The New England Patriots beat the Denver Broncos 34-31 in overtime on Sunday night after a gutsy decision by Bill Belichick paid off.
The Patriots won the coin toss in overtime.
The team that wins the coin toss can either kick or receive. If they kick, they get to pick which direction they go in. That almost never happens though, since it’s almost always an advantage to have the ball first in overtime.
But with a 20+ mile per hour wind making field goals all but impossible, Belichick chose to let Denver have the ball first and made them play into the wind.
It made sense. Under the new overtime rules, you can only lose on the first possession if the opposing team scores a touchdown. In addition, it’s a massive disadvantage to kick into a strong wind as opposed to kicking with it.
So as long as the Patriots didn’t let up a TD on that first possession, the logic goes, the wind direction would give them a meaningful edge.
Still, if Denver had scored a touchdown on the first possession of OT Belichick would have absolutely torn apart.
The Patriots won after a punt on their second possession of overtime deflected off Denver player Tony Carter and landed in the arms of New England’s Nate Ebner deep in Broncos territory. They kicked a field goal a few plays later.
In a game that was billed as a battle between two of the league’s best QBs, Belichick stole the show in the end.
Here he is choosing the wind. Brilliant:
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