By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
For the Patriots and New England, Super Bowl XLIX was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of victory with the way it happened. The instant switch from agony to jubilation may never be matched again. But on the opposite end of that spectrum is the Seahawks, who arguably never recovered from Malcolm Butler’s franchise-altering (for both teams) interception.
The Seahawks infamously struggled to bounce back in the seasons following Super Bowl XLIX, as evidenced by a sweeping Seth Wickersham story that detailed a budding feud between the offense and defense. Patriots fans know all too well that a Wickersham piece could turn out to be too neatly salacious and sensationalized to be entirely accurate, so who knows just how bad it got in Seattle after the Patriots pulled the rug out from under them. But the proof is in the numbers.
The Seahawks never completely imploded, because they still have one of the league’s best quarterback-coach combos in Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll. But they haven’t won more than 11 games or advanced past the divisional round in the five seasons since that iconic Super Bowl.
Carroll earned a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s along with his counterpart in Super Bowl XLIX, Bill Belichick. So at one point in a Zoom conference with media, he reflected on the most painful loss of his career and easily his worst coaching decision. He admitted it was a major challenge for the Seahawks to recover from such a shocking defeat.
“It was such an emotional way to lose for everybody, and we had to rebuild everybody’s brain. We just bludgeoned our way through that. I tried to just make sure that I was unwavering. So, that was the challenge: To allow for the grieving and all of that, and then see what the issues were, and then put it back together. Yeah, that was hard. It was a hard challenge. It was really hard on some players. And some of us will never get over it.”
It’s just another example why Belichick is clearly the superior coach. He made his own infamous decision that contributed to a Super Bowl loss, and the Patriots responded by going back to the Super Bowl the very next season and winning it.
Most Patriots fans will justifiably look at the Butler interception as an unforgettable play and stroke of coaching genius by Belichick to have Butler ready to make that pick in the first place. But there’s no question that Carroll … let’s get serious, all he had to do was hand it off to Marshawn Lynch one or two more times. It doesn’t take anything away from the Patriots to acknowledge that Carroll got absolutely obliterated in the coaching department on that play.
Carroll is acknowledging it again. And with the Seahawks reaching their highest win total since 2014 with Richard Sherman now two years removed from Seattle, perhaps they’re on their way back up to becoming an NFL superpower once again. Let’s hold out hope that the Pats-Seahawks rematch is still coming.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.