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Why Don't the Patriots Quarterback Sneak Tom Brady More on the Goal Line?

One of the turning points of the New England Patriots loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was quarterback Tom Brady's pick six from the goal line. The set of downs broke after reaching the goal line because running back James White was tackled for a four-yard loss.

This begs the question: why not run up to the line and have Tom Brady sneak it?

The Eagles admit after the game that the Patriots typically run the same play as the prior when they rush to the goal line, so why not mix it up with a Brady sneak? In the worst case, at least the offense won't lose four yards.

"That would be great in hindsight, what you suggested," offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. "You know, anytime you run something and it doesn't work out the way you want it to, you'd love an opportunity to change what you did, what you called, or how it was executed or what have you.

"Tommy has always been very successful at doing that, and he did it later in the game for an important score down there also. So it's one of those situations where you always try to call the right thing in the right situation."

But even if the Patriots were able to call the play over, it doesn't sound like McDaniels would call the sneak.

"Relative to Tom and quarterback sneaks, there's nobody who I've seen do it any better," McDaniels explained. "I think it requires courage and toughness and want-to and desire to stick your face in there and get a tough yard when you need it and whether it's short yardage in the middle of the field or down there on the goal line where it gets real thick and there are a lot of bodies in a short area he's got, it's kind of a science to it.

"I would say it's more complicated than maybe most people think in terms of just finding a soft spot and protecting yourself, protecting the ball, knowing how to get the yard that you need. There are a lot of little things that go into that in a hurry, and we try to coach and teach our linemen how to do it the right way to protect our quarterback."

There are multiple issues with possibly hurrying the sneak on the goal line, but the most important is the health of quarterback Tom Brady. The play isn't simply having Brady fall forward behind his offensive line, but there are series of blocks that need to be called. If any block is missed, then Brady will have hundreds of pounds of angry defensive linemen falling on his back.

There's a balance between risk and reward and sending Brady up the gut requires far more calculation than is provided during a hurry up on the goal line.