According to the NFL, an estimated 160 million people, watching in 180 countries and in 25 languages, saw Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night.
How do you say “stupidest call ever” in Chinese?
History will record that on this starry Arizona night, the New England Patriots, brilliantly resuscitated in the fourth quarter by quarterback Tom Brady, defeated the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl 28-24.
But long after the headlines fade, the football world will remember The Call.
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The Horrible Call. The call that pulled the rug from under what appeared to be a certain Seahawks victory. The call that may forever leave Seattle sleepless.
Seattle? All of America must have shrieked.
One half-yard from what likely would have been the winning touchdown and with the game’s final 30 seconds tick-tick-ticking away, why Seahawks coach Pete Carroll chose not to run the football is unfathomable.
Even after hearing his explanation, it defies NFL logic.
“We would have won the game,” Carroll said, flashing back to the ghastly moment. “We have everything in mind — how we’re going to do it, how we’re going to leave them no time, and we had our plays to do it.
“We sent in our personnel. They sent in goal line” defense.
“It’s not the right matchup for us to run the football.”
Really? Is that what the erstwhile defending champions are going to go with? They didn’t like the alignment that New England sent into the game?
Not the “right matchup to run the football?”
Eighteen inches from the Super Bowl-winning touchdown, logic says that it is always right to run the football, especially when you have the game’s foremost battering ram, Marshawn Lynch, to pile-drive his way for the half-yard.
And failing that, it would still have been only third down, and Lynch could have tried running it again.
“So on second down, we throw the ball really to kind of waste that play,” Carroll said, continuing the autopsy. “If we score, we do. If we don’t, then we’ll run it on third and fourth down.
“Really, with no second thoughts or no hesitation in that at all.”
They called a pick play. Receivers Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette were split wide to the right. Kearse was trying to drive his defender into Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, who was guarding Lockette.
Carroll called it “an incredible play that nobody would ever think he could do.” But he may want to amend that when he sees the replays and sees that Butler wasn’t really picked off the play much at all.
Quarterback Russell Wilson’s throw didn’t help.
“I thought it was a touchdown, honestly,” Wilson said.
But the Seahawks are missing the point. The franchise that is built around its Legion of Boom defense. Rife with intimidation. Supposedly fearless.
And they decide with 26 seconds left that a wimpy pick play is the thing to do?
As it was, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was going to be due for some second-guessing of his own. Why New England didn’t call one of its two final timeouts, letting the clock run down from 67 seconds to 26, would have drawn a chorus of questions.
But it will never matter now. Carroll’s dumb call will forever be a footnote in the football history books.
At best, there will be some sleepless nights.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697