GLENDALE – In one of the most memorable endings in Super Bowl history, thanks to Malcolm Butler and his game-clinching interception of Russell Wilson at the goal line, the New England Patriots claimed their fourth title, 28-24 over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and vindicated their name in the process.
Butler, an undrafted free agent rookie safety out of Western Alabama, who had a total of 15 tackles in 13 career games, made the biggest play—perhaps in Super Bowl history, and Patriot lore—in silencing the critics and tsking the proverbial hot air out of the Deflategate controversy, that had dogged the team since their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Quarterback Tom Brady set Super Bowl records in touchdown passes (13), attempts (37) in passing for 328 yards and single-handily rallying the Patriots from a Super Bowl record ten-point deficit against the No.1 defense in the NFL.
While Super Bowl XLIX will be remembered for Butler’s late pick and a coronation of Brady’s ascension into the “greatest of all time” pantheon alongside Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, this game will also be remembered for the missed opportunities by the Seahawks.
In addition to their very questionable decision to not run Marshawn Lynch with less than 30 seconds left at the one-yard line—and the game on the line—Seattle missed on two golden opportunities to put the game away late as Wilson and the Seahawks offense dropped the ball.
In addition to this late-game gaff, which will be debated and second-guessed in the Pacific Northwest for years to come, Seattle’s litany of errors in allowing New England to rally from ten points back and becoming the fourth defending champion to lose, made for what was a star-crossed evening in the Valley of the Sun.
But for the Patriots, most notably owner Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick and Brady, this one has to be the sweetest as they are the last team standing, yet again.
Below are some of my own thoughts and post-Super Bowl XLIX observations;
1.) In my opinion, this Super Bowl served as the greatest benediction for the #Deflategate drama generated by the media and bitter fans resentful of the Patriots success. I’m sure that outside of Boston–and most notably in Big Blue Nation–that everyone groaned at the sight of Kraft, Belichick and Brady being crowned champions again.
2.) As I predicted before the game here, NE came out with a chip on their shoulder and played their game, and instead of folding against pressure, Brady stepped up in the pocket and made clutch throwns to Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Shane Vareen.
3.) Seattle got lucky against Green Bay with that fake field and onside kick. Clearly New England’s defense burrowed from the Packers game plan in keeping Wilson in the pocket and daring him to beat them from the pocket, as they were better in being more disciplined defensively and not play “hero ball”, which almost happened courtesy of Kearse’s Tyree-like catch. For once the same football gods that falsely smitted them in the last two Super Bowls, smiled on them and gave Pete Carroll his comeuppance in trying to get too cute when it mattered the most.
I mean you have the man known as Beast Mode at the ONE YARD LINE with less than 30 seconds left and you pass?
Lastly, All the Patriot haters who decided to hop on the Seattle bandwagon can go back to root for their real team once more and New England didn’t deflate no balls or pay off the refs, or whatever conspiracy excuse that you will manufacture to make yourselves feel better, New England came out with a solid game plan and executed it, and Seattle’s brashness and boldness–for once came back to bite them in the end.
The right team won, and for the fourth time it is the Patriots, and rightfully so.