New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has defended his decision to defer the kick-off in overtime to the New York Jets.
The Patriots won the coin toss at the start of overtime but left the MetLife Stadium bemused when captain Matthew Slater selected to kick-off instead of elect to receive with the rules allowing victory to the first side to score a touchdown in the added period.
The Jets went on to drive down the field and a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick found Eric Decker to hand New York a surprise win and keep their play-off hopes alive, but New England coach Belichick defended his decision to give the Jets the ball.
"We thought that was the best thing to do," Belichick said, adding that he did not regret the decision.
Slater back up Belichick's claims that they meant to give the Jets the ball after some confusion over which way the Patriots would kick during the toss
"Before we went out for the toss, coach told us that if we won the toss, we wanted to kick off," claimed Slater.
"So obviously, as a player, you ask three or four times to double check because you want to make sure you get it right. The only confusion was whether or not we got to choose which direction we got to kick the ball.
"They don't pay me to manage the games. It's not my decision," he added.
"When I'm told to do something, that's what I'm going to do. The captains, when we're told that we want to kick off, we do it. Obviously in that situation, as a player, maybe you're thinking, 'Hey, we want the ball if we win the toss,' but that's not what coach wanted to do."
Jets quarterback Fitzpatrick says he wasn't at all surprised by New England's decision, believing they have an odd strategy at times.
"Nothing surprises you about the Patriots and strategy and what they think. We were excited to get the opportunity to get the ball and have a chance to put them away."