Monday, November 16, 2009

Key to Long-Standing Patriots' Success: Stand Behind the Coach and his Decisions

”Coach has a lot of confidence we can make a yard and a half to win the game. They showed us the drive before they can go pretty fast and score. Coach was being aggressive and I love that about him. As a coach, you’re not thinking let’s punt it to them and see if they can do it again. He’s thinking, ‘We have 450 yards of offense.’ ”

-Tom Brady, New England Patriots' quarterback, defending head coach Bill Belichick's decision to go for it in fourth down deep in Patriot territory late in the game. The decision backfired, and the Patriots' opponent, the Indianapolis Colts, got the ball and scored to win 35-34.

"It was a really bad coaching decision by coach Belichick. I have all the respect in the world for him, but he has to punt the ball. The message that you are sending in the locker room is: I have no confidence in my young guys on my defense.

"This is the worst coaching decision I've ever seen Bill Belichick make."

--Rodney Harrison, sportscaster and former New England Patriot said on NBC's postgame show.

Still, in the Patriots locker room, there was no questioning the call.

”He’s the head coach,” Faulk said. “No matter what, to us that’s the right call. We are the employees.”

If the Patriots would have made the first down, they probably would have been able to run out the clock and win the game. If the play had worked, Belicheck would have been labeled a rogue genius.

Belicheck should have been applauded for his moxie and innovative, despite the play not working. This type of decision-making and play calling has led to four Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl wins.

"We thought we could win the game on that play," Belichick said. "That was a yard I was confident we could get."

It is particularly impressive that the Patriots stuck together after the game and did not question the decision, despite the outcome. This is rarely seen in the NFL today. It is not typical in corporate America either.

How many organizations can say they do not second-guess their boss and their organization after a failure or defeat?

This type of team solidarity is difficult to find.

Should you reconsider your reactions to mistakes?

Note: The Colts are now 9-0 and have the inside track toward home-field advantage through the A.F.C. playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals, at 7-2 and with an easy schedule remaining, seem headed for a first-round bye. The Patriots are now 6-3, and though they still have a firm grip on the A.F.C. East, their chances of a first-round bye are sinking.

Bottom line: There are seven games left in the regular season. There is alot of football left to play and many more decisions to make and plays to call.

Let's see which teams stick together and which implode.

Excerpts from the New York Times and (November 16, 2009).

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