There’s no way Marshawn Lynch could be the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIX if you listen to some of the conspiracy nuts out there. I mean, can you imagine the horror on National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell’s face upon seeing Lynch get the award?
Lynch has been nothing short of a pain in the side of Goodell most of the season and most recently in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. There were many thoughts late Sunday night that the reason Seattle went to the ill-fated pass was to keep Lynch from getting the MVP Award. Some also believe it’s why Lynch didn’t get the ball more in the second half.
While I love a good conspiracy theory, let’s just imagine for one second how this would look if the media ever got a hold of it. A conspiracy like this would have made “deflate-gate” look like brief news item at the end of a news telecast.
What happened at the end of Super Bowl XLIX is no less incredible though when you really think about it. There were the Seahawks lining up for a second and goal play with under a minute to play. They had just seen Lynch power his way to the one-yard line on a four yard carry. His play, followed one of the more miraculous plays in Super Bowl history where Jermaine Kearse caught a deep pass while laying on his back.
With one timeout remaining (more on that in a second), the Seahawks were a yard away from wrapping up back-to-back Super Bowl titles. With that one timeout, the Patriots knew that Seattle could afford to run the ball one more time among a potential final three plays. It’s obvious now that Pete Carroll thought the same thing.
Of all of the pass plays to call however, why, why, why would Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell take the ball out of Russell Wilson’s legs? Yes, you read that right. Here you have a quarterback with the best running ability in the league and instead of using him in play-action or on a roll out, you drop him straight back on a timing throw?
Of course if Wilson completes the pass it’s the greatest call in Super Bowl history but even had that happened, we would have to raise questions wouldn’t we?
If there is one thing about 99% of offensive and defensive coordinators share, it’s the unique ability to over-think situations. Their job is not easy, but at the end of the day it’s to call plays that they feel will create math-ups favorable to them. We can accept arguments that Bevell actually did this as the Patriots stayed with their goal line personnel.
The problem was that this was not a place or time for over-thinking the situation. This is where you go with what you know works. Had Bevell chosen to go with the read option to the left, his quarterback would have been isolated one-on-one with linebacker Donta Hightower. With just one yard to go, I’ll take Wilson’s legs to get me that yard every time.
Better yet, why not just give it to Lynch again? He was clearly getting stronger and was moving the pile. Perhaps if Seattle had one of their two wasted timeouts available things could have been different. At least one, if not both of those timeouts were wasted because of personnel issues.
While it’s easy to pin this loss on Carroll and Bevell, credit must go to the Patriots and Tom Brady too. Brady picked apart the Seahawks’ secondary when he needed to most trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter.
That will be forgotten though because this Super Bowl will always be remembered for what should have happened rather than what did.