What a Game! by Aaron Wong
Coming off last year’s anticlimactic Super Bowl, this year’s match was a complete treat. From the pre-game lead up with DeflateGate and the Brady vs. Sherman rivalry, the actual game turned out to be a great battle throughout, but in the end, the Patriots made one more critical play than the Seahawks. While there were some other plays that do deserve merit, from Jeremy Lane’s goal line pick to New England’s stop of Marshawn Lynch of a 3rd & 1 in the redzone to start the 2nd half, and THAT RIDICULOUS CATCH, no play was bigger than Malcolm Butler’s heroics that brought a sudden death to Seahawks Nation’s hopes of a repeat. Regardless of your opinion of Darrell Bevell’s play call for a Russell Wilson pass rather than a Beastmode run, a Seahawks decision to run with 3 wide receivers against a goal line defense might have been chastised just as much if it wasn’t successful. Amidst all the blame that people have put on Bevell, Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson, or Ricardo Lockette, people seem to forget to credit Butler for making a fantastic play. Whether it was through scouting, a read on the quarterback, or if he simply “had a vision”, Butler should be the main reason why Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have added ring number four to their championship collection.
A Legacy Solidified by Robert Petrosyan
This was one great Super Bowl to watch. Two most successful (and hated) franchises of the decade squaring off in a battle of old and new, with the longtime Brady and Bill combo leading the Patriots against Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and the upstart Seahawks. There weren’t too many Super Bowls that had this much at stake in terms of significance and ramifications. Had Seattle won, they could have been considered the dynasty of the decade. Russell Wilson is only going to get better as he enters his prime, and he will likely have Marshawn Lynch around for a few more years. Once he gets some upgrades at receiver, his numbers could really explode (whether that new receiver will be Super Bowl breakout Chris Matthews, rising sophomore Paul Richardson or a potential new guy remains to be seen). Even with some cap casualties and free agency departures, I would expect Wilson to squeeze out some more Super Bowls for the Pacific Northwest. However, Super Bowl 49 was not one of those wins.
After winning three Super Bowls in four years, the Patriots continued to dominate the regular season, but they weren’t the same in the playoffs, losing to the New York Giants twice in the Super Bowl in a bizarrely similar fashion. Their ability to win big games came into question, especially after being blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs early in the year. DeflateGate did not do much to help their cause either and for the two weeks leading up to the Big One, the endless allegations seemed to taint the Patriots. Had New England lost here, Brady and Bill would still be surefire Hall of Famers, but they wouldn’t have been considered the best. However, despite the last two minutes of the game looking like a mirror image of the Patriots’ losses to the Giants (right down to the ridiculous catches), this one turned out differently thanks to the great play recognition and interception from undrafted rookie corner Malcolm Butler. One could argue that Butler, who won the game for the Patriots, should have been MVP (he’s at least getting the truck). Or maybe Julian Edelman, who moved the chains when needed and caught 9 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. But while Brady did throw two bad interceptions, it is easy to see why he got Super Bowl MVP. The entire offense moved through him for four touchdowns and getting 37 completions against one of the best secondaries in NFL history is an amazing feat. With his fourth ring, Brady tied Terry Bradshaw and childhood idol Joe Montana for most championships. Taking into account the two extra title appearances and the era that he won them in, Brady may have superceded Montana in the discussion of best quarterback to ever play. Because of this victory, not only did the Patriots show that their dynasty is still alive and well, but they may have staked a solid claim to being the best dynasty of all time.
A Fitting End by Divs Parmar
There’s a line from the chorus of “Uptown Funk” that says “don’t believe me, just watch.” As Tom Brady lifted that Lombardi trophy into the Arizona night sky, I couldn’t help but think about all that the Patriots have accomplished coming off the doubts that people had of them this season. People will always doubt, no one wants to support an uncertain outcome or a loser. But once you deliver and show people results, they’ll come around and sing your praises. That’s how life works – no one cares until you prove it first. The Patriots didn’t ask for a legacy, they went out and got the job done.
It’s easy to say this in hindsight, but that ending was not a given. Toward the end of the 3rd quarter, the Seahawks were up 10, with the ball, and driving into New England territory when Jermaine Kearse drops a deep ball down the left side. A touchdown there makes it a three possession game, effectively ending New England’s chances. But credit to Tom Brady, calmly rallying the troops as only an all-time great can do. Brady led two touchdown drives, bringing the Patriots ahead right late in the fourth quarter.
This brings us to 2nd and goal, Seahawks simply needing a touchdown to lift the Lombardi for a second time. Malcolm Butler, a rookie, perfectly reads a slant route and sprints in to pick off the pass. After the game, Butler talked about the importance of preparation for a situation like that. What a great explanation: luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity. And the only reason Butler could be in that position is because he put in the work to seize the moment.
It was truly a gut punch loss for the Seahawks. Seattle gut punched Green Bay in the conference championship, but had to suffer that fate today. The gut punch cycle was eerily predicted by a Bill Simmons reader Chris from Austin. It’s a feeling that every sports fan knows, no matter what team. Epic wins and terrible losses will happen, but that is the beauty of sports, and what makes sports great.
Pats-Hawks, A Quick Recap by Frank Ross
Of course, those 5 minutes were still the best part and won’t be forgotten. Tom Brady leading his guys down the field for another win is vintage. However, it seemed to be all for naught as he saw another miracle catch happen in front of him. It seemed to be the luckiest of the three in my opinion, but it shifted the whole game towards the Seahawks and it looked like the Hawks would win. However, the next play completely reversed that. Belichick outsmarted Carroll by not calling a time out and forcing him to run a pass play. Had BB called time, the Hawks would have ran a power run formation. That playcall will be hated forever. Even if they call a pass play, why not do it on the side of the endzone like Brady did instead of in traffic? That play allowed Brady and Belichick to cement their legacy. The last part of the Superbowl, the fight, while somewhat childish, was refreshing. It was nice to see true, genuine frustration and anger on a football field. Seeing those emotions run makes the game more fun. Granted, the Hawks still were in the wrong and should not have done it, but it made the game more enjoyable if that makes any sense.
Overall, 10/10 game would watch again!