Remember Super Bowl 49? I can’t get it out of my head. Months later. It’s still a painful memory. First off, let me state that I don’t care for the Seattle Seahawks or New England Patriots at all. If there was a way for both of them to lose the Super Bowl, I’d have voted for it. However, in the end, the bigger evil was The Pats, a team I love to see struggle and fall short. Picture having to choose between two villains and picking the one to live that made sense in everybody’s world. What exactly happened? Let’s roll back to that fateful moment in time.
The Seahawks and their exuberant head coach Pete Carroll had the Patriots on the ropes late in the game in early February. New England was winning 28-24 but Seattle was driving down the field. The NFC beasts had just completed a miraculous reception down the sideline and had time to burn and one yard to collect. ONE yard! The Patriots defensive line knew it, and so did Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. There wasn’t enough time for Brady to stage a comeback and doom was settling in.
Carroll, somehow, didn’t think handing the ball to the best close yardage running back in the NFL, Marshawn Lynch, was the right call. He called for a pass and the game and potential Seahawks dynasty were taken away with one horrible call. When asked Monday about the brutal pain of the loss drifting away or not, Carroll admitted “it never goes away”. You are right, Pete. It never will go away and you will never live it down. It was beyond stupid. It was impetuous. High school coaches don’t make those kind of bad calls, but Carroll did and the Patriots ran off with a victory they didn’t entirely deserve.
What did Carroll do? He took away a potential repeat for his team in the Super Bowl away. He disrespected Lynch and took the ball out of his hands when every other coach in football would say hand it to Lynch. Football isn’t just the most popular sport in the world. It’s the most grueling. Players destroys their bodies and wreck their brains over the course of summer camps, training camp, preseason, a 16 game regular season and playoffs. Stuff in all those two a day practices and you get that close to the promised land and your coach takes the chess piece away from the board. It was horrible and I don’t see how the Seahawks can ever recover. They may get back there, but it’s incredibly hard and very rare for a team to get back there three years in a row. The players have to be shouting their heads today about the call and I doubt Carroll has enjoyed a healthy night of sleep. He deserves all the heartache and blame in the world.
Why? He chose the hardest route to a touchdown at the worst time. If Carroll didn’t want to run the ball, he should have thrown it elsewhere. The goal line defense is built to prevent anything up the middle. Anything, especially on a pass. If a pass was your recipe, toss a sky rocket to the corner of the end zone. Aim for a side of the end zone. Take a risk but don’t be stupid. Throwing to the middle of the end zone was the last thing an offensive coordinator or head coach should dream up in that situation. You are begging for a turnover. This is where arm chair coaches have a special power over the professionals. It’s called COMMON SENSE!
Why did Carroll do that? I’m no psychiatrist but let me put a guess in. He really wanted to beat Belichick and the Patriots. He wanted it so bad that in classic “Go Big Or Go Home” style, Carroll went for it. He wanted to win it his way and left logic at the door, which is toxic in sports. Involving any kind of emotion in huge sporting event decisions can kick back at you like a grumpy 12 gauge shotgun. Carroll wanted it all and took away everything with one horrible decision.
The looks on Carroll’s face and Brady’s face when the interception at the goal line happened tells the entire story. The Hall of Fame bound quarterback couldn’t believe it. It was like seeing a wild dream come true. The coach hung his head and his headset stumbled to the ground right next to his balls, heart and soul. I don’t think Carroll will be able to shake this beast. Football is a game built on pre-existing feelings, retribution, intensity and the ability to remember everything from last season, especially if you didn’t win the big game. The players won’t let it go. I wouldn’t let it go and I don’t see that feeling changing as the draft comes into view, training camp develops and a fresh season takes shape.
I remember watching it intently for the simple fact that this game was a great one. Back and forth. Turnovers on both sides, lots of big moments, and a thrilling game on the biggest stage. Better yet, with a little time left, there was one more big development to take place. The Seahawks taking another Super Bowl trophy away from the beloved Brady. The great had already fallen to Eli Manning twice, a broken knee, the Ravens and other roadblocks to his first Super Bowl title since 2005. Carroll cleared that path with one bad decision. You can break the game down all you want but all an inspector has to do is stare at that final hiccup. If there is one rule in football, it’s win at any cost in any manner, especially The Super Bowl. That’s the big one and you can’t mess that up. Carroll did and gave up a loss to the wrong guy and team. He didn’t just throw away his team’s effort. He brought Brady and Belichick’s horses around from the stable and let them ride off into NFL history. That’s what he did.
Sure, Russell Wilson threw the pass and the receiver failed to break it up, but it was lost the minute the ball left Wilson’s hands. Imagine a head coach telling Peyton Manning to throw the ball in that situation. Manning would have stepped back and glared over at the sidelines or simply told the coordinator to fist himself. The fault is on Carroll for blowing the call. Once the coordinator, Darrell Bevell, gave the call to Carroll it should have deleted and shredded in their minds at the same time. That’s not what happened though. Madness occurred.
Pete Carroll likes to win and jumps around on the sidelines constantly. He’s close up fodder for the camera. He likes to run up the point totals on other teams. He says all the right things after the game. He’s confident and shares some qualities with Rex Ryan in his “my guys” philosophy. It’s all fun and games until you shit the bed.
Pete Carroll will be remembered for winning at least one Super Bowl. However, he will be remembered more for his horrible mishandling of Super Bowl 49. He’ll never live it down.
Thanks for staying up with us!