It was the worst call in Super Bowl history, but it made sense to those that prefer checkers over chess. In Pete Carroll’s case Tic Tac Toe may be a more accurate description of the game he was playing last night at the Super Bowl.
A Super Bowl in which his Seattle squad was 1-yard away from winning. A Super Bowl that could have ended in confetti streams for Carroll and his hand-picked QB assassin Russell Wilson and altered the course of NFL history forever.
Instead of pounding it in with the best short yardage back in the game, Seattle ran a slant route intended for receiver Ricardo Lockette that was intercepted by Pats rookie Malcolm Butler which iced the game for the Pats.
Therefore, the human element reigned supreme and in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by statistics and technology, common sense was trumped by ego, bravado and a need for Seattle’s coaches to prove that they were not only better than the Pats, but smarter.
What other excuse could they have? The way they’re spinning it doesn’t really make sense.
Seattle’s poor decision-making resulted in a 28-24 Super Bowl 49 victory for the hated New England Patriots, who rode the controversial wave and rocky road of Deflategate through Seattle’s impenetrable D and to a fourth franchise Super Bowl.
Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell says the play call was made with the clock in mind.
"We were conscious of how much time was on the clock and we wanted to use it all," Bevell said. "It didn't turn out the way I hoped it would. Of course I can say now I wish we had done something different. There are 20 different things going through my mind that we can do. If you run it that doesn't mean you would score on that play."
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said the play call was ultimately his and he made it based on New England's defensive formation. Please pass Pete the dunce cap.
"I made the decision," Carroll said. "I said, 'Throw the ball,' and we went with the play that we thought would give us a chance to get in the end zone."
Carroll defended their call as a logical choice with the Patriots stacking the box to stop Lynch.
"We were going to run the ball in to win the game, but not on that play," Carroll said. "I didn't want to waste a run play on their goal-line guys. It was a clear thought, but it didn't work out right. The guy [Butler] made a play that no one would have thought he could make."
There’s not much to talk about in a game that Seattle seemed to have under control. After a slow first half Seattle stormed to a 24-14 lead in the third quarter on Steven Hauschka's 27-yard field goal and Doug Baldwin's 3-yard TD reception. The tides changed however, when wide receiver Jermaine Kearse dropped a perfectly thrown ball from Wilson on third–down, while driving into Pats territory with the potential to totally put the game out of reach. Everything seemed to go downhill for the Seahawks from that point.
How fitting for the 37-year-old Brady and Pats fans, who have waited 10 years to relive the titletown success they last experienced in 2004.
On an evening where Brady threw a ton to his teammates (record 37 completions) and two picks to the opposition, leaving Seattle on the brink of back-to-back Super Bowl victories, Seattle elected to throw the ball, shunning Lynch (102 rushing yards) who certainly would have scored from one–yard out and three more hacks at it.
“A million out of a million times... you give him (Lynch) the ball,” said ESPN’s Trent Dilfer, the winning QB for the defensively-stacked Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV.
Instead of Wilson raising his second-consecutive Lombardi Trophy, Brady got some sweet revenge and in the end, he was the guy doing the symbolic nutsack-grabbing for all of the media, haters and competitors that called the Pats cheaters.
The Seahawks have got to be thinking that all of this is just a bad dream. HC Carroll is sick to his stomach, but he should be, especially if he is taking responsibility for the call. "I can't even tell you, I can't even feel it," Carroll said after disaster struck.
Once again we see the defining qualities of pro sports on full display. The mystery, the emotion, the unpredictable outcome and the unfathomable (Kearse’s catch and RW throwing the ball from the one) circumstance.
For a second it seemed as if maybe the Patriots were a cursed team. After all, they lost the past two Super Bowls they were in to the Giants and it took some all-time incredible plays (David Tyree catch) to snatch victory from their hands.
This time fate would befriend the Pats late in the game. Kearse’s miraculous catch set the Hawks up for an easy W, but it wasn’t meant to be and Seattle’s brain trust made sure that Brady and Belichick got their fourth rings before Wilson and Carroll got their second.
The suspect call also made sure that Brady and Belichick would remain the last NFL duo to win back-to-back c’hips – at least for the time being. Brady surpassed Joe Montana's mark of 11 Super Bowl touchdown passes with a 4-yarder to Danny Amendola to bring the Patriots within three points.
Brady has equaled Montana with four Lombardi Trophies and three Super Bowl MVPs. He stands alone with 13 Super Bowl touchdown passes. He tossed for 328 yards against the NFL's top-ranked defense. After some key and fortuitous injuries to the Seahawks top-rated defense, Brady brought the Seahawks the ruckus with fourth-quarter drives of 68 and 64 yards, solidifying his championship legacy.
To the Pats credit, they never stopped fighting and ended up winning on the same field where their perfect 2007 season was ruined in the Super Bowl by the Giants.
We can pontificate all day about Brady and Belichick and Seattle’s failure to close out the game, but it never should have gotten to that point. Once the football gods blessed Seattle with a flukish catch to set the table for a historical night, only a nincompoop could have led Seattle to a loss. The media wanted Lynch to speak to them all week long. He let everybody know all he wants to do is run. Too bad his coaches were the only ones not listening. It cost them a c’hip.