Monday, January 14, 2013

When "Taking a Knee" Can Cost You A Football Game

One thing that many NFL coaches do that annoys me is taking a knee in a close game before the end of a half, and sometimes, it can cost you a football game. Perfect example this weekend in the playoffs, Baltimore ties up the game against Denver, and the Broncos get the ball back at their 20 yard line with 30 seconds left in regulation time. They have future Hall of Fame Quarterback Peyton Manning, who only needs to complete one or two passes to get into field goal range for a chance to win the game. Matt Praeter can hit from 60 yards in the thin Denver air. It's not guaranteed, but it's possible.

Do they try to win the game? No, the coach decides that his HoF QB should take a knee and take it to overtime, when there is no guarantee they'll win the coin toss or even get the ball back. Even with the new NFL overtime rules, remember last year when Denver won a playoff game against the Steelers with a Tim Tebow TD pass on the first play of OT. Shit happens. So why on earth is Peyton Manning taking a knee to get the game to overtime? Why not try to win the game? Does the coach not trust his HoF QB? The Broncos go to overtime, where they lose by a field goal, made possible by Manning throwing an interception. Maybe the coach was right not to trust his HoF QB, but they still lost the game.

The very next day, Seattle scored a TD to put them ahead by 1 with about 30 seconds left to play. Matt Ryan gets the ball back, completed two passes, Atlanta kicked a field goal, and won the game. Denver could have tried, and maybe they would have won. Instead, they lost. The wise philosopher Herm Edwards once said "HELLO, YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" True that. More coaches need to think like Herm. Sometimes you can play it too safe, and it costs you a game in the playoffs. Play to win coaches.

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