Cornerback Malcolm Butler. Super Bowl hero.In other interviews, Mr Butler remarked on his prior study of game tapes, and noted Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson look toward his receivers out of the corner of his eye. Do tell. And second-guessers everywhere have a new object of second-guessing.
Making one of the two or three greatest defensive plays in the history of America's biggest game, Butler literally stole Super Bowl XLIX Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Butler, a little-used rookie free agent from obscure West Alabama, reacted beautifully on a slant pass in traffic as the fate of his New England Patriots hung in the balance with about 20 seconds left.
Russell Wilson's dart for Ricardo Lockette at the 1 was right on target. Then Butler, demonstrating amazing reactions, cut in front of the wide receiver and made an interception for the ages.
Time stood still. No one moved. Was the game really over?
The interception held, the Seattle Seahawks' bid for a repeat was dead and the Patriots owned their fourth Lombardi Trophy in the last 14 years, 28-24, in an all-time game over the tremendous defensive team from the Pacific Northwest.
"That's a play that's supposed to work against the two guys covering one-on-one," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "And the guy jumped underneath and made the play."
Wilson had worked this scenario before was to throw to the bunch formation where Kearse and Ricardo Lockett were lined up. Wilson threw to Lockette, but little-known cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the route and picked off the pass.Luck is the residue of design. And give Patriot quarterback Tom Brady props for drawing the Seahawks off-side on the ensuing play. (It was so noisy in the stadium, it's unlikely that he called "New York Joker" or "T'ree - tvenny-t'ree-yumpin-yiminy.") But the Seahawks lost their minds.
It was an irony of huge proportions for Packers fans, who blasted coach Mike McCarthy for two weeks over being too conservative at the goal line. The Seahawks were ultra-aggressive and they paid the ultimate price for it.
The Seahawks lost their composure after the final play. A fight broke out after the Patriots took a knee and it made the Seahawks look like poor losers.To the eternal anger of Seattle fans, who now speak of the worst call in Super Bowl history. The Seahawks, however, may have demonstrated the worst manners in Super Bowl history.
Their destiny took a hike on them.
The Seahawks scored on four straight possessions in the second and third quarters to take a 24-14 lead. Doug Baldwin pretended to go potty after scoring a touchdown. Richard Sherman made a “24” gesture to the television cameras, likely taunting rival New England cornerback Darrelle Revis for giving up a score.I have to wonder, though, how it is that tossing the football on the ground in the end zone in such a way that it spins is unsportsmanlike conduct, while tossing the football to an official and Lambeau Leaping is not ... All the same, a loss of composure in the Seattle locker room afterward might be a sign of troubles to come.
“We just looked at each other trying to realize the gravity of what we just witnessed,’’ Carroll said.Yes, but the same indiscipline manifested itself on the field.
This will be a critical repair job by Carroll that will test all his famous skills of motivation and morale-building. Losses like this have the potential to take on an afterlife. Though most players refrained from criticizing the play call at the end, some second-guessing leaked out.
On top of all that, the Seahawks didn’t exactly comport themselves with poise at times. Doug Baldwin’s touchdown display of defecating the football was crass and vulgar. After that Baldwin score, which made it 24-14 Seahawks, Richard Sherman signaled “two-four” into a television camera, apparently mocking Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis, beaten on the play.Seattle will play Detroit, a team that has a tendency to goad its opponents, in the upcoming season. That should be interesting.
But it was a little early for gloating, as they found out. And the brawl at the end, no matter who instigated it, made the Seahawks look like a team that had completely lost its cool.
Still, the overriding memory of this game will be one play, as Carroll himself noted in the opening statement of his postgame remarks: “Let me just tell you what happened because, as you know, the game comes right down and all the things that happened before are meaningless to you now.”