The last time the Patriots played at University of Phoenix Stadium, there was a point at the end of the game when everyone wondered if Bill Belichick was going to call timeout.
Shouldn't he call it? What is he waiting for? What is he thinking about?
It worked out that time, in Super Bowl XLIX, when Belichick let the clock run in order to allow what he perceived as a chaotic Seahawks sideline shoot itself in the foot. It did soon thereafter, as Russell Wilson threw one of the most well-known interceptions in the history of professional football, and the Patriots became champions for a fourth time.
When the Patriots were inside University of Phoenix Stadium for their Sunday Night Football matchup with the Cardinals, Belichick had the option to call timeout late in the game again. Once again, he opted to wait. Once again, it worked out for him.
Here was the scenario: The Cardinals hit on an 18-yard pass to Jarron Brown that left them with a fourth-and-five situation at the Patriots 29-yard line with 1:10 remaining. Arizona, without any timeouts, ran its field goal unit onto the field. Once Belichick had a feel for what the Cardinals were going to do, he called timeout, but that didn't come until there were 41 seconds left on the clock.
If he was going to call timeout anyway, on-lookers wondered, why didn't he make the call sooner?
"I wasn't going to initially call it," Belichick said after the game, "but then it looked like they weren't in a big rush, that they were going to bleed it a little bit so if they had made it, [calling timeout] would've given us more time on the clock."
Belichick added: "If they would've run right out and lined up to kick it, then I don't think I would've taken the time out. Generally, I don't think you want to line up your field-goal team, and get it all set, and then make your kicker wait 20 seconds to kick it.
"I mean, you could theorhetically, but most kickers don't like that. I don't really think that's the way to go personnally. When they came out there, that's what I thought they were going to do was run right out and kick because it's fourth down. But then, the holder wasn't even down, the kicker was sort of 10 yards off to the side, warming up. It looked like they were going to bleed it down.
"I thought we could save maybe I don't know what was it 20 seconds or so on the 40 second clock? Somewhere in there. I thought we'd be able to save that. Obviously if the kick was no good, we're kneeling anyway so it didn't really make any difference. It would've only helped us if the kick had been good."
Of course, the kick wasn't good. Cardinals long-snapper Kameron Canaday, a rookie from Portland State, tossed it low, which altered the timing of the entire operation, kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed the kick wide left, and the Patriots won their first game of the 2016 season.