Seattle's Game-Ending INT Makes No Sense No Matter How Much You Watch It

Presumably, you've seen this play by now. But repeated viewing is instructive, because enough looks at this miscarriage of tactics should put the lie to any rationalizations you might be batting around.


Was it going to help you to sleep thinking the Patriots surprised the Seahawks with a goal line package, like Pete Carroll says? Forget it; the pick play to the inside called here is precisely the thing you call against goal line where you know safety help isn't coming from the deep middle.

Thought you'd buy a small slice of comfort, in the wake of the hateful, evil, rumpled Bill Belichick winning a fourth title, knowing that the Hawks would have to call a pass at some point if they wanted to use all four downs, as has been tossed around? Weak! The Seahawks had a timeout left, and had an arsenal of junk-drawer plays to spring their junk-drawer receivers on rubs or picks or banging a defender off of the referee; you can run Marshawn, the best running back in the league—and importantly, particularly in this situation, the best at breaking tackles in the backfield and getting back to the line on plays that are blown up—and put off riskier calls to later downs. Worst case, you have to decide if you want to call two plays in the huddle after taking a timeout, or if you want to throw into a defense that knows you'll probably throw on third-down, which is a risk for which you'd be prepared.

And if you considered, with the conviction of Carroll-truther Twitter, that the call was a success because it laid this out before Russell Wilson:

Then look at the view below, where the timing is more obvious, and even if Wilson's pass hadn't been high and wide, it would have had to have beaten a charging defensive back to a spot. This is a play you can make, but it wasn't any kind of master call and miracle execution by New England. Plus, running a slant along the front of the goal line kills a lot of the time management benefits of a pass—and even the halfback flare and little in on the other side weren't going to change this.


The Seahawks are the last exciting team in football, and make aggressive, muscular plays and playcalls. But don't let anyone try to paint over this thing with an appeal to nuance. There is nuance here, but it's so completely aside the global condition of having waved off the best short-yardage back in football at the half-yard line, on second down, on the last meaningful play of the Super Bowl, that it may as well be barnacled along the crust of Pete Carroll's sphincter, because that's exactly where any sort of exculpatory argument will begin.