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Polian sticks up for ... Belichick?!?

Posted by Albert Breer  March 7, 2010 09:28 AM

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The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is this weekend over at the convention center and Boston's favorite football man, Bill Polian of the Colts, joined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in a panel discussion entitled, “What Geeks Don’t Get: The Limits of Moneyball."

Our own Gary Washburn was there to cover the event, and took note on one of Polian's main talking points -- How Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 back in November in Indianapolis was the right one. No mix-up there ... Yup, it's Polian sticking up for Belichick.

"We were hot offensively in the second half," Polian said. "The Pats had lost [Tully] Banta-Cain. I think they had lost Jarvis Green. They had another one of their rushers gimpy. They were playing with two corners who were not starters because both had been injured. It had been a passing game, so their rushers were worn out having to rush.

"It was fourth-and-2, and if we get the ball back, there’s a pretty strong likelihood based on what we had done up to that point that we were going to have a good chance to win the game. And they had been very successful in the Tom Brady era going for it on fourth down, and their most successful play with Tom Brady was a quarterback sneak."

Polian added, “Was it the right call? In my opinion, it was 100 percent the right call. He knew his team. He knew the tactics involved. He gave the ball to Faulk, which was the second-most-effective guy in short yardage. So it was the right decision from a football standpoint. All of the statistical analysis that’s done over the course of a season means nothing. The situation on the field at the time dictates the call."

So there you have it. With the chance to pile on, Polian pulls off. Who'da thunk it?
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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