Why would Belichick spilt Gronk out wide against the Seahawks?

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I don't think I agree with Pat Kirwan here at all, unless you have more context for that quote. Anyone who watched LaDainian Tomlinson play knows that a running back in the I formation is a capable receiver. The Chargers used the I formation and standard Shotgun almost exclusively, and very frequently ran play-action passes where the RB is a significant target.

I would guess his comments are primarily along the lines related to the latter reasons from your question, though; the I form is certainly not a formation for a regular passing play to the RB, given the RB has only two or three seconds to get significantly downfield in a non-play action passing play; given his position far behind the line (4-5 yards back) and centered (so another 3-4 yards at least from the outside of the tackle box), it's not a great position to go downfield from. Halfback screens and play action passes work well here, but regular routes don't.

It's also simply not a formation commonly used by...

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First off, left handed power hitters do, sometimes, bunt against the shift. Not frequently, but they do; I saw Jim Thome lay down a neat bunt several years back.

However, the reason you don't see it all the time, is because the folks who the shift works against aren't trying to hit singles. They're pull hitters (that's why the shift works), and they're pull hitters because that's the easiest way to hit a home run.

Most "full shift" hitters are on the "Three True Outcome" spectrum; meaning, they're usually going to either strike out, walk, or hit a home run. The really good ones - let's say someone like 2007 or 2009 Prince Fielder - are slugging .600+ (meaning their average trip to the plate, not counting walks, yields 0.6 bases). Even the moderately okay ones are slugging .450-.500, meaning their average trip to the plate yields probably 0.5 or a bit more bases (if you add walks to the mix).

So the question is, if they bunt away from the shift, will they stand...

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The simplest answer is exactly as Joe said: because them's the rules.

Most rules relating to offensive formations are designed to help out the defense; it's generally understood that because the offense knows what they're going to do to try to move the ball and the defense doesn't, the defense is at a significant disadvantage in their job. To assist the defense and thus help balance the game to prevent every game being an offensive shootout, the offense must give certain cues as to their intentions based on how they position their side on the field.

More specifically, the development of the "forward pass" in American football, differentiating it from most other games in the family which require laterals or rearward passes only, gives the offense a huge advantage in unpredictability. To balance this, the definition of a legal forward pass itself (especially the fact that it must not bounce off the turf; theoretically a lateral or rearward shovel pass can be bounced) as...

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When the Seattle Seahawks are at full strength on defense, no one in the NFL is capable of beating them. However, that doesn't appear to be the case heading into Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots.

As dramatic as the Seahawks' comeback win over Green Bay was in the NFC Championship Game, it did come at a price. First, star safety Earl Thomas suffered a dislocated shoulder, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

That was followed by the sprained elbow suffered by Richard Sherman later in the game, per NFL Network's Albert Breer:

Per source, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman's MRI showed a sprained elbow. Should be able to play in the Super Bowl.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 19, 2015

While it's hard to downplay the significance of both injuries, Sherman's stands out because of how limited he seemed immediately after it happened. He stayed on the field but was holding his left arm close to his body so it wouldn't get hit by Packers wide...

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Pete Carroll made a strange decision on Sunday Night Football. Not even Bill Belichick, the same man who called for a dropkick against the Eagles, could wrap his head around it.

The Seattle Seahawks took a 31-24 lead with four minutes to play at Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots. They decided to go for a two point conversion.

On the NBC broadcast, Belichick appeared to say: “Why would they go for two?”

That was the reaction of most who were watching the game. If the Seahawks kicked an extra point, they would have forced the Patriots to score a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to send the game into overtime. If the Seahawks converted their 2-point conversion, the game would have been separated by two possessions, and would have essentially been out of reach for the Patriots.

“We wanted to see if we could put it out of reach. Make it a two-score deal,” Carroll said after the game.

The Seahawks failed to convert on the play, an...

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Super Bowl XLIX was like the last episode of The Sopranos (and I’m not the only one who thought so). I will always remember watching it, I will always be dumbfounded by the ending and I needed 48 hours to figure out what I thought happened. What was Bill Belichick doing? What was Seattle doing? What was EVERYONE doing? This isn’t a retro diary, it’s a retro retro diary. It’s time to relive, regurgitate, recelebrate and re-heart-attack the final 12 minutes of Super Bowl XLIX.

A quick recap: With five minutes left in the third quarter, Seattle took a 10-point lead after Doug Baldwin’s touchdown catch featured the following subplots: the umpire/evil WWE referee picked off Darrelle Revis in the end zone, allowing Baldwin to escape from Revis Island for the only time all night; Seattle covered the “same team will score three times in a row” prop; Baldwin earned a 15-yard penalty for stealing Adam Carolla’s poop-the-football touchdown celebration gimmick (conspicuously omitted...

