Pete Carroll's Not So Super Decision

"There's Nobody To Blame But Me"

By Mitch Chortkoff

Sports Editor

A year ago Pete Carroll was a pro football hero.

A coach who had been fired by NFL teams twice early in his career had come all the way back, following nine years of college football glory at USC with a Super Bowl victory.

His Seattle Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL and had won the sport's biggest game.

But last Sunday Carroll made a colossal blunder. His team was 26 seconds away from winning a second straight Super Bowl. They were on the New England Patriots' one-yard line, second down. All Carroll had to do was let bruising running back Marshawn Lynch gain that final yard.

Lynch probably would have made it. He scored the most touchdowns of any NFL runner this season.

'We originally wanted Lynch to carry the ball, but the Patriots set up a goal line defense," said Carroll.

"So we decided on a passing play essentially to waste a down. We would have had him run on third down and fourth down if there was one."

The Seahawks' pass was intercepted by an undrafted rookie, Malcolm Butler, from a school little known in the football world, West Alabama.

"There is really nobody to blame but me." Said Carroll. 'The guy made an incredible play."

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tried to take the blame, saying "I'm the one who threw tha ball."

But Carroll wouldn't accept that.

The victory was the fifth Super Bowl triumph for both quarterback Tom Brady and Coach Bill Bilinchick.

Brady was named Super Bowl MVP, which carried the prize of a Chevrolet Colorado truck. He gave the truck to Butler.

Brady and Joe Montana are the only quarterbacks who've been named Super Bowl MVP three times.

This was the second decision regarded as a major blunder in Carroll's coaching career.

USC had won two consecutive national championships when it played Texas for the 2006 title.

USC led in the fourth quarter when Trojan star Reggie Bush stayed on the sidelines when his replacement, LenDale White carried the ball on a fourth down run that failed.

Texas took over and drove to a winning touchdown.

I had the highest regard for Carroll's coaching skills and his ability to establish a college football dynasy during his USC years.

When he went to the Seahawks I believed he was ready and was confident he's teach NFL opponents he could succeed at their game.

I still believe that. After all, not many coaches have guided their teams into two consecutive Super Bowls.

But Carroll will have to live with the mistake he made on Super Bowl Sunday.

He's facing it. He's not denying it. I give him credit for that.


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