The Back Door Coverby Max
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The Super Bowl brought about a stern reminder that wagering on a football game truly is a gamble. Philadelphia played well in the first half and should have had the lead, but settled for a tie score at seven. The second half was all New England and after they took a 21-14 lead, it appeared that they had complete control of this game. Philadelphia then went three and out and the Patriots had the ball at the Phily 46-yard line.
New England cruised down inside the ten-yard line and had a first-and-goal at the five. Then the Patriots did something that is not in their repertoire; went conservative by running the ball two out of the three downs and played for a chip shot field goal and a two-score lead. This proved to be the right decision for the Patriots to win the game, but it caused numerous headaches for gamblers all across the nation.
The last seven minutes would not decide who would win the game, but who would cover the spread. If New England had scored a touchdown, they would have likely held on to their 14-point lead and at the worst, Patriot bettors would have had a push. Philadelphia got into scoring position quickly with a breakaway reception by Terrill Owens. But then Donovan McNabb did what he had done all game and overshot a five-yard slant pass that ended up being picked by Tedy Bruschi.
The Philly defense, which played well for most of the game, responded with a three and out and gave McNabb the ball back with just under five minutes to play. The Eagles then went to work putting together a time consuming drive that resulted in a 30-yard touchdown pass by Greg Lewis. This is what Eagle bettors had been waiting for; a meaningless touchdown with very little time left cutting the Patriots lead to just three points. After New England recovered the onside kick, they went conservative by running the ball and punted the ball down to the four-yard line.
This brought a little scare into the underdog bettors as New England now had a chance to score. McNabb, who had been throwing the ball up for grabs all day, held true to his form, overshooting a receiver. The ball landed right in the hands of Rodney Harrison. Harrison moved inside the 25-yard line and carried with him the outcome of billions of dollars that would affect millions of people. Does he score and pat his own stats or does he take the conservative rout and fall down insuring nothing crazy happens?
Harrison did the smart thing by falling down at the 22-yard and all the underdog bettors breathed a huge sigh of relief. One kneel down and the game ended with the Patriots winning their third Super Bowl by a field goal. This is a classic example of a back door cover. A team dominates the entire half and once they get up by two scores, go conservative and allow the other team to score late.
This is typical in the NFL as most coaches are friends with one another and do not want to embarrass the opposing side. They realize how fragile one's job status is in this league and will do whatever it takes to help out a colleague. Philadelphia truly covered this game through the back door.
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