Can we just stop and take a moment to appreciate how amazing this last Super Bowl was?
Over the last decade, the NFL has benefited from consistently noteworthy Super Bowl match ups, and last night’s instant classic was perhaps the best of the bunch.
Unless you’re a Seahawks fan, Super Bowl XLIX was an incredibly entertaining sports event.
It was tied at half, and things only got more interesting from there. Throw in a miraculous catch and a clutch, goal-line interception, and it’s hard to imagine how this game could have been any more exciting.
At the end of the day, however, the post-game conversation is focused, not on how great the game was, but rather, how bad Pete Carroll’s last play call turned out to be.
The Toughest Part of Being A Coach
Coaching is rarely easy, and there is perhaps no tougher moment than when you realize you made the wrong call. You will never meet a coach, a leader, or a human being who hasn’t experienced such a moment.
The measure of a man – the measure of a leader – the measure of a coach – is determined by how he responds.
Watching Pete Carroll’s post-game interview, I can’t help but admire his poise. After making what turned out to be a bad play call to lose the second biggest game of his career, Carroll responds in a way that helps me understand why his players love him so much.
“I told those guys, that’s my fault entirely. ‘Why didn’t you just run it?’ That’s a real good thought. But we had plenty of time to win the game, and we would have – in our minds – we thought we would have done it on third and fourth down. We had enough time left and we thought it would have worked out just right, but it didn’t work out that way.”
Carroll takes full responsibility, as head coach, even though he wasn’t actually the one who called the play. He acknowledges what fans and players were thinking and addresses what he was thinking while acknowledging it didn’t quite work out as planned.
From a practical perspective, it’s hard to argue with this look:
If you’re going to pass, this look is EXACTLY what you want. Targeting an undrafted rookie corner is EXACTLY what you want. Literally the only way this fails is if the quarterback leads the receiver instead of throwing back shoulder AND the corner makes one of the greatest defensive plays in Super Bowl history.
But in the end, hindsight is 20/20, and we know this play call ultimately led to a tough loss. But if you think the Seahawks are any less enthused about their head coach, think again.
After all, the man who could have taken the biggest slight from the call had this to say:
Marshawn Lynch asked if he’s surprised he didn’t get the football. Says “No.” I ask him, Why not? Says, “Because football is a team sport.”
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) February 2, 2015
Pete Carroll is an amazing coach. He’s turned the Seahawks into a powerhouse and they’re just getting started.
Was it the wrong play call? I think so.
Will this hurt for a long time. Probably.
But at the end of the day, when you look at Carroll’s response to this game, you see exactly why his players love him.
He’s real, and he’s the definition of a great leader.