Monday, February 2, 2015

Pete Carroll, Village Idiot?

("Seahawk's Final Play Call Roundly Criticized")

This was the mother of all "Monday morning quarterbacking" calls. This was the one that provided the brightest of lines in the biggest of moments between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

But what were the odds that this selection would be so monumentally unsuccessful, not only failing to accomplish its mission, but snuffing out the chance of success, not merely an incompletion but an interception?  Russell Wilson had not thrown a pass into the opponent's hands all day, had only to get the ball one yard to a receiver, and even if the airborne 12.5 pounds of pressured football fell harmlessly to the ground, the clock would stop and there would be ample time for two more attempts at glory.

In the first half, the Seahawks had a choice to make in the waning seconds between the certainty of field goal and the mere hope of a touchdown. If the play failed, there was the thought  hanging menacingly in the air that no points would be put up on the board. But the touchdown was scored, and those watching surely praised Coach Carroll for his daring and his determination not to let the pressure of the moment make him less willing to trust his judgment and instinct.

His decision in the final moments of the Super Bowl seems a horrendous miscalculation only because everything went as wrong as it could. There was probably equal chance that a hand-off would be bobbled, or an exchange between quarterback and center muffed, or even that Lynch would fumble as he struggled to break into the end-zone.

It will most likely forever be known as The Call, as though the coach decided to bring in the water-boy to do an end around. But it was probably statistically rational and fundamentally not nearly as absurd as history will suggest.

Did Pete Carroll freeze at the most crucial moment of the most crucial game?  Did he turn from genius to village idiot in the blink of an eye?  No and hardly. But he will forever wear a dunce cap in the eyes of the many millions who find truth only in results.

No comments: