In the sports world some losses cause more anguish than others. The old saying that losing by one point in the last second is more hard to handle than being blown out by 35 rings true in some cases.
We have absolutely no idea what is going through the mind of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll months after his team dropped a heart breaker in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots.
You already know the sequence of events: Seattle was down by four points in the final seconds in an attempt to repeat as champs. Instead of handing the ball off to Marshawn Lynch from the one-yard line, the Seahawks put the game in Russell Wilson’s hands. Though Wilson made a solid pass to Jermaine Kearse, Patriots defensive back Malcolm Butler made an even better play, jumping the route and intercepting the pass.
At the time of the play, none of us understood why Carroll and company wouldn’t just pound the rock with its All-Pro running back.
Months later, and Hall of Fame head coach John Madden seems to think this one play call will stick with Carroll for the rest of his life:
“That will torment him forever,” Madden said, via the Los Angeles Times. “Winning one game is hard. Getting to the Super Bowl is hard. Then getting that close and losing has to be tough, because we only remember the winners of the Super Bowl. One of the biggest gaps in sports is the difference between the winning and losing teams of the Super Bowl. They don’t invite the losing team to the White House. They don’t have parades for them. They don’t throw confetti on them. Does it haunt you? Hell yes, it haunts you. I’m still haunted by some championship games.”
Unfortunately for Carroll, the legendary head coach likely isn’t wrong here. Even if Seattle goes on to win three more titles under him, Carroll will wonder why he didn’t hoist the Lombardi five times. It’s the moment in time that can create many restless nights—Carroll having nightmares of Lynch driving the ball into the end zone for the game-winning score.
For his part, Madden knows about heartbreak. Despite being one of the winningest head coaches in NFL history, he hoisted the Lombardi just once in his 10 years as the Raiders coach, losing in the conference championship game six times.
Photo: USA Today Sports