Goal Line Nickel Package

You’re gonna win and lose games in practice. I mean there is no such thing as being a game day player – Ernie Adams (New England Patriots Director of Football Research)

I’m an unashamed fan of American Football and Bill Belichick. This year’s Superbowl finished spectacularly with Seattle 4 points behind and 1 yard from a touch down with 26 seconds to go. Seattle runs a pass play and the improbable happens when undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepts the pass to win New England the game.

What is more surprising is that the play was far from a fluke and New England’s attention to detail in preparation saw them practice the situation several times in the week leading up to the game. Do Your Job, the documentary about the 2014 NFL season from the perspective of the New England coaches and executives documents the play and the preparation leading up to it. Watch from the 3:30 mark.

Some great quotes:

New England Patriots Linebackers Coach Patrick Graham

So much work went into that. I mean I Can’t tell you how many guys got that same route. (linebacker) Jamie (Collins) had it twice in practice. (safety Patrick) Chung had it about two times in practice. Malcolm (Butler) had it twice. We went through it with everybody

New England Patriots Director of Football Research:

I wish I could say that everything we did worked out as well as that. Obviously it doesn’t, but we do try to make sure we’re ready for anything that’s gonna come up on a Sunday.

That the team practiced an obscure situation at least 6 times in the week leading up to game speaks volumes about the depth of preparation.

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