By Alex Mulhall – Staff Writer
Down four points with under a minute to go, the Seattle Seahawks found themselves on the one-yard line with a chance to make Super Bowl history.
Marshawn Lynch, one of the most physical runners in the National Football League (NFL), looked primed and ready to make a push to win the game.
Instead, Seahawk’s Head Coach Pete Carroll called a quick slant, which resulted in an interception and a loss on the biggest of all stages.
“Shocked” doesn’t quite describe most sports fans and media members after the game.
NBC’s broadcasting team for the game, Cris Collinsworth and Al Michaels, couldn’t hold back their sheer disbelief on air. Twitter quickly interrupted with “worst call ever” tweets.
No one could understand why Carroll would pass up what seemed like a sure thing in Lynch.
Was there something more nefarious brewing behind the scenes that might have motivated the pass call?
Following the game, columnist for NFL.com and well-respected journalist Mike Silver reported that some unnamed Seahawks believed that Carroll had a “vested interest” in making sure that Lynch was not the hero of the Super Bowl.
Lynch became famous (or infamous) for his terse press conferences where he refused to answer questions from media members. The unnamed player proposed the theory that Carroll instead wanted quarterback Russell Wilson to become the hero of the Super Bowl.
“The theory goes that there were major financial, public relations and football reasons for Wilson and not Lynch to be the one who ends the game in glory,” Dave Zirin of The Nation said.
Wilson is up for a contract this year, as is Lynch. If Wilson made that game winning interception, his star status would make him, and the Seahawks organization, millions of dollars, sign a long term contract extension, and tie himself to the Seahawks for years to come.
On the other hand, Lynch will absolutely be a highly sought after running back, but due to his off field habits and relatively old age (running back years are basically dog years), they would be extremely hesitant to hitch their wagon to him.
While all of the “facts” of the conspiracy line up relatively well, they don’t hold much water with the public.
Junior Zach Montgomery, who played high school football and is a lifelong fan of the game, believes it was nothing more than a coaching error.
“Carroll just dropped the ball with that one,” Montgomery said. “He probably thought he could catch the Patriots off guard but got burned. Give me the ball and I probably could’ve scored from there.”
Members of the national media also disagreed with the conspiracy.
“The Seahawks took too much heat for the final play call,” Bill Simmons of Grantland.com said.
“Statistically, it’s slightly less likely to throw a pick than fumble from the one [yard line].”
He goes on to show how open the field must have looked for Wilson as he released the ball. Honestly, it looks like one of the simplest throws one could make.
Many Patriots fans chalk up this conspiracy talk to simple Brady-hating, a common trend among severl NFL fans.
“No coach of Carroll’s caliber would be concerned about making one player a star when the Super Bowl is on the line,” sophomore and longtime Patriots fan Mitchell Adamic said.
“He was concerned with the clock and the game. They just weren’t expecting our defense to be that great. People just get so mad when Brady wins because he does it so often.”
Everyone loves a conspiracy theory, and this one certainly gained a lot of traction in the weeks since the Super Bowl.
Perhaps no one will ever know why Carroll decided to throw the ball instead of take the sure play, but almost everyone can agree that it probably wasn’t the smartest decision.