I’m not even going to try and explain what happened on Sunday Night Football when the New England Patriots toppled the Arizona Cardinals with a final score of 23-21. The Patriots were 9.5-point underdogs, which meant that they weren’t supposed to win the game. They didn’t have two of the best players in the entire league in QB Tom Brady or TE Rob Gronkowski.
All they had was head coach Bill Belichick and whatever dark magic he conjures from outside the mortal realm of space and time.
Because of this, I’m bringing back our Emperor Bill t-shirts:
Belichick constructed a brilliant roster and brilliant game plan that allowed back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to overcome the NFC runner-ups in prime time. Or he did some sort of mind trick to allow Garoppolo to succeed- and whether that trick was played on Garoppolo or the Cardinals coaching staff is up for Ted Wells and Roger Goodell to determine.
And this isn’t the first time Belichick’s done it. The Patriots have been 9.5-point underdogs six times under Belichick and they’ve won five of them.
Teams with 5+ wins while being a 9.5-or-worse underdog since 2000: pic.twitter.com/im9TMEnYsC— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) September 12, 2016
This is more of a statistical anomaly than anything about coin flips or Brady sneaks or homefield advantage. It makes no sense. No team should have a winning record as nearly a double-digit underdog.
But that’s why Belichick’s brilliant or able to bend space and time, or both.