Beyond the Bison: “Whoever Did This”

Julian Dorey, Senior Writer

I’m still stunned.

One thing I’ve always said about football is that, of all the sports, it is the one game that places the ultimate onus on the coaching staff to impact the outcome of every game, every drive, and every play.

The game-planning, organization, play-calling, etc. are all critical parts of the game that take place from none other than the sideline most of the time.

This past Sunday, despite not playing their best game, the Seattle Seahawks 53-man roster was flat-out better than New England’s respective 53. Even basing things on none other than the “eye test,” the Seahawks were just a little better than the Pats throughout the game.

But therein lies the problem. That conclusion only emanates from what the players did on the field.

As for the coaching battle? Well, in what is surely a sad, unfortunate, and dooming judgment, the Seahawks were blown away strictly on the basis of one decision—and we all know what decision it was.

With the clock ticking down (40, 39, 38, 37), Seattle QB Russell Wilson inexplicably lined up in the shotgun formation—from the half-yard line. Never mind the fact that Seattle still had a timeout to stop the clock at any point after a play if necessary. Never mind the fact that the Patriots’ defense was clearly stunned by Wilson’s latest heroic effort—and appeared completely defeated already. Never mind the fact that Seattle possesses the NFL’s best, most-powerful Running Back, Marshawn Lynch, who had just completed a routine 5-yard carry to get the ball near the goal line.

Never mind the fact that Seattle’s world-class coaching staff was one miniscule power-dive away from establishing the first NFL dynasty in 10 years.

31, 30, 29. “It must be a delayed handoff,” I thought. “Dumb but whatever.”

27, 26. “Oh my God they’re going to throw. If it’s middle of the field, Belichick’s ready.”

25, 24, 23, 22, 21….game over.

Make no mistake about it, Malcolm Butler made a nice play—but he was ready for it because Belichick would never miss something that obvious.  Despite the situation, the deep-red-zone inside slant has been a staple in Pete Carroll’s playbook for years.

The coaching staff told Russell the play. He knew the only throw that it called for. He made a perfect throw (literally pristine—watch the replay).

It didn’t matter. The other side knew what was coming. The Patriots’ coaching staff was smart enough to capitalize on a mistake of epic proportions. Wilson’s staff was too dumb to see the obvious choice that was staring them in the face.

One play determined the entire game-coaching performance.

And one play took one coach from a B- to an A—while it took the other from an A to a zero.

Why? Because every casual fan in America knew the next play call (or two or three, if necessary). Feed the rock to the man who literally owns a brand called “Beast Mode.”

Congratulations to Bill Belichick and the Patriots for withstanding the most ridiculous media non-story ever to perform admirably. And congratulations on a game that the team won fair and square.

I’ll never forget this one because the wrong roster won.

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