Dungy, Harrison critical of gamble
Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy and former New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison, both now NFL analysts for NBC, were critical during the network's postgame show Sunday of the failed fourth-down gamble by Patriots Coach Bill Belichick.
"You have to punt the ball in that situation," Dungy said, according to a written transcript provided by NBC. "As much as you may respect Peyton Manning and his ability, as much as you may doubt your defense, you have to play the percentages and punt the ball."
Said Harrison: "It was a really bad coaching decision by Coach Belichick. I have all the respect in the world for him but he has to punt the ball. The message that you send in the locker room is, 'I have no confidence in my young guys on my defense.' You have to punt the ball. You have to give yourself a chance. As great as Peyton Manning is, you have to force him. He threw two interceptions. You have to force him to drive 65, 70 yards to beat you."
Harrison predicted that Belichick will end up accepting blame for the 35-34 loss.
"I think he's probably going to end up blaming himself," Harrison said, according to the NBC transcript. "We preached in the pregame show about 60 minutes of playing football. But you have to coach 60 minutes. You have to trust and believe in your players and you have to make the right decisions. You cannot give Peyton Manning the opportunity on the 30-yard line to score a touchdown. I've been around Bill Belichick a long time. He's made a lot of great coaching decisions but this is the worst coaching decision that I've ever seen Bill Belichick make."
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