Monday, February 06, 2017

He's Got To Be the Sickest Man in America Right Now

Two years ago Dan Quinn got a front row seat to one of the worst coaching decisions in Super Bowl history when Pete Carroll elected for a pass instead of a run on the one-yard.

Here's what I wrote about that move at the time:

"That was a terrible play call, absolutely the worst. How do you not try with Marshawn Lynch there, at least on second down, if it doesn't work call time out and then consider your options? Nothing else needs to be said about it, it was a terrible move, a risk he didn't need to take. There is no argument in favor of it. Even though the Patriots would know it was coming, their odds of stopping it were low."

Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator of that team and now he can sympathize with his old boss, and if Pete Carroll had any class -- which I highly doubt -- he would have called his former employee to console him for making an even worse decision. Or maybe thank him for taking Carroll's name out of the memories of all football fans for making the biggest bonehead move at the worst possible time.

Julio Jones had just made a ridiculous sideline toe-tapping catch that would have and should have gone done as a nail in the Patriots coffin, putting the Falcons at the 22-yard-line with four minutes and 40 seconds to go.

Freeman lost a yard on first down. The clock ticked under 4 minutes, and the entire Falcons coaching staff had a simultaneous brain fart. They called for a pass. All they needed to do was run the ball twice, not fumble and kick a field goal and take a two-score lead with 3 and a half to go. You have to put their chances of being able to do that at close to 90%. Passing adds very little in terms of reward, but opens up to so much risk. Like an interception, or a sack!

Some of the blame of course goes to Ryan who needed to be aware and throw the ball away, but here's why the coaches deserve more blame: the idiots did it again. With a 53-yarder well within Matt Bryant's range, all they needed to do was hand off, get 5 yards, and feel secure. Instead, the passed again, disaster struck again and a holding penalty knocked them out of field goal range.

What happened next was amazing. Tom Brady, perhaps the best quarterback ever, led his team on two consecutive touchdown drives to win his 5th Super Bowl.

I don't dispute for a second that he is an amazing quarterback, capable of great things because of his physical gifts and his mental makeup.

I don't deny that curmudgeonly Bill Belichick is among the best coaches in NFL history.

And I can't argue that Julian Edelman's catch deserves a nickname because it belongs up there with "The Immaculate Reception" and "The Helmet Catch" as the luckiest, most improbable catches in football history.

But it's likely that none of these heroics would have been possible or relevant, if not for a completely and utterly stupid decision by the Falcons coaching staff led by Dan Quinn.

And it's not just once, this is the second time, the Patriots were gifted a chance to win a Super Bowl. They could be 3-4 in the Brady-Belichick era instead of 5-2.

The stupid coaching marred the game for me. While exciting and thrilling, the first overtime game in a Super Bowl, I can't call it a great game, because of the stupidity and ineptitude involved in it.

Greatness needs to have both teams playing great and making plays. Which is why I still favor Super Bowl XLIII, Steelers 27 Cardinals 23.

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