I was so upset last night after the end of the Super Bowl, I had to wait 12 hours and get a good night’s sleep before I could coherently put my thoughts into words. Those of you who know me know that I am passionate about football. Not the teams or the hype, but the game itself and what it represents. I am old school. If football were a religion, I would be a Fundamentalist, Primitive, foot washing, Apostolic Pentecostal. As for Super Bowl this year, I did not have a dog in that fight. Not a fan of the Seahawks or the Patriots. But I watched and was pleased that it turned out to be a good, competitive game between two talented and well coached teams. But, after the way it ended, I feel I must preach a little bit about why the Seahawks lost, when it seemed victory was inevitable. Inevitable in a way that, had it happened, people would be talking about for the next 50 years.
….In a word, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl because they do not have HONOR. And, they do not respect the football gods.
Football is a collision sport. It is the modern day equivalent of the ancient gladiatorial games. It is a game where strong, well trained, well motivated men don full body armor and helmets and engage in mortal combat, “mano o mano”. Only the strongest and bravest survive.
Football is a game where speed and quickness meets brute strength. A lot of brute strength. The heart of football is something called ‘rushing’. That is a fancy name for picking up the football and running straight ahead to see who can stop you. I am sure even cave men used to do that. Pick up a rock, yell to your mates “Hey, I am gonna run this rock right through there. See if any of you guys can stop me!”
So, last night, Seattle has the chance to be the first team to win 2 Super Bowls back to back in like 20 years. They start their last drive down 4 points with 2:02 to play. They move the ball a little. Then, with less than a minute to go, they complete a pass that clearly shows that the football gods believed that Seattle should win. Marchand Lynch, who runs like a small steam engine at times, carries the ball down to the half yard line. So now Carroll just need a half yard, just 18 inches, to make football history. 18 inches. That is just slightly longer that the width of your laptop screen. Understand, Seattle has a hell of a running back, with 5 very big, mean, motivated men weighing a combined total of over 1500 lbs. in front of him. They only need a foot and a half. All they have to do to win the Superbowl is run the most basic play in football, the tailback dive up the middle and get just 18 inches.
So, what do they do? Do they hand off the ball? Do they match strength with strength? Do they make a call like Vince Lombardi or Chuck Knoll would make? Do they line up and say to the Patriots “Hey, I am gonna run this rock right through there. See if any of you guys can stop me!” Do they win the game and bathe themselves in glory for all time? No. Instead, they line up and run some mamby pamby, West Coast, basketball style, dumbass “set the pick” pass play. And it was intercepted. Oh yeah, there’s that. Hey Pete, a guy named Woody Hayes used to say that when you throw the football, 3 things can happen and 2 of them are bad. Yeah.
After the game, Pete Carroll magnanimously took the blame. “It was my fault”, he said. Ya think? That play call was SO bad, it was read and intercepted by a defensive back that, when the season started, was selling fried chicken at Popeye’s. Really? And you got beat by a team that plays with under-inflated balls. Come on, Man! Line up and play FOOTBALL! Smash mouth, straight ahead, big boy football. Granted, there are times to run those “pick” plays or other tricky passes. But this was not one of them. This was a time to buckle up your chin strap, pull your jock up tight and push the other time off the ball and get those yards.
Alas, it was not to be. And the Seahawks, like gladiators of old, lost because they did not fight with Honor when it counted.
So, the Patriots will go down as the winners, Tom Brady takes another MVP award and the thing people will be talking about when I am dead and gone is a bone headed call when the game was on the line. Sad day for lovers of football, no matter who your team is.
I don’t want to be too hard on Pete Carroll. No matter how boneheaded he may be, apparently he is my cousin Matt Cotton’s long lost twin.