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What they're saying

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  November 16, 2009 02:57 PM

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Bill Belichick's dubious decision to go for it on fourth and 2 from the Colts 28 with 2 minutes 8 seconds remaining last night has inspired some harsh opinions in the media, the vast majority of which condemn the coach's call. Here are a few . . .

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"You have to coach 60 minutes, and you have to trust and believe in your players, and you have to make the right decision. You cannot give Peyton Manning the opportunity on the 30-yard line to drive the ball and score a touchdown. I've been around Bill Belichick a long time, and he's made a lot of great coaching decisions, but this was the worst coaching decision I have ever seen Bill Belichick make." -- Rodney Harrison, during the postgame of NBC's "Football Night in America" telecast

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"All in all, I hated the call. It smacked of I'm-smarter-than-they-are hubris. Let Manning, with the weight of the world on his shoulders and no timeouts under his belt, drive 72 yards in two minutes, with his mistake-prone (on this night) young receivers and the clock working against him. Sure he could do it. But let him earn it. This felt too cheap. It was too cheap. Belichick's too smart to have something so Grady-Littlish on his career resume, but there it is, and it can never be erased. -- Sports Illustrated's Peter King

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“You have to punt the ball in that situation. As much as you might respect Peyton Manning, you have to play the percentages and punt the ball.” -- former Colts coach and "Football Night in America" analyst Tony Dungy

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"There's only one coach in the NFL with one quarterback that would have the guts to do what Bill Belichick did last night, and that's Bill Belichick. I don't agree with it because you're on your own 28-yard line or whatever it was. ... When you do it that deep in your own zone, you really are playing with fire." -- Boomer Esiason, on WEEI's "Dennis and Callahan" show

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"Since 2000 when Belichick has faced the Colts, on fourth down he has gone for it 12 times during the regular season and gotten in eight times. During the postseason he's gone for it four times and gotten it all four times against the Colts. The reason why I don't have a problem with it is that you go into the game with a philosophy, and he plays this game, Colts-Pats, like a playoff game. And he plays this situation out like a playoff game." -- Cris Carter, on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" show

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"It's a gutsy call. I couldn't have done it. . . . I think what happens there in that situation is you really feel your defense can't stand up, and the way Peyton Manning was playing at that point and the Colts were getting hot I think that's what he felt and he felt he had a better chance to make it than not make it. I'm not going to argue with his decision." -- Mike Ditka, on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" show

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"As a former defender on that team, I would've cared less about the result of that fourth-down attempt. The decision to go for it would be enough to make my blood boil for weeks. Bill Belichick sent a message to his defense. He felt that his chances were better to go for it on his own 28-yard line than to punt it away and make Peyton Manning have to drive the majority of the field to win the game." -- Tedy Bruschi, writing for ESPNBoston.com

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"Yes, that really was Belichick who just made -- I can't believe I'm about to type this -- one of the all-time goofiest decisions an NFL coach can make. And this is a coach that has a game plan on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is generally regarded as the smartest man in the history of his profession. Hard as many of us tried, we couldn't figure out exactly what possessed him to go for it and essentially give away a game that his team had played well enough to win. Brain lock? Senior moment? Insanity? Or maybe, just maybe, it was what several people within the Colts' locker room were mumbling with considerable disdain after their team's 35-34 victory: Arrogance." -- NFL.com's Vic Carrucci

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"I like the swagger of a head coach who believes in his personnel. I'll take that swagger of a coach any day." -- Deion Sanders, on the NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Final"

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"This decision was ludicrous. . . . This is the coach who's always talking about making good decisions ... well he needs to be held accountable." -- Trent Dilfer, on ESPN Radio

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"Bill Belichick has lost his mojo -- to Peyton Manning. Belichick's controversial decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 from New England's 28, which facilitated the completion of the Colts' comeback, shouldn't be surprising considering how the rivalry has gone of late. Early in the decade, Belichick was cited as a defensive mastermind for coming up with pressure schemes that consistently frustrated Manning. From the 2001 season through the 2004 AFC playoffs, New England won six straight over Indianapolis. But then the power shifted, and Indianapolis has now won five of six since November 2005. No longer is Manning fazed by Belichick, and the previously fearless coach now shows great respect for Manning, especially since the Colts' Super Bowl breakthrough." -- The Sporting News' Vinny Iyer

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"Fourth-and-jackass. That's our name of a now-infamous play in New England Patriots history. Move over, Tuck Rule. You have company. Each and every week we see bad coaching decisions in the NFL, but never, and I mean never, have I seen one as dumb as the decision Patriots coach Bill Belichick made Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts. His brain was more frozen than Ted Williams'." -- CBS Sports.com's Pete Prisco

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"How could the best football coach in the modern history of the game, Coach Hoodie, The Genius, actually go for it on fourth-and-2 at his own 28-yard line with 2:08 remaining in a game his team was leading 34-28? How did it come to pass that Belichick, a brilliant man, suddenly channeled his inner Barry Switzer, eschewing the obvious punt, arrogantly choosing to go for the first down? Call it hubris. Call it stupidity. Call it Colts 35, Patriots 34, and another utterly remarkable, ridiculous classic in a long line of memorable games." -- Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz


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