One week removed from Super Bowl XLIX and many football fans are left to wonder what to do with their Sundays. This marks the first Sunday since September without there being NFL action on TV. The final showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will go down as a classic. For many Seahawk fans, the question of “What could have been,” will always be on their minds.
Strong Safety Kam Chancellor was playing with a torn MCL, and free safety Earl Thomas was playing with a torn Labium. Cornerback Richard Sherman injured his elbow in the NFC Championship game against the packers, and may require Tommy John’s surgery to repair it in the off-season. No doubt, the Seahawks daunted “Legion of Boom” was not at full strength. No team that makes it this far, and has played as many games as they have are ever at full strength. This included the Patriots, whom they were facing.
Even with all the injuries the Seahawks were still playing like the Seahawks play; tough, smash mouth defense. Tom Brady had thrown two interceptions and the Seahawks were holding on to a 10 point lead late in the game. Even after Brady marched his team down the field twice, and took the lead 28-24, the Seahawks were calm. Brady had done his part and lead the Patriots down and put them in position to win their fourth Super Bowl in history.
Seahawks were calm because despite his young age, and only being the league for three years, Russell Wilson was no stranger to comebacks, and never let the pressure get to him. Wilson did everything you expected, and more. As receiver Jermaine Kearse made what should have been the most exciting catch in Super Bowl history, cameras showed Brady on the sidelines saying “We had um’!” Brady just like everyone in Glendale Arizona watching, and the 110 million people watching at home, assumed Marshawn Lynch would go into “Beast Mode,” and the Seahawks would win 31-28.
It was as simple as that, one yard from glory. Three feet of grass stood between the Seahawks and back to back Super bowl victories; a feat that had not been accomplished in over a decade. With 20 seconds left on the clock Wilson dropped back in the pocket and threw a pass right through the middle to Ricardo Lockette. Malcom Butler, who was not even on the field for most of the game, stepped in and snatched the ball. The Patriots had held on and stopped the Seahawks. The Stadium erupted in cheers and groans.
With everything on the line, the Seahawks threw the ball up the middle, instead of handing the ball off to one of the best running backs in the game. The Stadium may have been deafening, but the sound of silent head shaking, and utter disbelief spread across Seahawk fans. A week later, most are still struggling to understand the play call.
With all the injuries on the defense, the Seahawks still should have won the game. Had it not been for those injuries, perhaps Brady would not have been able to make that 14 point comeback, and the Seahawks would have just needed to hang on to the ball at midfield to win. Perhaps instead of a goal line stand, the final play of the Super Bowl would have been Russell Wilson kneeling in victory formation.
The Patriots have now one four out of their last six Super Bowl appearances, securing their place in history as one of the NFL’s top dynasties of all time. Brady passed the great Joe Montana for most touchdowns in the Superbowl, and coach Bill Belichick now has more post season victories than any coach in history. Regardless of the controversy surrounding “Deflate gate,” Or earlier in their careers with “Spy Gate,” The patriots still have 4 rings, and I do not think the fans in Boston care one bit if the rest of the country wants to put an asterisk next to their championships. You cannot take away the memories, or the parades that fans will remember for a life time. Typically the losing team in the Super Bowl is forgotten. It would be hard to list all the opponents of the winning teams over the years. Super Bowl XLIX, however, will be remembered for decades by all who watched, even if some fans would like to forget.
Commentary by Andy Lapic
Photo By Joe Parks –Flickr License