Overtime starts with a coin flip. The Patriots won the coin flip.
Since Foxboro has been pounded with 20-plus mile-an-hour winds all night, Bill Belichick made the shocking decision to have his team defend with the wind instead of taking the ball -- even though a team that gets the ball first in overtime can win the game with a touchdown.
As soon as Belichick made the call, it was obvious he'd either be pilloried or praised for the decision. Giving the ball away gave the Pats a major disadvantage, but if they were able to get a stop on their first drive. It could pay off, since a field goal could end the game, and his team's punts would be much more successful then the Broncos. Kicking the ball into a huge wind is, um, a lot harder than kicking with it.
The Broncos wouldn't score on their first drive, and in overtime, a punt would bounce into Denver gunner Tony Carter:
Did the wind have an effect on the punt? Who knows, but maybe Belichick is a mad scientist.
Everybody's minds immediately went to Marty Mornhinweg, who famously took the wind for the Detroit Lions before the Bears took the ball down the field. It was the most Lions moment of all time to one Lions fan. Of course, the rules are different now -- you can't win with a field goal to start OT -- but that would seem to only make Belichick's decision less wise. Right?
And of course, because the world is weird:
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