Call me over-dramatic if you will, but I believe we just witnessed the worst play call in the history of team sport. Pete Carroll’s decision to throw the ball on 2nd and Goal from the 1-yard line will go down in the annals of athletics as one of the worst decisions ever emanating from a sideline.
Carroll apologists and defenders will mimic his reasoning that the Patriots had a personnel package on the field not conducive to a run play. They will claim as Pete did, that they were “just playing for 3rd down.” Don’t believe it. It should fall on deaf ears. Carroll’s decision to throw a slant with the Super Bowl title and immortality as back-to-back champions as the prize is one of the great “yips” in the history of coaching.
The Seahawks had the human battering ram in Marshawn Lynch ready to run it in. Everyone knew “BEAST MODE” was getting the ball. Hell, even the kids in Ethiopia were being fitted for their “Patriots win Super Bowl title” shirts. Then, inexplicably Carroll and Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell decide to throw a slant at the goal line ?
Let’s be done with the pontificating, the speculation and the reasons being given for throwing the ball. Here are the facts. The Seahawks are at the 1-yard line. They have THREE downs to punch it in. They have one time-out. And, they have a guy who is one of the best running backs in football who had been punishing the Patriots all night.
Let’s assume Lynch runs on 2nd down and doesn’t make it. That’s OK. Seattle calls their final timeout and then with roughly 20 seconds left has two shots to punch it in. They could throw it on 3rd down, and save the run for a possible 4th down. They could be so bold to run it on both 2nd and 3rd down and dare the Patriots “average” run defense to stop them twice from the 1-yard line. But, a slant ? On 2nd down ? With football immortality hanging in the balance ? Inexcusable.
The play call was horrible, but we also should mention the play by rookie Malcolm Butler. He shot the gap, jumped the route with a lightning fast bolt to the ball. It was an amazing play. But, Butler does not have a chance to be a hero unless the Seattle coaches don’t have a brain-lock.
Sometimes coaches over think a situation. The only way you wouldn’t run Lynch on 2nd down is if you were to over-analyze the situation. Carroll mentioned personnel groupings in his post-game presser. Who cares who the Patriots have on the field in that spot ? Purple People Eaters, Steel Curtain, I don’t care. Your best player is Marshawn Lynch. Give the ball to Lynch and let him win the Super Bowl for you.
It will go down as one of the biggest coaching blunders in the history of sport. There is no if’s and’s or but’s about it. The Seattle Seahawks had a Ferrari in the garage, instead they hopped in their Pinto and hoped it would get them to the Promised Land.
Teeth-gnashing, frustration and criticism will commence in the Emerald City. And, in this case it is well-deserved. The greatest of missed opportunities to repeat as champions.