Internet: Man, Pete Carroll is dumb. Iím so smarter at football than him.
RR: I gotta say, thatís a bit of a surprise to me. Carroll is one of the most accomplished and respected football coaches there is. Maybe of all time. How did you get to be more knowledgeable about football than he is, internet?
Internet: I mean, heís pretty good coach and all. But he should run the ball with The Beast Mode at the end of the game, but instead he throwed an intercept.
RR: I think Russell Wilson threw the interception. Iím pretty sure that neither he nor Carroll intended for that to happen. The defensive backs made an incredible play. Look at the picture. The one on the bottom had to stand up the Seattle receiver, to prevent him from running interference. Then Butler had to cover all that ground and come up with a great hip check while catching the ball.
Internet: Well, I know. But Pete called the play what made the interception. He should be fired. I bet all the players hate him.
RR: Well, theyíve gotten to back to back Super Bowls and won one and Carroll has helped make a lot of those players richer and more famous than they would be without him. But maybe youíre right. Who should they replace him with?
Internet: Oh, Iím right. Believe me. I donít know who they should hire instead. Someone better? Maybe Bo Schembechler.
RR: Well, he would have run the ball, I think.
Internet: Did you see that meme about how the kid from the commercial would be smart enough to call The Beast Mode?
RR: Yes. In a game like football, you definitely want be completely predictable and obvious.
Internet: It was obvious because it was right.
RR: Whatís the difference between a strong safety and a free safety?
Internet: Well, one is free… like, it has more freedom and stuff. But the other has to be stronger.
RR: You seem to love Marshawn Lynch.
Internet: His named Teh Beast Mode. Heís so hard to tackle and would score for sure. When you have the best running back in football, you just give it to him.
RR:†When did you decide that Lynch is clearly the best RB in football?
Internet:†About two hours after the interception.
RR: You know that Lynch was stuffed on 3rd and 1 earlier in this very game, right?
Internet: I forgot that, but that just means he was due. Also, he is a great short yardage back because he is so hard to tackle.
RR: Not really. He is a great power runner in the open field. But he is not a great short yardage back. Maybe, just maybe, Pete Carroll knows the the personnel on his team better than you do.
Internet: Bullshit. I watch Sports Center. I listen to Mike and Mike on my way to work.
RR: So you probably know that Lynch had 5 carries from the one yard line this year and that he scored only once and his total yardage was -1.
Internet: Didnít you see him breaking tackles earlier?
RR: Yes. In the open field. Over the past five years, heís in the bottom quarter of NFL running backs at scoring from the one. In other words, he is not good at it, regardless of his nickname.
Internet: The Beast Mode! †Anyway, you canít throw a pass there. Itís too risky. Everybody knows that.
RR: Really? There were 109 pass attempts from the one yard line in the NFL this year. Thatís even counting any that might have been thrown by Johnny Manziel or Jay Cutler with low blood sugar or low giving a shit. They resulted in 66 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Internet: But a pass is risky.
RR: Dude, do you understand how hard it is to go 109 for 109 on something? You drop your keys while opening your car door more often than NFL QBs throw interceptions from the one. And this guy is supposed to be a top shelf QB, not just an average one.
RR: Furthermore, with just over 26 seconds left, one time out and three downs, Seattle probably only had time to run the ball twice. Meaning they had to pass it once.
Internet: You go for the win. Donít worry about fourth down. Thatís loser thinking!
RR: Sound reasoning. Look, you can still run the ball twice, if you want to. Why would you not also make use of the passing chance? Why not make use of all three chances available to you?
Internet: Beast Mode! Pete Carroll so dumb at football!
RR: Assuming you want to use all three downs, you have these options. This gets pretty interesting if you think it through. Letís keep in mind that it was second down from the one, with one timeout and twenty-six seconds to work with.
1) Pass/Run (time out) /Run. †This is, maybe, what Pete had planned. It should probably be Pass/X/X , because passing again wouldnít be a bad option. But I donít want to lose you. Anyway, on second down, you have the option to pass or run, with two plays remaining. The defence canít know for sure which way youíre going. This way, you get to pass against a goal line defence that must defend against the run. †If the pass is incomplete, you can then try two running plays, if you want to.
2) Run (time out) /Pass/Run †If you go this route, youíre using more or less the same three plays. But your pass on second down is much more predictable because, without the timeout, you might not have time for two more runs. That would mean you pretty much have to pass on third down and the defence could adjust accordingly. Where you get to pass against a run stuffing, goal line defence in the first sequence, you have to pass against a pass defence in this one.
3) Run (timeout) /Run/ Game might end or might not: †You could try to squeeze in two runs first and maybe a third. I donít know why you would, but itís possible to get the plays off. Obviously, after the first run, you call the next two plays ahead of time during the time out. But if, say, you get a penalty trying to frantically set up for the last play, the game is over.
Internet: Vaccinations cause AIDS†and white people eating Mexican food†is cultural appropriation. Also, they should have thrown a fade or something if they were going to pass.
RR: Oh, right. Everything you said up until now was demonstrably wrong, but you still know the Seahawks better than Pete Carroll. Maybe they donít have anyone who is good at catching fades to the back corner. Thatís a difficult play to pull off.
Internet: Then throw a pass to the outside.
RR: I donít have any statistics here, but when I think of goal line interceptions, what few there are, many of them seem to happen on the outside. You know, youíre throwing the ball †a greater distance and the defenders don’t have to worry about a deep ball and all that stuff.
Internet: You gotta minimize risk.
RR: What is less risky than something that has been safe 109 times out of 109? Also, itís not like there is a zero percent chance of a fumble on a running play.
Really, all of this is fascinating. Never mind the game of time out chicken that Carroll and Belichick might have playing in the seconds leading up to this play. I mean, you have two guys who are absolutely brilliant at what they do, battling wits. In the space of a few seconds, they process all the stuff we went through, in a high pressure situation.
Carrollís decision was counter-intuitive, but it looks to be close to optimal. Arguably, he should have called a different pass, though Iím going to assume he had good reasons for making the call he did. But, on the whole, itís just interesting to look at two brilliant coaching staffs in a tactical battle. Plus, this is one of the best demonstrations ever of how the results oriented herd (and by the way, when the play happened I was part of that herd) and morons in the press are so often so wildly†off base. Here they are whooping like idiots and celebrating their superior intelligence as they call a brilliant decision “the dumbest play call ever,” simply because they are too fucking dumb to understand it, even now that the information is all available.
Internet: Pete Carroll is a idiot! The Beast Mode!
RR: Well, Iím going to commit suicide, unless you want anything else.
Internet: Being morbidly obese isnít actually unhealthy or unattractive. The U.S. is going to implement sharia law. Every TV show is misogynistic. Benghazi is more important than the war in Iraq.
RR: OK. So, “Fade To Black,” a straight razor and a hot bath it is.