Super Bowl 49 XLIX will no doubt be remembered for the bad play call at the end by Pete Carroll. The game was as good as a Super Bowl gets though so I hope that doesn’t get lost in the uproar over the decision not to run the ball from the half yard line. Pete Carroll did make a mistake with the pass call, but the result of the play he went with could have been much different. The players on the field make the real differences in these big games. That’s what happened in this Super Bowl as New England won this game. It was not handed to them by Seattle.
The easy thing to do when covering any game is to find blame on the losing side. That is so simple and I am guilty of doing it just like anyone else. But there is plenty of praise to spread around as well. Many writers and talking heads act as though football is played in this perfect vacuum where every offensive play call should happen just as it’s drawn up. They evidently forget that the defenses put in just as much practice time on defending such plays as the offense does in executing them. Credit should be given to the Patriots defense who came up big at the end. Let’s forget for a moment that Pete Carroll should have ran the ball instead of risking a pass. Malcolm Butler made a play that saved his team. He knew what was coming because of preparation on the practice field and in the film room. Plays are drawn up on paper. They come to life on a football field and anything can happen. The game was ripped from Seattle by a great play on Butler’s part. He deserves credit instead of us throwing blame all over Carroll, Lockette, or Wilson.
Who else deserves credit on the Patriots’ side? Tom Brady, despite being intercepted twice, was on point most of the game. He took what the defense gave him as he dinked his way down the field. The Super Bowl MVP was 37 of 50 with four touchdowns. Pretty good stats against the best defense in the NFL for the past two years. Again, the Seahawks are not to blame for Brady’s success. They made some great plays against the guy, but he made plays as well and just happened to come out on top.
I will also say that I was wrong about the Patriots receivers. Toward the first part of the season, I talked about Brady needing real help at receiver instead of the no names he had. Once the post season started, his crew of wideouts played at a championship level. Julian Edelman proved me totally wrong about him. He ended up with 9 catches for 109 yards, including the go ahead TD with 2:02 left. The Legion Of Boom did not have an answer for his quickness, especially when Jeremy Lane went out with an injury after his interception. Edelman racked up 26 catches in the playoffs, moving the chains for New England in wins over Baltimore, the Colts, and then Seattle.
The next few days will see plenty of thoughts about Pete Carroll’s meltdown at the end. We will see many conversations about the Seattle defense giving up 28 points, the most since week seven, in the biggest game of the year. Wilson will even get some blame for going along with the play call, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Folks just need to remember that both sides of the field have players and coaches. One offense’s mistake shouldn’t take away from the great plays made by the defense. If Wilson throws that pass a half second sooner or a foot to the right, the Seahawks are planning their parade. But the reality is that Malcolm Butler made the big play. His team won and ripped a Super Bowl Title away from Seattle and destiny itself. The impossible catch at the five yard line by Kearse had set the Patriots up for another Super bowl loss that closely resembled the Giants’ lucky catches. Destiny got stiff armed by a rookie out of West Alabama who will never be forgotten by New England fans.