FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick stood by his decision to kick off at the start of overtime in Sunday's 26-20 loss to the New York Jets, a move that backfired on the team.
"I clearly thought that was our best opportunity, so that's why we did it," Belichick told reporters on his standard day-after-game conference call. "I didn't like the way it worked out, but to me, that was the right decision for our team at that time."
Asked how much the team's strong defensive performance in the fourth quarter was a factor in his decision, Belichick said, "Look, the bottom line is field position -- good field position, you don't have to take it as far; you get a stop, need a field goal [to win]. So it was really more of a field-position consideration, similar to other overtime games we've been in, regardless of which way it went, whether it was the Denver game from a couple years ago or the Denver game from this year, where we had the ball, got stopped, gave it to them in good field position -- they ended up scoring a touchdown, but didn't have very far to go to get into field-goal range."
Belichick said there was a discussion on which side the Patriots wanted to defend, but it was only in the context of what they would decide if the Jets won the toss and took the ball.
"Honestly, it didn't really make any difference, there was almost no wind in the game. That wasn't a big consideration," he said. "What I didn't want to do was defend a goal and have them choose to kick off. So we chose to kick off, and I don't know exactly what happened out there at midfield, but we obviously didn't have the choice of goals. They did. But we talked about that on the sideline, because that could have been our choice had the coin toss gone differently."
Belichick also detailed how he informed referee Clete Blakeman of his decision before the toss.
"For that exact reason; so there wouldn't be any confusion about what was going on," he said. "That's why when I was asked after the game 'Was there confusion on the play?' I don't think there was any confusion. Clete came over to me after the toss and said, 'You got what you wanted here, right?' I said, 'Yeah, exactly.'
"It seems like much ado about nothing for me. I don't really understand what the issue is. What are we talking about here? What should have happened that didn't happen, or whatever? I don't know."