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Head Coach Pulls a 'Belichick,' Yale Loses to Harvard

Nov 23, 2009 – 11:00 AM
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Ryan Wilson

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The nerds in the nerdery proved that, statistically, Bill Belichick was right to go for it on 4th and 2 against the Colts last week.

Pretty sure there isn't an egghead on the planet who'd support first-year Yale head coach Tom Williams' decision to call a fake punt from his own 25 on 4th and 22 with just over two minutes to go and leading Harvard 10-7. But he did. It didn't work. And a few plays later Harvard scored to make it 14-10. Game over.

Williams explained the decision after the game:
"We were playing to win the football game and we had done it all day. We set that play up all year and we thought it was worth 22 yards (but) we came up (seven yards) short. The whole idea was to keep our foot on the pedal, not play scared, and if anybody's looking for somebody to blame, blame this guy right here."
Nothing like invoking Herman Edwards' spirit in the name of winning. And as the New Haven Register's Dave Solomon pointed out, the play was successful -- it gained 15 yards -- "Yale didn't merely need a successful play, it needed a miracle play, one that might well be remembered as the greatest gamble in the history of The Game."

Results aside, sometimes it's better to go out guns ablaze than stand by as the outcome is determined for you (In the medical literature, this is referred to as the Wade Phillips Syndrome).

By all accounts Williams is a rising star and I'm guessing he learns from the experience. Plus, it could be worse: not converting a game-deciding 4th and 22 is one thing. Getting an entire stadium of Harvard supporters to willingly hoist "We Suck" signs is something completely different. The prank, perpetrated by Yale students posing as the "Harvard Pep Squad" is from 2004, but it's still hilarious.



Nerds!
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