It has been called the worst play call in Super Bowl history by many people. Former NFL great Emmitt Smith called it, “The worst play call I’ve seen in the history of football.” It has also been the basis of some conspiracy theories. What exactly is being referenced? The Seattle Seahawks’ inexplicable decision to pass the ball on second and goal from the three-yard line, instead of giving the ball to their bruising runner, Marshawn Lynch. Let me set the scene for you.

The New England Patriots had just driven the ball all the way down the field, scoring their second straight touchdown and erasing a 10-point, fourth quarter deficit. The Seahawks got the ball back with just over two minutes remaining and all three of their timeouts.  After a few short plays that got him near midfield, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw up a bomb to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

The ball seemed to float in the air for ages, and when it finally came back down to earth it appeared to have dropped to the ground, marking an incomplete pass. However, upon a second glance, it turned out that Kearse had made a miraculous catch, deflecting the ball into the air off his leg and catching his own ricocheted pass. The play put the Seahawks at the five-yard line with 1:14 remaining in the game; with the Seahawks running one more play to wind the clock down, the stage seemed to be set for the Patriots to lose another Super Bowl off a miraculous catch by the opposition.

Then, the unimaginable happened. Instead of running the ball, the Seahawks decided to attempt a quick slant pass, but there was only one problem. Instead of resulting in a touchdown, or even falling incomplete, the pass ended up being intercepted by New England safety Malcolm Butler, effectively ending the game.

And just like that, the Seahawks’ bid to repeat as champions was over, and New England quarterback Tom Brady had just won his fourth Super Bowl title. It was all over in a flash.

So why exactly did the Seahawks decide to attempt a pass when the seemingly obvious choice was to run the ball? Nobody is sure, but Seattle’s Head Coach Pete Carroll has claimed responsibility for the call, stating that he was hoping to catch the Patriots off guard, with their goal-line defense on the field.

As typically happens, there are people who are unsatisfied with this explanation, and are convinced that all sorts of things happened to cause Carroll to make such a play call. Some feel that Carroll wanted to lose the game on purpose, while others claim that the Seahawks refused to run the ball with Lynch because of the supposed feud between the two parties. Neither of these seems very likely, as the Super Bowl title was on the line, but people will always speculate.

The game ended with a brawl between the two teams, which is a shame because it puts a damper on an otherwise-excellent game. Perhaps the Seahawks just wanted to get their pent-up rage and incredulity over the strange play call out of their systems (which is, of course, ridiculous and nothing near a valid excuse). Whatever the case may be, the season is now over, and it is up to the teams to start rebuilding and looking toward the draft. The Seahawks are the early favorites to win, but will have some issues to address before such things become anything close to a reality, such as a looming contract negotiation with Lynch, and the reports that superstar cornerback Richard Sherman must undergo Tommy John surgery for his elbow.

No matter who everybody was rooting for, there can be no denial that it was a very exciting game, and one that will hopefully be emulated in years to come.


About The Author

-- Senior | Assistant Sports -- English: Journalism

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