GLENDALE, Ariz. — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has been wrong enough to know that things get distilled down to one play.
By the time the Seahawks walked off the University of Phoenix Stadium grass, 28-24 losers to the New England Patriots, nothing mattered but Seattle’s last play from scrimmage.
It didn’t matter that Seattle squandered a 10-point lead. By the time Carroll stepped to the podium, all that mattered was the Seahawks threw a pass from the 1-yard line in the closing seconds and it was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.
So, when he began speaking, no one needed to ask Carroll why he didn’t turn to running back Marshawn Lynch in that situation. He said it himself.
“It’s really what happened on this one sequence that we would have won the game, we have everything in mind, how we’re going to do it, we’re going to leave them no time, and we had our plays to do it,” he said.
“We sent in our personnel, they sent in goal line, it’s not the right matchup for us to run the football. So, on second down, we throw the ball really to kind of waste that play. If we score, we do, if we don’t, then we’ll run it on third and fourth down.”
Unfortunately, the play wasn’t wasted. It ended up being the only that mattered. Carroll said after the game the play was his decision and he’ll be the one to live with the blame.
Some of his players were less diplomatic and openly questioned the call, including cornerback Tharold Simon. Cornerback Richard Sherman didn’t openly question his coach, but he also did not support the decision.
“What I would have done is irrelevant at this time,” he said. “We went with that play. We trusted our quarterback, and unfortunately they made a play.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson said he did not have the option to audible out of the play.
“There really wasn’t a check out of it,” Wilson said. “We had a good play. If it was a catch, you know, it would be a completely different story. They made a great play, like I said.”
One for LSU
When Brandon LaFell left LSU, he was used to winning. It was different when he landed in Carolina. The Panthers missed the playoffs during his first three seasons before going one-and-done in his final season there.
This offseason, when looking for a new team, his only requisite was that he was going to join a winning program. The wide receiver jumped when his phone rang and the Patriots were asking him to come to town.
For a while, though, LaFell, who caught four passes for 29 yards, wasn’t sure he made the right decision. Winning takes a lot of work.
“Me and Darrelle Revis, we were driving home one day in OTAs, and I want to say they must have worked us to death that day,” he said. “We said it at the same time that if we don’t win the Super Bowl this year after doing all this work, we’re going upstairs to the front office and telling somebody something.
“Man, just the way we worked in OTAs, the way we worked in camp — I believe in this team and I knew we had enough talent to get here and win this game.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had the opportunity to silence talk about the deflated ball controversy that engulfed the New England Patriots during the lead up to the Super Bowl, but declined to comment on the situation during his news conference earlier this week.
So, the only information that has been made public knowledge has come through leaks. And another dropped hours before kickoff, this time from NFL Network, which suggests the violation might not be as egregious as once believed.
The report states that before the AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts, an elderly man took a bag of footballs into a bathroom and emerged 98 seconds later. Tape of the incident was turned over to the NFL by the Patriots.
It also states that 12 of the footballs used in the first half were judged to be under the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but only one of those balls was two pounds under. The report says many of them were “just a few ticks” under the minimum.
It was previously reported 11 of the balls were two pounds under the mandated threshold.
In the hours before the Super Bowl started, ESPN reported the NFL is investigating the Falcons for pumping illegal crowd noise into the Georgia Dome.
According to the report, the Falcons are accused of pumping the noise in the past two seasons while the opposing team is huddled. Atlanta could be fined and lose a draft pick if found guilty.
The Falcons posted a combined 6-10 record at home over the past two seasons. The Saints beat Atlanta at home in 2013, but lost there in Week 1 last season.
Man of the Year
The Chicago Bears’ Charles Tillman was on hand at the Super Bowl to hand off the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award to the Panthers’ Thomas Davis.
Tillman, a product of Louisiana-Lafayette, won the award last year. His foundation has provided pediatric hospital patients with iPads, gaming systems and other forms of entertainment. His foundation is said to reach more than 370,000 children annually.