The New England Patriots and New York Jets went to overtime in a 20-20 game on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, and the Patriots won the coin toss with the chance to go score a touchdown to win the game. Only the Patriots didn’t choose to do that.
New England wide receiver Matthew Slater told the referee, “We want to kick, that way.”
Here is the transcript of the coin toss at MetLife. Seems like Slater just made a mistake. Game-changer. pic.twitter.com/ajuyE0u2Ml
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) December 27, 2015
As CBS play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle put it, “Utterly bizarre”.
The Jets — as you knew would happen — marched right down the field to score a touchdown and win the game after receiving the kickoff.
— NFL (@NFL) December 27, 2015
The Jets are yelling around the locker room making fun of the Patriots for kicking to start OT.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) December 27, 2015
So naturally everyone is wondering what the heck Slater was thinking. But this is where it gets even more bizarre- Slater claims he did as told by Bill Belichick and the New England coaching staff.
Slater says Belichick told them to kick off. Only confusion was whether they got to choose direction. — Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 27, 2015
Slater says he checked a few times with Belichick to make sure he wanted to kick if they won the toss. “There’s not much to it.” — Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 27, 2015
Slater on Belichick wanting to kick off: “I checked three of four times. I think he was looking at me like, ‘Are you concussed?'” — Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 27, 2015
And Belichick claims the Patriots indeed wanted to kick off.
For the record, there’s no controversy. Bill Belichick says he wanted to kick off. “I thought it was the best thing to do.”
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 27, 2015
Slater sure seemed confused and like he wanted a redo when the referee explained the situation, so perhaps Belichick is just covering up (when would the Patriots ever do that?!) for the longtime Patriots special teams ace.
Whatever the case, a crazy, and bad decision by New England (or simply by Slater). The Jets had already scored 20 points in the game, so it’s not like the Patriots would want to count on the defense to get a stop. And when you have Tom Brady, go win the game. There was also no weather factor that could’ve impacted the decision.
And this was all in a very important game. The Patriots (12-2) blew a chance to lock up the AFC’s No. 1 seed and homefield advantage, while the Jets (10-5) are now in position to make the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 6 seed.
Needless to say, the Jets are pleased with the decision made by the Patriots.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 27, 2015