Bill Simmons on Bill Belichick’s ill-fated decision

In his latest column, Simmons rails on those that defend Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th-and-2 against the Patriots Sunday night. First, he skewers the idea that it was statistically the right move. Then he questions the assumption that the Colts would have scored had the Pats punted. After that, he questions a few other justifications for Belichick’s decision. The whole thing is a good read, but here’s the meat of his conclusion…

Did it feel like the end of an era? Yeah, a little. The truth is, Belichick is 57 years old. I doubt he’s banking those famous 19-hour work days anymore. I doubt he possesses the same hunger that fueled him when he was trying to escape Bill Parcells’ shadow and make a name for himself. Everything is gravy for him at this point. His place in history is secure.

Career security can be damaging in one of two ways: either you stop taking chances, or you feel emboldened and start taking too many of them. Belichick’s recent history shows that he would rather roll the dice than do something conventionally. He made so many trades in the draft this past April that I can’t even remember where we ended up picking. Right before the season, with the Patriots picked by many as the clear Super Bowl favorite, he dealt one of his defensive pillars (Richard Seymour) to Oakland for a future first-round pick. On Sunday night, he went for the jugular in Indianapolis when the situation demanded prudence.

There is a time for statistics and a time for common sense. And on the road, up six, facing a 4th-and-2 on your own 28 yard-line? That’s a time for common sense.

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