Carroll accepts full blame for Super Bowl XLIV Loss. Courtesy: Getty Images
“There’s really nobody to blame but me…” Those were the words from Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll after his team lost Super Bowl XLIX 28-24 to the New England Patriots.
Everyone is blaming Carroll for not calling running back Marshawn Lynch’s number on the 1 yard line with 20 seconds left in the game and allowing Russell Wilson to throw a pass that was intercepted by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler to seal the win. It’s being called “the worse play call in NFL history.” But that play is only where they lost the opportunity to win, they lost when their vaunted, proud—some say arrogant—defense gave up a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter.
The final stanza began with the Seahawks up 24-14 and looking like they were ready to pin their ears back and tee off on Tom Brady. They had already picked him off twice and had his top targets Edelman and Gronkowski pretty much in check.
How quickly things changed. #12 was 13-15 for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 4th—He finished 37-50 for 328 yards and 4 TDs. That’s why he left University of Phoenix Stadium with his fourth Super Bowl win and third Super Bowl MVP Trophy.
The Legion of Boom, the number one ranked total defense in 2014, that only gave up an average of 15.9 points per game, gave up a 9 play 68 yard touchdown drive and a 10 play 64 yard touchdown drive to lose their lead. Before Sunday night, no team in Super Bowl history had ever comeback from a larger deficit in the 4th quarter. They deserve their share of the blame.
There are several other plays Seattle could’ve made to seal their second consecutive Super Bowl victory. What if Jermaine Kerse doesn’t drop the 3rd down deep pass in scoring position with 1:12 left in the third quarter that let the Patriots defense off the field? What if Earl Thomas doesn’t get an unnecessary roughness penalty that gave the Patriots 15 free yards at the end of a short catch and run by Shane Vereen that put them in scoring position? What if the Seahawks turned both Brady interceptions into points?
There’s blame to go all around. Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevel deserve theirs for the final play call, quarterback Russell Wilson his for throwing the pass. But as cornerback Richard Sherman said on the podium Sunday Night “everybody understands it didn’t come down to one play, there was a number of plays throughout the game we could’ve made and extended our lead and guys understand that…” That’s why the Seahawks aren’t Back to Back Super Bowl Champions.