February 5, 2015
Just a little common sense in the Super Bowl would have likely elevated Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll within the list of top NFL coaches of all-time. He was one Marshawn Lynch yard away from talking up his back-to-back championships to whoever would listen.
All Carroll had to do was apply a little common sense to the final seconds of Super Bowl XLIX and New England may not have escaped with a 28-24 victory over Seattle.
Carroll just had to make a decision any coach at any level would have made 99.9 percent of the time. Lynch was in his self-professed full beast mode. He already had 102 rushing yards and a touchdown to his name, and he had just put Seattle on the Patriots’ 1-yard line with less than a minute remaining.
It was over. Game, set, match. Brady and Belichick were going to lose their third consecutive Super Bowl after winning their first three.
But common sense did not prevail with 26 seconds showing on the game clock. Carroll made what ended up being the most damaging call in Super Bowl history. He asked his quarterback, Russell Wilson, to throw the ball. Wilson tried to hit Ricardo Lockette on a quick slant, and an undrafted rookie out of West Alabama named Malcolm Butler jumped the route and intercepted the ball to administer the Seahawks a crushing defeat.
Yes, Carroll did the honorable thing in assuming full responsibility for the defeat. He did not blame Lockette for pulling up short on the route. He did not blame Wilson for throwing the ball to the spot where Lockette should have been. He accepted the blame though he claimed he made the right call.
The Seattle coach said he sent out three wide receivers for that fateful play, noticed New England was stacking the box for Lynch and decided to throw on second down, then run it on third and fourth down, if needed.
“It’s not the right matchup for us to run the football,” he said, “so on second down we were throwing the ball really to kind of waste that play.”
Can you believe he actually said that? With less than half a minute to play down 28-24 in a Super Bowl, he thought it was sound strategy to waste a play.
Come on now. Every fan, player, and coach knows an incompletion isn’t the only unfortunate thing that can happen when a quarterback looks to pass. He can get sacked. He can get stripped of the ball. And in this case, he can get outsmarted by an undrafted rookie out of West Alabama.
How ironic is it that Carroll’s wasted play ended up being the worst Super Bowl play of all time?
I read that Carroll made a similar gaffe at the end of a national championship game he lost against Texas when he coached at USC. He left Heisman winner Reggie Bush on the sideline late during a final drive that came up short.
I read some old stories about that decision. It was said Carroll’s decision cost the Trojans a national title. Deja vu all over again.
The Next New England Controversy?
Julian Edelman scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. However, there are reports circulating out there wondering if Edelman should even have been on the field for the game-winner. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Edelman had been staggered by a crushing hit from Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. He appeared unsteady on multiple occasions, crawling after one tackle and slow to rise after another. Was he tested for a concussion? No one from the Patriots would say.
After reading the report, I went back and looked at the highlight. Edelman bounced off the hit and ran another 12 yards before falling on his own. Three plays later, Edelman caught another 21-yard pass before going down at the 4-yard line. He crawled on the ground for several seconds before teammates helped him up. On the next play, Edelman was slow to rise after he hit his head on the ground following an unsuccessful attempt to make a catch in the end zone.
Edelman & Tom Brady after their win
Current NFL concussion protocol states that players should be evaluated if they are slow to get up following a hit to the head area or if they exhibit balance problems.
Of course, those symptoms don’t mean a player has suffered a concussion, but the NFL encourages further investigation upon observing them. If a team’s medical staff doesn’t notice them, the league has an independent medical official in the press box who can alert the sideline. According to a Detroit Free Press reporter who was sitting in the press box and heard the conversation, that person twice radioed the Patriots’ sideline to warn of Edelman’s symptoms.
I have not read anywhere that Edelman was fully evaluated. I do know he did not miss a single snap on offense during the remainder of the fourth quarter. I would say stay tuned. But the season is over and this story will not likely gain any juice.
Johnny Football Enters Rehab
The news that Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Football entered rehab last week should not surprise us. When a NFL rookie is known more for his actions off the field instead of on the field, one has to wonder if there are not issues that need to be addressed.
The exact reason for the former Heisman Trophy winner’s decision to enter rehab is not clear at this time.
Manziel’s off-the-field behavior has long been a source of controversy. Manziel’s parents made him visit an alcohol counselor in the past. Word has it the Browns asked Manziel to stop partying so much before the 2014 season even began.
Apparently he did not listen back then as a few weeks later, a photo of Manziel rolling up a dollar bill was widely circulated. The photos quickly led to rumors of cocaine use as people often roll up dollar bills so they can snort cocaine.
Manziel’s partying ways didn’t stop during the season, according to a number of reports. Reports came out nationally when Manziel was found by team security in his home “drunk off his a--” the morning before the team’s last game of the season. Only days before, Manziel had told reporters he planned to take his job more seriously so that he could become “the guy” for the Browns.
I wonder how serious Johnny Football is this time.