Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

I did not watch any of this year’s Super Bore (I mean Super Bowl) as promised in my previous blog. However, I have since seen the majority of the commercials initially aired during Super Bowl 49 (I knew I would), and of course I have now seen the play (numerous times) that everyone is still talking about. The Super Bowl appears to be lingering in the minds of many as there has been much criticism over a particular play called by the Seattle Seahawks’ offense during the waning moments of the championship game. The Seahawks elected to pass the ball on 2nd and goal from the 1 yard line instead of handing the ball off to their talented running back, Marshawn Lynch. The quick pass was intercepted by the New England Patriots’ defense which ended Seattle’s final offensive possession along with their hopes of winning the game.

Those questioning the decision of passing the football instead of running it, under those circumstances, includes football analyst, Jesse Palmer. The ex-NFL backup quarterback and former contestant on the reality television show, The Bachelor, seems to think that specific play call was the worst in Super Bowl history. The still single, 36 year-old would be better off expending some more time and energy on finding a mate rather than jumping on the “haters'” bandwagon and fostering such nonsense. Once again, I feel that it’s left up to me to be the voice of reason, amongst a sea of bandwagon jumpers, and explore the other side of the controversial call. I think I am the perfect person to look at this situation objectively since I would have preferred both teams losing Super Bowl 49, if that were at all possible, but I don’t think a game of that magnitude can even end in a tie.

The truth as I know it is the play sent in to the huddle from the Seahawks’ sideline, whether approved by the offensive coordinator or the head coach himself, was not a bad call whatsoever. In fact, if that play would have resulted in a touchdown (as intended) I’m positive most of those “armchair quarterbacks” doing all of the complaining and second guessing would instead be using such adjectives as ingenious and brilliant in describing that particular play. Whether the play was successful or not really isn’t the point. The play called by Seattle on 2nd and goal was a good one. It just wasn’t executed properly, and that’s very unfortunate for the Seattle Seahawks and their fans. The sport of football can literally be a game of inches as was quite evident in this year’s Super Bowl.

In many instances a football game will generate an array of shoulda, coulda, woulda comments by the time the last whistle blows. Maybe Seahawks’ quarterback, Russell Wilson, woulda been better off not trying to force the ball into the hands of the receiver. Perhaps he coulda spyed a more open player on the field if he woulda just held on to the ball a little longer or if he had looked a little harder. Maybe the quarterback shoulda taken advantage of his God-given athleticism and tried to scramble into the end zone himself, or perhaps he simply shoulda thrown the football out of bounds to allow for his team to regroup and set up for another play. The consensus seems to be, amongst the naysayers, that Seattle running back, Marshawn Lynch, shoulda been called upon when the team was so close to the goal line.

I can’t entirely disagree with that assessment because Marshawn Lynch is a beast! That, by the way, is a good thing in football. He undoubtedly runs with authority and surely coulda scored the winning touchdown, in the League’s most coveted game, if only given the opportunity. Maybe. Maybe not. Common sense tells me if the majority of sports analysts, football fans, “Monday morning quarterbacks,” and everybody else and their mothers, thought Marshawn Lynch shoulda been the player getting the football in that situation then most-assuredly the Patriots were also aware of that probability, and in all likelihood their defense would’ve been prepared for precisely that. I would think when a defense is solely focused on stopping a certain player, and indeed that player gets the ball, then the chances of him either fumbling or being tackled for a loss significantly increases.

I have seen many, many, many NFL games in my lifetime and a number of them materialize into pretty much the same scenario as what transpired at the end of this year’s Super Bowl. Numerous times I’ve witnessed an offense, near the goal line, hand the ball off to their running back, sometimes four times in a row, and many times they find their efforts resulting in only a field goal attempt or losing possession on loss of downs. Marshawn Lynch may or may not have scored the winning touchdown, if given the last opportunity, in Super Bowl 49. We will never know. I just hope if New England’s Head Coach, Bill Belichick, or any of the Patriots’ players are found guilty of deflating footballs this past season, after the NFL’s so-called “Deflategate” investigation, that their Super Bowl win will be deemed null and void. If not, I will be disappointed and feel somewhat misled if the adage, “cheaters never win and winners never cheat,” does not ring true.

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