FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick made a heady, gutsy call to take the wind rather than the ball after winning the coin toss to open overtime in Sunday night's 34-31 win over the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium.
The decision was so outside what might generally considered the norm in less gusty conditions that the coach had to explain what he wanted to his team captains more than once before sending them out for the toss.
"To tell you the truth, the whole situation was a little bit confusing," Belichick admitted Monday, "because when I told the captains that, there was a little bit of a question of, 'Are you talking about deferring?' I was like, 'No, we're not deferring, we're taking the wind, period.' 'Well, is that if they take the ball?' 'No, it's not if they take the ball.' We actually, with the captains, had a little bit of a conversation that they had right what I wanted to do, because it was a little bit of an, obviously, unusual type of situation. They were doing a good job. They just wanted to make sure that they had the decision that we felt was best and we got it. It was not one of the normal ones."
Defensive end Rob Ninkovich, a defensive co-captain, said there was even a hesitation when the players were on the field for the coin toss, having to remember to adhere to Belichick's plan rather than natural reaction in that situation.
"At first, Bill came up to us and explained what we wanted to do there and then when you win the toss, I think it's natural instinct to look around and say, 'Hey, we won the toss, do we want to take the ball?' Then we were kind of looking at each other like, 'We want to kick the ball, right?' We were trying to all talk to tell each other, 'Yeah, that's what Bill said. Let's kick so they have to play into the wind.' That's what it was, that was it. At first we were like, 'Do we want it?' We just went with what Bill told us to do: that was to kick and have them go into the wind."