The Longest Two Yards

(Photo from Yahoo! Sports)

It’s been a few days. We’ve all calmed down a little. Nothing in my fancy new apartment is in danger of my destructive wrath anymore so…maybe we can talk about it a little. Maybe?

Here’s the thing: I’m not going to excoriate Bill Belichick. I will not second-guess or verbally flay or make fun of his hoodie. (Besides, he was wearing the fancy prime time navy blue sweatshirt on Sunday night). And I don’t think it’s because I’m an unapologetic Belichick sycophant. I think it’s because a true understanding of football and the strategy involved dictates that sometimes, you play the numbers. And sometimes, in so doing, you lose. There is no hard and fast rule about “If you do A, then B will happen,” in football. Unless it’s “if you let the Browns play professional football, they will find a way to embarrass themselves” but that’s another issue for another day. My point is, I kind of, sort of appreciate the gusty call. Because if you’ve ever watched a football game with me, you know the number of times I implore a team to “Go for it!” on fourth down is roughly equivalent to the number of mentions of just what, exactly, Brett Favre is up to these days. Meaning, I say it a lot. Especially in short yardage situations. I hate punting. Punting bores me. Punting feels like defeat.

And yes, I realize that not getting the fourth down resulted in actual defeat but not, you know, immediately. I respect a coach essentially telling his team “I believe you can get two yards and if you can’t, I believe the defense can stop them.” It didn’t work out and believe me, I am not happy about that. Instead of going straight to bed, I worked out my frustration by washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen (a rather industrious and productive use of angry energy, I’ll grant you), but still.

There are questions regarding the spot and the fact that the Patriots were out of timeouts and so couldn’t challenge it and I have my own feelings on that which I’ll keep silent because the last thing I want is the internet raining down all it’s “Coltz 4 EVA” nauseating bullshit on me but suffice it to say, I remain dubious.

That said, I don’t suppose any of us should be surprised by Belichick’s decision nor his subsequent refusal to apologize. The very reason we like the guy so much in New England is exactly the reason the rest of the league hates him. He’s kind of an asshole. He’s pretty much an unapologetic, football-scheming robot. He takes in information and yardage and statistics and spits out some play-calling decisions, never once letting emotion or personal feelings come into the process. So it shouldn’t surprise any of us that when he made the decision to go for it on Sunday night, he did so based purely on the numbers. He was concerned with two yards and the statistical probability of Kevin Faulk gaining those two yards. He was not concerned with the emotional well-being of the New England fans or the fact that my new neighbors may have called the police when they heard screaming coming from Apt. E. And he certainly wasn’t concerned with buying me a new coffee table. After all, he wasn’t the one who nearly destroyed it.

That up there, by the way, was the rational side of my brain attempting to talk myself calmly through this process and find a way to accept a loss in a game we absolutely should have won. The other side of my brain? The part responsible for nearly going on a destructive rampage from which no remote stayed unhurled and no couch cushion remained untorn? That side of my brain is begging, imploring even the rest of the league to find a way to beat Peyton Manning. Because I will not be able to take it if the freakin’ Colts go undefeated. I absolutely will not. Because rational thoughts and “it’s just football” realizations aside, I am probably not a big enough person to accept that. Hey, we all have flaws.

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