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New England Patriots Offense Bit By The Injury Bug

The New England Patriots tier one offense will be without two of their most effective down-the-field receiving threats when they take on the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday.

Both tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Chris Hogan have been ruled out for the game as they continue to deal with their injuries. Gronkowski is managing a chest ailment, while Hogan suffered a back issue before last week’s game with the Seahawks. Hogan played in the game but did not register a catch.

Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot) are both questionable headed into the game but are expected to play.

Bennett A Must Start In Fantasy, Amendola And Mitchell On Flex

With Gronkowski out, the Patriots could lean on Bennett more heavily in the passing game. Hogan’s absence should mean more work for receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola.

For fantasy football players...

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

Patriots offense vs. Colts defense

When these teams met back in November, a guy named Jonas Gray ran the ball 37 times for the Patriots, racking up 201 yards. It wasn’t the production that stood out so much as how it was achieved. Thirty-two of Gray’s runs came behind a six-man offensive line. And 17 times, Gray ran “power” or “counter” to the strong side of those overloaded formations, behind a pulling blocker. In short, Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels felt they could simply line up and ram the ball down Indy’s throat. They were right.

Will Belichick and McDaniels feel this way again? In the second half last week against Baltimore they totally abandoned a ground game that had generated a paltry 17 yards on 9 attempts in the first half (and one of these attempts was Tom Brady’s four-yard touchdown run, which came on a passing play).

The Colts run...

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As many times as the football world has bowed down to Bill Belichick, you'd think there would be a ton of bad backs out there.

Guess what? It's time to do it again.

The man is a football genius. There, I said it.

So let's bow to him again. After he took his Patriots into Arizona on Sunday night and beat the Cardinals 23-21 without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski -- two of the top-10 players in the league and one who is perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time -- how can we not marvel at his coaching ability?

He just might be the best of all time -- although there certainly are arguments to be made.

There is a perception out there with Patriots fans that I am anti-New England, which is way off base. I have nothing but respect for the Patriots organization and the way it's run.

Yes, I often point out the mistakes that Belichick makes in game management. There have been plenty by the way, and he made another one late against Arizona when he...

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Story highlights

Amy Bass: Tense Super Bowl ended in head-scratching bad play and interception: You had to see it to believe it Noteworthy from the game? The unstoppable Marshawn Lynch, Katy Perry's halftime and players Gronkowski and Wilfork

(CNN)You had to see it to believe it. After a tense game that felt like it could go in any direction at any time, towards the end it seemed like Seattle's so-called 12th man was going to have yet another reason to cheer.

But Patriots' cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass at the goal line and put an end to the Seahawks' quest for a repeat championship. A play that had most people scratching their heads and wondering why (why, WHY?) did anyone tell Russell Wilson to throw that ball, when he could have handed it to the unstoppable Marshawn Lynch instead?

The "unnecessary roughness" by the Seahawks that followed as the Patriots were just 18 seconds away from the Lombardi trophy exemplified the...

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AP

While most of the known world has weighed in on Seattle’s late-game play-calling, and the majority of that weight has fallen against them, there is one person objecting.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick himself said the criticism of the second-and-1 slant pass which was intercepted to seal the win for his team was “totally out of line.”

“There has been a lot of criticism that I don’t think is anywhere close to being deserved or founded,” Belichick said on WEEI, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “That football team is very good, very well-coached, and Pete does a great job.

“Malcolm [Butler] and Brandon [Browner], on that particular play, just made a great play. I think the criticism they’ve gotten for the game is totally out of line and by a lot of people who I don’t think are anywhere near even qualified to be commenting on it.”

Belichick was also gracious to the Seahawks, knowing himself what it’s like to come so close and lose.

“I wouldn’t be...

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Bill Belichick and the Patriots' decision not to call a timeout ended up looking smart. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks' interception from the one-yard line in the final seconds of the Super Bowl cost them the game.

Many people have questioned why the Seahawks threw the ball instead of running it.

It has become one of the most maligned play calls ever.

But if the Seahawks had scored there and won the game, the scrutiny would have been on Patriots coach Bill Belichick for not calling a timeout before the play.

The Patriots had two timeouts left when Marshawn Lynch got tackled at the one-yard line with 60 seconds left. Instead of using his timeouts to make sure his team would get the ball back to answer if Seattle scored, Belichick let Seattle run the clock all the way down to 25 seconds before that fateful 2nd down play.

Belichick went on sports radio WEEI on Wednesday and ...

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