Fewer than 10 minutes after Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots made a Super Bowl-sealing interception, the Wikipedia page of Darrell Bevell said, “Seattle Seahawks Offensive Coordinator and spawn of Satan.”
Bevell, in fact, wasn’t even the one who made the fateful pass play-call on the goal line with 26 seconds remaining.
Seattle Seahawks coach Carrol elected not to run the ball with the league’s best power back, Marshawn Lynch, in what appeared to be an easy rush at the goal line.
Lynch’s contract has just one year left after Seattle refused to give him an extension while he held out of training camp. Lynch has two options: play next season for $7 million, or retire. The determining factors in his decision could be a flipped bird, a lack of trust, and that fateful play call.
The decision not to give Lynch the ball on the goal-line can be reasoned away by one statistic: “Beast Mode” was s 1-for-5 on scoring from the 1-yard-line this season – including three stuffs in one game against the 30th-ranked rushing defense of the New York Giants, according to Grantland. Furthermore, there were only 26 seconds remaining and the Seahawks only had one timeout. It makes sense to not run the ball.
However, those rushes against the Giants came in a regular season blowout win; this was the biggest moment in both Lynch’s and Quarterback Russell Wilson’s careers up to this point. To not call Lynch’s number – no less in favor of a slant pass to a receiver who’d caught 18 passes lifetime before this – scoffed at everything Lynch represents. It kicked dirt on Lynch’s abilities and if there’s anything a national audience knows about Lynch other than that he loves Skittles, it’s that he hates being disrespected.
This lack of trust to get the ball in the end zone from the coaching staff must have burned Lynch up, especially on the biggest stage. This is the guy who rumbled 67 yards, broke eight tackles and led the Seahawks to the biggest upset of the 2011 playoffs. He carried Seattle’s franchise into prominence and helped younger stars develop. They proceeded to shun him in the biggest moment.
This has happened before. In a situation of far less magnitude, the Seahawks sideline called a pass play on a 3rd and 1 from the 1-yard-line in a 2013 game against the Cardinals.
He flipped off his coach:
That was a regular season game.
Had giving his coach the finger not tipped off the defense – not that the Patriots needed it – Lynch very well may have done it again.
(If you’re wondering, Wilson threw a slant pass for a touchdown and the Seahawks won the game.)
Lynch doesn’t seem like the type of player – a la Brett Favre – who needs football to define him. He doesn’t seem like the athlete who hangs around looking for an easy payday and the team camaraderie.
Then again, I don’t know him. His teammates rave about his abilities on the field and his friendship off it. Despite that, many say they don’t know what he’ll do, they say he’s unpredictable.
He’s threatened to walk away from the game before; no one wants to call his bluff.
Lynch, who turns 29 during the NFL Draft weekend, is standing on the 1-yard-line. He has a choice: Run the ball once more for the last year on his deal, or he can pass the torch.
Carroll’s hoping he doesn’t pass.
Sam Fortier is a displaced New Englander living in New York as a freshman at Syracuse University. He likes baseball, crunchy peanut butter and using the word “wicked” as an adjective. He’s not a fan of purposefully misspelt business names (“Kathy’s Kut & Kurl”) or grammatical error’s. You can read him here every Monday, follow him on Twitter @Sam4TR, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.