The Hail Mary, Belichick vs Sparano, Right vs Wrong

18 Oct

Firstly, great win for the Dolphins today. Wow. Nice to have something go our way on special teams this week, and many thanks to the Packers for lining up directly over our center. We needed a break, especially after we’d been robbed a bit earlier on Ronnie’s 4th down run (the guys up in the booth may be just as senile as the guys on the field).

It was interesting, to us anyway, that Bill Belichick and Tony Sparano both faced almost identical situations at the end of regulation today. Just a few seconds left on the clock, both at about midfield.

As we all know, Tony chose to take a knee rather than throwing a deep ball. Meanwhile Bill “The Mad Videographer” Belichick had Brady launch one into the end zone. Brady was intercepted as a pile of Patsies and Ravens fell in a heap. End of regulation.

In The Bottlenose’s opinion, Tony was wrong. He explained after the game that more bad things can happen from a Hail Mary than good. As far as we can tell his belief is based on absolutely nothing concrete. Perhaps after the debacle two weeks ago Tony assumed that the Football Gods would see to it that the ball was batted around in the end zone and returned 103 yards by Charles Woodson? Perhaps Tony assumed that, despite not recording a sack all afternoon, Green Bay’s three man rush would somehow overpower our blockers, force a fumble, and then return it 50 yards for the game winning score with no time on the clock?

Is the Hail Mary a low percentage play? Absolutely. It’s a shot in the dark. But if the Hail Mary is a low percentage play, a defensive touchdown on a Hail Mary is as likely as my Grandma coming down from heaven and cooking me instant grits tomorrow morning.

Not to mention pass interference is the most generous penalty in the history of American football. An early hit on Brandon Marshall, or a yank on Brian Hartline’s jersey and we line up for the game winning field goal with triple zeros on the clock.

The Bottlenose is concerned that Sparano, as a general rule, plays not to lose. This didn’t cost us today, but that doesn’t mean it won’t down the line. We don’t like Bill Belichick. If we saw him we’d probably punch him right in the lips. But we’ll say this about him: Bill plays to win.

The downside was virtually non-existent. We’re playing at Lambeau. It was an opportunity to go for the jugular, and we didn’t take it. Come to think of it, how often does Tony go for that crucial artery? How often does he try to deal that gutsy death blow?

Can you imagine Tony calling for that onside kick that may have very well brought the Saints their first Lombardi? If the end of the 4th quarter today was any indication, that type of moxie may not be in his skill set.

We won. We’re happy about that. We’re just sayin’.

GO DOLPHINS. And feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose


13 Responses to “The Hail Mary, Belichick vs Sparano, Right vs Wrong”

  1. Igor October 18, 2010 at 2:57 am #

    I totally disagree.
    Marshall was banged up on the play and we would’t have had him in on the Hail Mary. Henne has already thrown a couple pick 6’s this year and something like that, or the sack/fumble would have done to us what New Englands runback did to us last week.
    To go into half tied on the road getting the ball back was the right move.

    • danewen October 18, 2010 at 7:08 am #

      Igor, it wasn’t half. It was the end of regulation, with an overtime game looming which is usually won by whichever team happens to win a random coin toss.

      Marshall or not, you send four or five guys to the corner or the end zone and toss one up. If you’re scared of a sack/fumble, leave six O-linemen to block the three D-linemen.

      He’s lucky this time that we still came out on top. If we had lost that game without even trying to win it at the end of regulation, his seat would be starting to get hotter than Georgia asphalt.

      • Mark October 18, 2010 at 9:43 am #

        Exactly. I’m not sure what risk he’s worried about. Has anyone EVER scored a defensive TD on a hail mary attempt? How bout if Miami was on the 10 … would he have tried to score then … because the odds of returning a pick-6 on an endzone interception from the 10 is MUCH greater then from the 50, when you have all your lineman and QB back to tackle the interceptor, and you have 5 receivers to try to track the guy down too. Sometimes you just need to play to win!

      • danewen October 18, 2010 at 9:56 am #

        Not to mention if you’re a defender back on a hail mary, rule #1 is to knock it down. Rule #2, if you intercept it, get down and stay down, so you don’t get “Robert Meachemed”.

        I wonder if this Sparanophobia explains our allergy to throwing bombs in general. I think I was in 10th grade the last time we attempted deep balls with regularity. They loosen up the defenses. Sometimes you get generous interference calls. Sometimes you complete the darned things. If they’re picked off it’s like a punt.

        Way more upside than down.

  2. Mark October 18, 2010 at 2:59 am #

    You are absolutely right – Sparano plays not to lose. He’s also, perhaps, the least intelligent NFL coach in the history of the NFL. I look back to that timeout he called at the end of the first half last year against New Orleans, when they were lined up for a “gift” FG, and he decided to call a timeout and give them a chance to rethink their decision. Perhaps he should watch a freaking football game. He reminds me of Grady Little … makes decisions that even an 8 year old watching the game would second guess. This is NOT the guy to lead the Fish to the promised land … he’s just too plain stupid.

    • danewen October 18, 2010 at 7:17 am #

      It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, with Parcells backing away. The Tuna was the big, shiny thing in this Trifecta.

      Tony needs to keep winning. The second half of the schedule looks nice, but we’ve got two monsters in our division. Oh, and I think both Bill and Rex are “go for the jugular” guys.

  3. Nando October 18, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    I agree. Not only that but the plays are slow to come in and we end up waiting a lot of time outs. And what was that prevent defensive when the Packers had the ball on the one yard line? I only counted two defensive linemen. Are you kidding me???

    • danewen October 18, 2010 at 7:19 am #

      It was absurd. Definitely a low moment for Mike Nolan, who’s been stellar for the most part. Everyone and their Mamas knew they were just stretching us out for the QB keeper. I had Jim Kelly flashbacks at that moment. The Bills killed us multiple times with that one over the years.

  4. Shaggy October 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    Lose the photo, but I am with you. No harm with a smart hail mary

  5. phishphace October 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

    This was a really dumb observation. Hail Mary’s are only reasonable if you’re behind, NOT if you’re tied. Once the QB takes the ball and does anything, from dropping back to pass to handing off, there is a real likelihood for fatal mistakes. Is it a high likelihood – no, but why risk it when you’re not behind. This is an amateurs observation about an amateur play. Thank God Tony Sparano is a professional.

    • danewen October 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

      Please inform Bill Belichick that he is no Tony Sparano. And please also tell the dozens of other NFL head coaches who would have tried to win the game right then and there instead of playing for overtime.

    • InFINcible October 19, 2010 at 7:39 am #

      That’s gotta be the stupidest post I’ve ever read. You must have also loved Dave Wannstedt’s run 3 times and punt philosophy.

      Go FINS!

      • InFINcible October 19, 2010 at 8:05 am #

        Just to clarify that was @phishphace…want to make sure the amateur understood my observation.

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