As a fan of the NFL I love a good game, and over the past decade some of the best games have been between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. Their meeting this season lived up to the hype.
This year the play that will be remembered most is not the game winning pass, but the decision two minutes and eight seconds earlier by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to go for it on 4th & 2 deep in his own end of the field. If ytey make the first down they can run out the clock and win the game, if they don’t convert they give Payton Manning a short field and enough time on the clock for a game winning drive.
The game at this point could have gone either way. Bill Belichick had Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Lawrence Maronnie, some of the best offensive players in Pro Football. They had converted 59% of 4th down attempts into 1st down. The New England defensive was tired and Payton Manning in the 4th quarter had effortlessly driven the ball 79 yards down the field for touchdowns…TWICE, and both those drives took less time than was still on the clock. Considering the facts, if the Patriots had made a 1st down and run out the clock the sports casters, writers and annalist all over the country would have said “…the call was a no brainer”, “…that is why he has three Super Bowl rings” and “Belichick is a genius.”
But New England was stoped inches short of making the 1st down. Manning and the Colts easily moved the ball 30 yards for the game winning score, and the pundits came out of the woodwork. One of his Belichick's former players said it was “the worst coaching decision I've ever seen Bill Belichick make.” Others called it “"inexplicably arrogant" and "football suicide." On Sports Center Trent Dilfer called the decision "ludicrous" and "absolutely ridiculous." And Jim Litke of the AP saw it as "a reckless gamble." In one online poll over 50% of the responders called it “The dumbest decision I have ever seen.”
See for yourself Coach Belichick defend his decision and hear some of the analyst of the criticts.
In life and in ministry it is no different. Every risk taken has two possible outcomes… success or failure (however I don’t look at it as failure, instead I like to say we “learned something valuable while not quite reaching the preset goals”). When you succeed people will jump on the bandwagon and praise you. When you fail the same people will just as quickly toss you off the wagon and slam you for your “obvious” dumb decisions. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, to try something no one else has tried, to go for it when no one else will. Don’t worry about the pundits, they will always be there, mostly on the sidelines evaluating decisions that they will never have the courage to put themselves in a position to make.
The difference between being either a genius or idiot is success. When all said and done I would much rather be called an idiot who failed than be a pundit who never did anything but criticize others who were willing to go for it on 4th and 2 deep in their own territory.
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