By: Connor Lenahan
The two players above, New England’s Malcolm Butler and Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse, were the stars of the final minutes of last night’s Super Bowl. Kearse made a juggling, unbelievable catch to put the Seahawks on the five yard line with under a minute to play. Two snaps later Butler rendered the catch a memory by picking off a pass to seal the Patriots’ 4th Super Bowl title. This sequence gave just about everyone I know a mild stroke for a few reasons.
1. How in the hell did Jermaine Kearse actually catch that? Seriously, having seen the David Tyree and Mario Manningham catches live I would rank this one as the most impressive. Not because I’m a Seahawks fan, but because it took me until after the game had finished to even realize he had caught it. I thought it hit the ground five different times. But it never even came close. What?
2. The big one – Why not run Marshawn Lynch? The Seahawks had done so on the last play before the Butler interception. Lynch is not just a power back, he’s a freight train. He scores that TD almost certainly – if not on the first try, then the second – and Seattle wins back-to-back titles.
3. We all agree this isn’t Russell Wilson’s fault, no? I mean, with the spacing that Lockette had I would make that same throw every single time. Malcolm Butler deserves any and all credit for making this play – which gets a trillion times more impressive when you realize how far off the ball he was. Butler was rookie corner. He is and was not Darrelle Revis. This wasn’t a bad pass, this was an amazing defensive play.
4. But, that’s still Pete Carroll’s fault. Football strategy is one thing. Running your best player on the most important play of the season isn’t up to debate. Carroll is at fault here. He took said fault after the game was over.
Super Bowl 49 was yet another unbelievable finish in a long stretch of amazing games. The Patriots can’t seem to win a title without making it interesting – all four titles for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have come down to late game heroics one way or the other. But I’ll stand behind the three play sequence of Kearse-Lynch-Butler as the most unreal finish I’ve seen.
I have been a Seattle Seahawks fan since middle school. I have rooted for the New England Patriots for as long as I’ve been a sports fan because I have family in Boston and, you know, live here. There is a large part of me that is upset the Seahawks didn’t win last night – all claims to the contrary that I may have made proved false when I reacted infinitely more excited when Seattle scored than New England. But I also cannot be furious that the Patriots won. I mean, have you ever seen a championship parade? This Wednesday is going to be insane, especially given we just got our third foot of snow in a week.
But that wasn’t the only reason I was excited for the Patriots last night. Despite rooting for their opposition, I sat with my girlfriend Laura who was rooting for the Pats. She has, up until now, been skeptical of football as a sport to be a fan of. However, after rooting on the Pats, her home team as she was born in Massachusetts, she turned to me and told me “If I wasn’t a fan of football before then I am now.”
I got my Seahawks Super Bowl last season. Friends of mine like Matt Gronsky (40, 43) and Matt Bruzzano (45) got theirs a few years ago. It’s a good feeling to see your favorite team win and a bad to see them lose. But I can at least be happy that now I’ve got Laura, who got her’s last night, to watch our teams try to get another one next year. I’m not a Seahawk, nor a Patriot. I am simply a man who likes watching absurd amounts of football on Sundays. And now I’ve got someone willing to do the same with me. Even with a Seahawks loss last night, I still ended up a winner.