By Nick Shook | NFL.com
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It was a decision that, more than 12 hours later, is still being questioned. It’s likely just the beginning of the in-depth examination of what went wrong with the Seahawks a mere 3 feet from essentially securing their second Lombardi Trophy in as many seasons.
Pete Carroll has taken the blame for it and attempted to explain the thought process behind it.
And in the immediate aftermath of the game, even the victors found the call to be perplexing.
“As I look back at it, yeah, I was very shocked and surprised that they threw the ball,” Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis said Sunday night after New England defeated Seattle in a thrilling Super Bowl XLIX.
Seattle’s call — to line up in a shotgun formation with two receivers stacked on the right side and attempt a slant under a pick play — is startling for multiple reasons.
The Seahawks boasted a running back who is known around the league and in the world of professional sports as a brutish, bulldozing runner who is hard to bring down. Marshawn Lynch‘s 1,306 yards and 13 touchdowns in the regular season exist as proof, as well as his 4-yard gain on the previous down, setting up Seattle at the New England 1-yard line.
The entire viewing world knew — or thought it knew — exactly to whom Seattle would hand the ball. New England trotted out the players to attempt to stop it. But in noticing a potential personnel mismatch, Carroll and his staff instead elected to throw on second-and-goal.
It sent Patriots quarterback Tom Brady— sufferer of two gut-wrenching defeats in his last two Super Bowl appearances — into a fit of joy, jumping up and down on the sidelines with his arms raised. He was moments from again raising the Lombardi Trophy and wasn’t about to attempt to explain his opponent’s decision in the final seconds.
“I don’t know man,” Brady said on NFL Network’s Super Bowl XLIX edition of NFL GameDay Final. “I’m glad they didn’t (hand the ball to Lynch). Love the choice they made. You kidding me? I love that choice.”