Thirty-six inches, three feet, one yard. That’s how far Marshawn Lynch had to fall forward on that goal-to-go situation that resulted in the Patriots’ game sealing interception. Even putting the ball in the hands of Robert Turbin or a sneaky Russell Wilson was probably a safer bet than forcing that pass that ended up going the other way.
A counter, a draw, a blast; any of which could have been safer than the play that was chosen. That was the first time all season that a quarterback has thrown an interception at the one-yard-line. That’s a stat to write home about if I’ve ever heard one.
Head Coach Pete Carroll’s defense has relied on risk-taking to get the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl. Carroll has never been afraid of pulling out the big guns. The onside kick in the Green Bay game and the game changing score at the end of the first half of the Super Bowl both showed that Pete Carroll takes risks. Yet it seems that play call at the end of Super Bowl XLIX seemed to be the polar opposite of the Seahawks’ game plan.
Lynch was the workhorse, the bruiser. The Pats were worn down and on the ropes. Lynch was averaging 4.3 yards per carry with over 100 yards. As Al Michaels put it at one point, “it seemed to take the whole state of Massachusetts to bring Beast Mode to the turf”.
Lynch was relied upon so heavily that he had more rushing attempts (24) than Wilson had passing attempts (21). A stat that is seemingly out-of-place in the modern game, it goes to show how smart and how efficient the Seahawks can be over the course of a game. Unfortunately, Carroll will have these moments where he switches into evil genius mode and while that works sometimes, this was the wrong time and the wrong place.
Which brings us to what transpired following that pivotal play, what fans are calling the Super Brawl. Unprofessional and reeking of desperation, the fight was more Monday Night Raw than Monday Night Football. The NFL’s biggest stage is not the place to show the immaturity of your team.
The Seahawks defensive line was frustrated and disappointed. Those emotions came to boiling point at the end of the game, which put a sour mark on what was an absolutely fantastic game of football. Sure it was slow at times with plenty of three-and-outs, but that is how football is supposed to be.
What upsets me is when people act like the Super Brawl was the most exciting part of the game. Sure I was on the edge of my seat and sure it was entertaining, but saying that it was the best part of this classic contest is disrespectful to the men who put their bodies on the line week after week for a chance at the Lombardi Trophy. If you think that the fight was best part of the game, then you should’ve watched the Anderson Silva UFC fight instead of tuning into one of the most thrilling Super Bowls in recent memory.
For all those who believe that the number of rings determines an individual quarterback’s greatness, then Tom Brady is the greatest signal-caller in the history of this fine sport. He is tied with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback. He also has made it to the Super Bowl six times, which is an NFL record.
If the Super Bowl is the measuring stick for greatness, then Brady has to take the cake for the greatest of all-time, the best to ever throw a pass. You can’t deflate a Lombardi Trophy. In reality, I think it takes a lot more than an individual’s ability and leadership to even make it to a Super Bowl. While Brady has absolutely cemented his face on the Mount Rushmore of legends at the position, I don’t believe he is a shoo-in as the best ever.