Looking Back at Super Bowl XLIX, A Year Later

A year ago, Tom Brady collected ring number four in dramatic fashion. [www.rslive.bslcore.com]

Tomorrow’s Super Bowl will make it a half a century since the beginning of true organized American football. Throughout the last half century there have been many great plays to win the big game that rank among the best ever. Take David Tyree for example, a receiver that made a name for himself in Super Bowl XLII after making a crucial (and nearly impossible) catch off of his helmet. This play was considered by many the most memorable play in super bowl history. That play helped the Giants upset the Patriots and take home the Lombardi Trophy, but no play was more important or memorable that Malcolm Butler’s game winning interception a year ago.

Like the helmet catch, fans watching on both sides will not soon forget what happened in the last minute of the game. Patriots fans, however, may remember it forever. The story is simple- but there is so much more to it than first meets the eye. The video is great, one could watch it on loop and it would never get old.

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Malcolm Butler was the real star of Super Bowl XLIX after getting the game winning interception. [theplayerstribune.com]

It all started two plays before the final play. Malcolm Butler was lined up against Jermaine Kearse who was on a streak route. Butler played it perfectly and it looked as if he had saved the game by breaking up the pass. But as Patriots fans have become accustomed to recently, Super Bowls will not be without drama and heartbreak. So, just as they were about to pronounce the play dead, Kearse maintained his focus- bobbled the ball- and reeled it in. The pain from 2008 had returned. The Pats were done. The Seahawks had perhaps the most dominant running back in football in Marshawn Lynch and would most surely run the ball in as they had four downs and forty seconds. Bulter came out of the game as the Patriots came out in a goal line run set. From the five, the Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, handed the ball of to Lynch who ran hard but was taken down at the one by linebacker Dont’a Hightower in perhaps the game’s most underrated critical play. The next play is the one that will go down in history as the game’s defining moment. Belichick decided to go in a three corner formation. After Kyle Arrington struggled early in the game, Malcolm Butler had overtaken him as the third corner behind Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner. In a sound bite now ingrained in Patriots fans hearts, secondary coach, Brain Flores, shouted, “Malcolm, Go!” Butler ran on to the field knowing he had to make a play. And before we knew it, Wilson snapped the ball, dropped back to pass, targeted receiver Ricardo Lockette in the middle but all he found was Malcolm Butler’s chest. Patriots fans cheered like never before and Seahawks fans were left with one question: why? And that is the best play in Super Bowl history.

Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch had no problem running it in early in the game. Should have gotten another chance when it counted the most? (Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images)

Should the Seahawks have run the ball?

In retrospect, yes. But only in retrospect. At the time it was a smart decision- and I say that in all honesty. Obviously people will say it was a stupid decision, but that was only because of the situation. On the year, Marshawn Lynch was one of the worst running backs when rushing from the one yard line. He only converted 1 time in 5 different attempts; I repeat, only one time in five attempts. I’m not a football coach but I don’t think I would feel very comfortable with only a 20% chance of a play to win a Super Bowl working. I’ll reiterate the fact that I think if they could go back, they without a doubt would have run the ball. All I’m saying is that if you look at what they saw before they decided to call the play, it was the right choice.

This year neither the Seahawks or the Patriots will play in the Super Bowl for the first time in three years, but the matchup this year looks in many ways similar to that of last year. Last year’s Brady vs. Wilson is now Peyton vs. Cam and we will see if the tested veteran or the young gun will come through in the clutch. Who knows, maybe a young star will emerge once again.



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