Reflecting on Super Bowl XLIX

Two days removed now from what was probably the best game all season long in the NFL, it is time to look back on all that went on during the Super Bowl. Tom Brady walked away with his fourth ring and third MVP title. Bill Belichick etched his name in history as only the second four-time Super Bowl champion coach. His counterpart Pete Carroll is likely the most hated man in Seattle right now, potentially only behind his offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. There is a lot to discuss from the big game so let’s get rolling.

First, let’s talk about the MVP award for a minute. Tom Brady played well during Sunday’s big game but he was not the player deserving of that accolade. Brady had a great game with over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns but he had two drive-killing interceptions. One was at the goal line costing New England a touchdown and the other set up the Seahawks for an easy field goal. Brady caused a 10-point swing by trying to force the ball into tight windows. Brady also missed on a couple of throws where he had open receivers. The MVP of that game for the Patriots was Julian Edelman. He had 9 receptions on 12 targets for 109 yards. The Pats’ wide receiver was a nightmare in open space for Seattle’s secondary. He also scored what ended up being the game-deciding touchdown. He even had a carry for 7 yards. Edelman was likely the most versatile player on the field and definitely the best one for New England.

Time to get to what everyone is talking about though. Only seconds remaining in the Super Bowl and the clock still winding, the Seahawks have the ball at the goal line on second down. Everyone in the stadium, including the defense, was expecting a running play. Instead, Russell Wilson dropped back and threw a slant to Ricardo Lockette. Malcom Butler flashed in to blow up the play and snagged the football in the process. Everyone was shocked. The Seahawks, with Marshawn Lynch, the best short-yardage runner in the NFL, decide not to run the football. Looking at it from a coach’s standpoint, the passing play made sense. Seattle had two timeouts left and wanted to use as much clock as possible. Carroll says the plan was to run it with Lynch on third and fourth down. Running it every time was not possible with the way the clock was moving. I understand Carroll’s rationale. However, I would have run the ball. You are at the goal line with a big back only needing three feet to earn another Super Bowl championship. I think that the Seahawks would have been wiser to run on second down. I think Lynch would have scored based on how he had been running on that drive. Even if he doesn’t, that is when you call a timeout and huddle up to discuss your options about how to proceed. I know Carroll was trying to plan ahead but I think he overthought the situation and got too cute with his play calling.

What ensued after that sequence was understandable as well. The Seahawk’s defense was floored by the play call. Richard Sherman couldn’t believe it. The defense was very emotional walking on to the field. That still does not excuse what Bruce Irvin did on the ensuing play. There was a bit of a scuffle and Irvin came flying in throwing punches. I know where the guy was coming from but taking a swing at the opposing team with 25 seconds left in the game does not fly. Irvin was ejected and will probably see a fine coming his way. I think the league should go as far as to suspend him for next year’s season opener. His reaction was classless and unwarranted. I know why he did it, but that does not justify his actions.

All in all, that was one of the best games in football I have seen in a long time. I ranked it as the second most thrilling Super Bowl of all time just yesterday. While there are no more games to be played until August (and none that people will watch until September), the NFL will still be busy for the next few months. The league will be on Peyton-watch; the combine starts two weeks from today; free agency begins in early March; early April means pro days for athletes entering the draft and then, of course, the draft is the first weekend in May. Plenty of football related action still going on so we don’t need to get too depressed yet. It’s after the draft when we will have no idea to do with ourselves. What a season in the NFL. Here’s hoping the next one comes as fast as possible.


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