Thinking in Moments
I will never, ever forget Super Bowl 49. As a Seahawks fan, the game was traumatizing. If you’re not familiar with what happened, watch this clip and pay attention to the commentary.
Our team had made immeasurable improvements over the last several years. We won our first Super Bowl the year prior to the clip above, and the city went nuts. Crazy celebrations in the streets, Seahawks flags on every car and building… even a day off from school.
We were riding a high, then found ourselves in the national spotlight a year later facing the best quarterback in NFL history.
It all came down to a decision on 1st and goal. We had a few plays to score a touchdown and ultimately win the Super Bowl. With Marshawn Lynch in our arsenal, arguably the most explosive running-back in the league, everyone thought coach Pete Carroll would call for a running play. Even the Patriots’ defense expected Lynch to grab the ball, arranging themselves in defense of a run.
But Pete Carroll made one of the most controversial decisions in sports history. Russell Wilson received the snap and took a shot into the end zone.
“I can’t believe the call. I can’t believe the call. You have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield…” The commentators, emotional and in shock, made their thoughts abundantly clear.
Pete Carroll was smeared. Local newspapers called him gruesome names, dubbing his decision the worst ever. But was his decision actually deficient, or did he just catch a bad break?
The Patriots' defense was set up for Marshawn Lynch. There was a less than 0.5% chance that the Patriots intercept in the end zone according to AWS statistics. And, it was only 1st and goal — we would’ve had three more attempts (kicking a field goal wasn’t an option).
Statistically, Pete Carroll made a controversial but solid decision. The probabilities were heavily on his side. If Wilson connected with the intended target and the game ended then and there, Carroll would’ve been hailed as an experienced…