In every Super Bowl there are numerous tales created, from great plays to new-born heroes. Super Bowl XLIX did all of that and then some.
It was more than just a single great catch, or a great play. It was a much-needed game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks that could shine some light on an NFL season that has been fighting through dark controversies since the start. From domestic violence cases to controversies over the inflation of the balls, the NFL was surely hoping for a memorable Super Bowl.
The Patriots went on to defeat the Seahawks 28-24 for their first championship since 2005 in a game of back and forth scoring. There were no points in the first 15 minutes, and after only one stop in the red zone the game looked as if it was going to be low scoring. Only Tom Brady and the Patriots saw the red zone in the opening quarter, leading to a Brady interception.
If you’re an aficionado of numbers, the Seahawks were 12-0 this season, including playoffs, when collecting an interception. On the other side, Bill Belichick’s four Super Bowl wins have come with his teams not scoring in a single opening quarter. Traditionally when it comes to the Super Bowl, most numbers and stats are quickly thrown out the window, making it anyone’s game.
The interception thrown by Brady in the first quarter was caught by the Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane, who injured his arm on the play and did not return to the game. Tharold Simon replaced Lane, which helped a veteran quarterback like Brady find the defensive weakness. Brady began the second quarter finding his receivers, and in his second attempt in the red zone found Brandon LaFell for an 11-yard touchdown to begin the scoring.
For the Seahawks, the offense took a while to find its rhythm. Russell Wilson’s first complete pass came with 5:31 left in the second quarter, but it seemed to spark the team. The drive lasted for almost five minutes, leading to a three-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch. The Patriots came back with a drive of their own as Brady connected for a 22-yard touchdown pass with Rob Gronkowski. It left the Seahawks with only 28-seconds before halftime, which turned out to be more than enough. Wilson and Lynch led Seattle down the field for 80-yards before Wilson found Chris Matthews in the end zone, sending the game to half tied at 14.
The third quarter was all Seattle as they opened the half with a field goal and later a touchdown. It was a 17-point swing as the Seahawks looked to have the game shift to their direction. The crowd in Arizona seemed to be mostly Seahawks fans as they drowned out any Patriots fans.
After the game, Belichick was asked how concerned he was being down 10 points heading into the fourth quarter, to which he supplied the simple Belichick answer, “not as concerned as we were when were down 14 to Baltimore”.
Mid-way through the fourth quarter, Brady found Danny Amendola for a four-yard pass, cutting the lead to three. The momentum quickly shifted after the Seahawks went three-andout, ensuring a tense finish. Brady and the Patriots have always been known for being a clutch team and again they showed it. With 10-plays Brady took his team down the field to take a 28-24 lead on a touchdown pass to Julian Edelman. However, with two-minutes left in the game, the Seahawks still had time to make their own comeback.
Wilson and Lynch connected for a 31-yard pass, but that was not the most impressive 30+ yard pass from Wilson on this drive. With 1:14 left, the Seahawks decided to go down field again. Wilson aired it out to Jermaine Kearse for what will go down as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. With Kearse being knocked down, it seemed the ball had touched the ground. Instead, the ball hit off of Kearse’s leg and shockingly into his hands for a 33-yard catch.
The Seahawks got to the one-yard line, and with who is arguably the best running back in the game, had the chance to take the lead back. Following this, fans saw one of the worst play calls they’ll ever see, when the Seahawks decided to throw from one-yard out, leading to an interception and a Patriots Super Bowl win.
“It was not the right matchup for us to run the football,” said Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll, as he tried to explain the play call. “On second down we throw the ball to waste that play. If we score we do, if we don’t then we’ll run it in on third or fourth down.”
Carroll seemed to have a dream in mind, but it quickly became a nightmare. He did blame himself for the play and the game, but the criticism was coming from all angles. It was simply summed up on Twitter by NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith as, “the worst play call I’ve seen in the history of football”.
The interception came from Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler, who is now known as the guy who came out of community college to make one of the biggest interceptions in football history. Butler’s story is one for the ages as he broke down on the sideline afterwards with his teammates huddled around him.
“I knew they were trying to pick me and I just beat them to the point and jumped the route,” said Butler following the game. “I knew my team needed me, and I made the play.”
The Seahawks tried to be the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots in the 2004-05 seasons, but one bad play call ended that. Belichick and Brady will go down as the best coach-quarterback duo in the history of the NFL, as they’ve now won their fourth Super Bowl together, in addition to Brady netting his third Super Bowl MVP.
It was one of the better endings to a Super Bowl seen in a long time, and exactly what the NFL needed with all the controversy it has faced since week one this season.