When the Seattle Seahawks needed Marshawn Lynch to do the kind of talking he does best, they did Sunday night to Lynch what he does to media every day: ignored him.
There they were with a second consecutive Super Bowl championship within their grasp, the football on the New England Patriots one-yard line, and in their backfield was a running back who speaks loudly when the football is his. He’s as punishing a runner as any coach would want at his disposal.
“Everybody says, ‘Why don’t you just run it?’” coach Pete Carroll told NBC news after the game.
Well, we know what Carroll did, which is why his Seahawks are former Super Bowl champs. For instead of relying on Lynch, Carroll decided to let Russell Wilson pass, which led to a game-sealing, goal-line interception.
You don’t dream of dumber decisions than Carroll’s, unless your dreams often end in nightmares. To Seahawks fans, Carroll and everyone who watched the closing seconds of Super Bowl XLIX, all of it was a nightmare.
One can only imagine what Lynch, an All-Pro grump, thought as this sequence played out. He was undoubtedly left speechless, incapable of finding the words even if he were willing to share what he thought.
No one wanted to hear his thoughts, though. They wanted to hear Carroll’s or Wilson’s. Coach and quarterback had a lot of explaining to do afterward. Their explaining began and ended with this question: Why didn’t you give the ball to Lynch?
The question will be one that defines this Super Bowl, as it did Twitter and the blogosphere from game’s end until now. The question trumped the praise Tom Brady deserved for rallying the Patriots from 10 points behind to a 28-24 win.
But even Brady couldn’t have possibly thought the Seahawks would throw the football when they were within a bullish Lynch run of grabbing a field-goal lead with 20 seconds remaining.
Sports has always had its boneheaded moments – those sequences, those odd calls that doom an athlete or a coach to a lifetime of ridicule.
It doesn’t matter that Pete Carroll has one Super Bowl trophy and an NCAA championship on his mantel. Some people will remember him for those, and perhaps they should.
But in the flush of the strangest call in Super Bowl history, Carroll won’t be able to outrun the second-guessing he earned for himself. He’ll be asked evermore why he didn’t call on Lynch.
The coach won’t have a good answer; no good answer exists. Carroll won’t even benefit from Lynch’s deciding to talk, because nobody cares what Lynch might have to say now.
He’s simply an ancillary story, just as he’s tried to be from the season’s start to the season’s end. He’ll get his wish; he’ll get it because Carroll didn’t give him a chance to star.
The coach called a pass play instead of letting “Beast Mode” run his Seahawks to another Super Bowl title.
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(Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)