best in the league. He’s the only reason I don’t outright hate the Patriots.

  9. “Dungy, after the game, telling everyone that would listen that you “have to punt” in that situation.”

    That’s why Dungy was up in a booth, and Belichick was and is still right on the sideline of one of the best teams in the NFL.

  10. However, after listening to Patriots fans beating their chest on WFAN earlier about their defense, I need to remind them that Bill was playing for a tie. You won due to a flimsy play on special teams, not because of some “genius” move to take the wind. Dungy was correct, Belichick was right, Welker was wrong. Don’t get it twisted.

  11. I am a huge Peyton Manning fan but I can’t make excuses for his big game failures any longer. Enough is enough and the facts now are just too overwhelming. The voice in the back of my head has been telling me this for year s but instead I would just follow the Herd and ESPN in defending him. Greatness isn’t just playing great when conditions are ideal and easy. It’s got me thinking that I may have been duped by the media about his All-Time Greatness all along. He’s great but you can’t be All-Time Great with these games and playoff failures. How do you get OWNED by the guy they so often compare you to? Unbelievable. BTW, for all of you that use the excuse that he plays against Belichick here’s something to consider. Drew Brees averages 32 PPG has 10 TDs to 1 INT and passer rating in the 120s against Belichick. It’s time to stop making excuses and call it like we see it and what the facts say it is. He’s a soft, dome pampered QB with a fire no bigger than a match stick that wilts like a flower in the cold and crumbles like a cookie under pressure

  12. 10 in Foxboro. 4 in Indy. None in Denver. Just answering johninthewest’s question.

    That being said Brady>Manning.

  13. realfootballfan says: Nov 26, 2013 11:35 AM

    Still remember watching that playoff game with my Dad.

    Same. It is forever branded in my mind as one of the most dominant shows of defense in a playoff game that I have witnessed in my 30 years of watching NFL and college football).

  14. dapollock69 says: Nov 26, 2013 8:49 AM

    I’m sure all long time fans remember that game. Conditions were similar to the weather Sunday night. However, what will always stick with me was the memory of all the torn paper, confetti and what-not swirling in the air after they’d won. Awesome.

    Jim Burt running into the stands and Madden and Summerall just painting the accurate portrait. You couldn’t even get a scalped ticket to the game at Giants Stadium. Bill was just all world as a defensive coordinator.

  15. Brady and BB’s system is the formula for long term success in this league, the only other combo in their galaxy is Peyton and Brees oddly enough both from the Parcells tree.

    Mental toughness and just plain doing your job is what it all comes down to. How both teams Sunday night handled adversity spoke for itself in the argument of NFL Supremacy. BB seemed unphased by his team falling apart in danger of dropping 2 in a row on the biggest stages of the regular season and facing a certain 3 or 4 seed in the playoffs. While the Broncos and Manning were more than complacent to let the Pats hand them a win rather than take it themselves and make a statement.

    I think Tedy said it best a few weeks ago when he questioned the Broncos killer instinct when they were looking like the greatest team ever assembled.

    I know I will get some flack for going out on a limb and saying this but the Broncos are a mirror of Peyton built to dominate the warm early season, and have a perfect slightly above run of the mill coach in Fox that is intent on taking a back seat to Manning. Belichick’s unquestioned rule over the team and superstar QB is why they make it work. One Voice

  16. dodgerlakerfan1969

    I agree with your statement. I’m a Peyton fan also, and yes facts do speak for themselves. Here’s a fact though…Peyton Manning has a horrible record when Vegas favors or predicts his teams to win in highly televised games and playoffs. I’m not saying its a conspiracy, but its glaring and it does seem like a direct line to something unethical. Like they use Peyton for bet bait…It would seem bettors like Manning and rarely don’t bet against, but when the media sets him up for a big game, he fails in a weird and mysterious way.

    It makes you think about this…Why is he favored anyway, since he blows so many big games…Vegas should not favor him at all..Right?

  17. I have read numerous article about Vegas and Peyton and how he pulls the public bets. This is true but it still doesn’t make up for his poor performances in big games. The Patriots are also considered a public team which gets wagers based on their invincible perception. Either way Peyton comes up short. He continues to have his worst performances of the year in the playoffs and in the biggest regular season games. Those are the facts. Feel free to look them up.

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