Warning: Rant My buddy and I were talking about Belichick's 4th and 2 call last night and concluded that no other coach would have made that call, it was probably the right call (but it ultimately failed), and that NFL coaches are conservative the point of nausea. Most of all, no one wants to make that call because the media will ultimately bleed them to death for going "unconventional." You may recall Peter King act like a 13-year old girl with a broken nail when he called it "arrogant" and felt like Belichick believed he was "smarter" than the average football fan. Really, Peter? Naaahhhh... most of us on this board would have built the New England dynasty. Just as we finished the conversation we turn our attention to some MNF. The Texans are down by three points with one timeout left and under 30 seconds on the clock. They are moving the ball at will. They complete a pass over the middle with 17 seconds left. They run to the line to stop the lock with 8 seconds left. (Already a stupid decision. With 17 seconds left, you might get a sideline-out pattern, and have time for another passing play.) 8 seconds left, 31 yard-line. One timeout. Matt Schaub. Andre Johnson. Steve Slaton. I'm ready for some prime time. Crowd hushes. Ball snapped. Schaub takes the ball and falls down at the middle of the field like a beached whale, losing a yard, so apparently his kicker will have a "straight-on" field goal. Where do I begin? If I were a Texans fan, I would be about 8000 times more irate than even the staunchest Belichick critic. Kubiak didn't want to take the 1% chance of somehow being in worse position after the play, due to fear of criticism, so he put on a summer dress and put the game on the foot of Kris Brown. Kris Brown missed a shorter field goal to tie the Colts two weeks ago. Yikes. If you want a prime example of a coach who misplayed the percentages, look no further. Unlike with Belichick, there is no rational argument that this wasn't an incompetent and wussball decision, but one that will escape heavy criticism since it's conventional wisdom. What are the chances of the ball getting intercepted, or a play taking more than 8 seconds? 5% at most? What are the odds of kicking a 49 yard field goal, versus a 40-45 yard field goal? That stats say they are much, much, much greater than 5%. At the very worst, an incomplete pass puts you in the same position. Why not AT LEAST give the ball to a running back to take it up the middle, getting those very critical 4 yards? Nope. Kubiak instead had his quarterback lose a yard, playing completely against reason, for the grand prize of kicking the ball from the middle of the hashmark. This isn't a college field, and these aren't college kickers. The irony was that the ball went left, and might have gone in had the spot been at the right hashmark, as it was placed originally. I don't think there are statistics about where the ball is on a hashmark, but I highly doubt the percentages increase much. This is something you do on a 20-yard field goal, trying to run the clock down to 0:01 when the only play left is to position the ball since gaining more yards don't help you. The jury of the media and public football world grills Belichick and ignores the much worse sin by Kubiak. Belichick's call was unconventional, but arguable, Kubiak's call was conventional, but wrong. The situation reminds me of a similar game in January 2005 when Herm Edwards made the worst series of calls I have ever seen. The Jets went to Heinz field to take on the 15-1 Steelers, a David vs. Goliath story. In the 4th quarter, the score tied 17-17, Doug Brien missed a 47-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining, as it hit the post. Yet, at Heniz Field, THE hardest place to kick in the NFL, especially on those windy nights, that distance would have set a record. The Jets got the ball back on a Roethlisberger interception and drove down the field, apparently learning from their first mistake and determined to drive deep in Steeler territory. With Chad Pennington leading the way, the Jets marched down to the Steelers' 30 yard line and picked apart the secondary, still with nearly a minute left. But Herm Edwards was again too smart to win the game. Calling conservative run plays into the middle of a stifling Pittsburgh defense, he succeeded in killing his offense, awakening a raucous crowd, icing his own kicker who was already on suicide watch, and setting up a "gimme" 43-yard field goal, which statistically is made less than 50% of the time at Heinz. I'm still convinced that this was the weakest set of calls I've seen. After the game, Herm threw Brien under the bus by saying "the kicker needs to make that kick." Brien was never the same. Statistically, the chances of making that first kick was around 25%, and the second kick around 45%. Both missed by inches. In closing, be glad we have a guy who has a pair. It doesn't always work out, but at least you went down fighting.