Never before have I agonized so much over which team I disliked more. On one side you had the known cheaters, the Patriots, and on the other you had the team with the obnoxious coach who stole victories from the Packers not once, but twice, the Seahawks. Deflate-gate versus the luckiest come-from-behind victory I have ever seen. “A Gronking to Remember,” versus “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” The crowning of Tom Brady versus the crowning of Russell Wilson. All things considered, I really wanted this Super Bowl to end in heartbreak for both teams. Alas, I accepted that as an impossibility shortly after the NFC championship game.
The circus catch by Jermaine Kearse inside of the New England 10 yard line with less than a minute remaining felt like the “Helmet Catch” all over again. Millions sat in disbelief as the ball was deflected by Malcolm Butler, fell and hit off of Kearse’s leg, and then after a few more bounces ended up in Kearse’s hands. What. Just. Happened.
The whole drive seemed desperate, with Wilson heaving deep ball after deep ball hoping for a flag or a lucky reception. I won’t lie, after the comeback against the Packers and the catch by Kearse, I muttered “Team of Destiny” under my breath multiple times. I didn’t remotely believe in destiny before that moment, but I found myself in utter shock and nowhere else to turn.
First and goal from the six yard line quickly turns into second and goal from the one. New England coach Bill Belichick angered every Patriot fan alive when he refused to call timeout with the Seahawks a yard away from victory. Second down proved why Belichick is the best football coach in the world though, as he sent three defensive backs onto the field, knowing that by not calling timeout he had forced Seattle coach Pete Carroll to pass. If the Seahawks had ran the ball with Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch on second down, they would be forced to throw on third down or risk not having enough time to line up for a fourth down attempt. When Wilson threw a terrible ball on a quick slant, Butler beat Ricardo Lockette to the ball and the game was over. Over and over in situations like that you hear Aaron Rodgers say “put the ball only where your receiver can get it.” That is the exact opposite of what Wilson did, and it cost his team a championship.
I’ll be honest, I loved watching Carroll yell “OH NO” as the ball was intercepted before bracing himself on his knees as he stared at his feet. I loved watching Tom Brady jump up and down, screaming like a young girl. Am I a monster or was I just more invested in the Super Bowl than I was willing to admit? I am not sure.
Either way, Seattle will likely not be in the same position next year. Wilson is due for a huge contract, Lynch is unlikely to return, and it appears as if Carroll has lost the trust of many of his players. Many players could be heard muttering their disbelief as they walked back to the locker room, openly questioning Carroll’s play call in the locker room afterward. Wilson, for his part, has stated that he still feels as if the play that was called was the correct call.
All you read now is how much of an idiot Carroll is for not running with Lynch on that second down, and there is nothing I hate more than second guessing play calling after the fact. If Wilson had thrown a decent pass and Lockette had caught it, there would be zero people commenting on the play call. People who act as if Lynch scoring a touchdown there was a foregone conclusion seem to have forgotten that Lynch was stuffed on the one yard line just a few series’ prior to that one.
If there is one thing I hope we can all work on this off-season, it is to learn that commenting on a play that didn’t work after the fact is useless banter. You don’t come across as intelligent, and all you are proving is that you aren’t familiar with the phrase “hindsight is 20-20.” We both know that nobody would be talking about the play call if the offense had simply executed.