Conspiracy theories are fun right?
No matter how silly they may sound, there is something about believing in nefarious circumstances in an otherwise simple situation that captures the imagination.
However, the belief in such theories can be just as strong and real despite what actually occurred. With some members of the Seattle Seahawks, that could be the case in regards to the fateful decision to throw at the goal line at the end of Super Bowl XLIX.
Former Seahawks receiver Ben Obomanu joined Brian Abker of Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Wednesday and said he’s heard from current players on the team that believe the decision to throw on second-and-goal at the 1-yard line was rooted in a desire by the coaching staff to make Russell Wilson the MVP instead of running back Marshawn Lynch.
“I’ve heard a couple people express that sentiment,” said Obomanu, who played for Seattle from 2008-12. “A couple players, current players, have expressed that sentiment and I can give them some leeway because I know it’s hard to process and when you take a step back and you take a couple weeks post-game, post the emotions running, you start trying to find questions to ask yourself and when you get back with your parents, your friends, your buddies, all these kind of ideas creeping in. I think though some guys have expressed that same concept of actually believing that the organization in some kind of way was trying to allow Russell Wilson to be the star.
“With the whole thing with Marshawn and interviews and not giving interviews and the MVP conversation and cars and all those things that happen on the field, the guys have expressed ideas of it being easier to handle Russell Wilson accepting those kind of things and having that kind of thrust upon him as opposed to the possibilities that are unknown with Marshawn. I don’t know if guys actually believe it. I don’t know if they’re hearing it from family and friends but that’s one, I don’t know if you guys have heard it, but that’s one of the craziest kind of things that I’ve heard in my conversations with guys trying to process this whole thing.”
The decision to throw backfired horribly. Wilson was intercepted by Malcolm Butler to seal the victory for the New England Patriots. However, the thought the coaches were trying to do anything outside of winning the game seems pretty ridiculous for many reasons.
For one, the votes for MVP are collected before the end of the game, meaning the outcome of that play may have had very little to do with who won the award if Seattle had won. Also, Lynch got the ball on first down as well. If he isn’t tripped up a yard shy of the goal line, he’s the hero anyway.
Even though the play didn’t work, there is sound logic for throwing the ball on the play. New England had eight defenders near the line of scrimmage with one-on-one matchups on the outside. With one timeout left, throwing on second down would have allowed Seattle to run on both third and fourth down and get the plays off before the end of the game. The problem came in Jermaine Kearse getting jammed brutally by Brandon Browner at the line of scrimmage, which allowed Butler a free break at the pass intended for Ricardo Lockette.
It was the wrong decision to throw a slant and Seattle paid for it, but there is logical reasoning for Seattle to have handled the situation as they did. Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell just never factored in an interception as a possible outcome of the play they called.
Obomanu said the root issues that players may be struggling with is their desire for Lynch to be back with the team next season and hoping the play-call doesn’t push Lynch toward possibly walking away.
“I think guys are more concerned about having Marshawn back and so I think that’s where that conversation and those ideas stem from is the need and the want to have Marshawn Lynch come back and be an effective player,” Obomanu said. “So they don’t want anything lingering from the Super Bowl to be a determining factor in him retiring or something.”
That part could be very real. Even if there was no intent to make Wilson “the star” over Lynch in that play-call, if Lynch and other players on the team believe there was, it could create just as many trust issues for the players to overcome.