More than two years later, we’re still debating Russell Wilson’s goal-line interception that cost the Seattle Seahawks a win in Super Bowl XLIX. We’ll probably still be talking about it years from now.
It seems like the Seahawks are still dealing with the fallout, too.
When the Seahawks were very public about entertaining trade talks with cornerback Richard Sherman, it was unusual. They seemed more interested about telling everyone about the trade talks than actually trading Sherman. A fascinating piece by ESPN.com’s Seth Wickersham connected some dots, and they seem to trace back to Wilson throwing that interception to New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.
It’s one of the most famous plays and play calls in NFL history. From the 1-yard line, Wilson threw to Ricardo Lockette over the middle, Butler jumped the route and made an unbelievable catch. Even if the ensuing explanation for calling a pass rather than running with Marshawn Lynch made some logical sense to anyone willing to listen – with one timeout facing second-and-goal, the Seahawks didn’t have enough time to run three times, so they planned to pass once, save the timeout, then run twice with Lynch – it turned out terribly. And apparently Sherman has never forgiven or forgot it.
Here’s what Wickersham wrote:
“According to interviews with numerous current and former Seahawks players, coaches and staffers, few have taken it harder than Richard Sherman. He has told teammates and friends that he believes the Seahawks should have won multiple Super Bowls by now. And with just one trophy and the window closing fast, he has placed responsibility for that failing on the two faces of the franchise: Wilson and Carroll. … He’s been disillusioned not only by that single play more than two years earlier but also by his coach’s and quarterback’s response to it.”
The story is a great look inside the dynamics of a locker room, and especially the unique Seahawks locker room. No team in the NFL has more outspoken personalities than Seattle. The story discusses a divide between the offense and defense, or more specifically between some defensive players players and Wilson. Even before the Super Bowl loss, “the defensive players noticed Russell Wilson seemed to be the favored son,” Wickersham wrote. Wilson is rarely criticized by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, which is part of Carroll’s ceaselessly positive approach. As a result, the resentment over the Super Bowl interception has apparently grown. Perhaps that’s a deep-seated reason for Sherman’s sideline blowups last season, which seemed to contribute to the Seahawks making the trade talks a matter of public record.
Sherman and Wilson did not do interviews with Wickersham for his piece.
The general takeaway from the story is that it isn’t so easy for teams to put devastating losses in the past and move on. The Seahawks have a Super Bowl title, yet they are having a hard time getting over the Super Bowl they lost. It’s something the Atlanta Falcons will have to deal with as they try to put the Super Bowl LI collapse behind them. It won’t be easy.
The Seahawks are still one of the NFL’s best teams, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they made it back to another Super Bowl this season. It sounds like they need to get beyond some old issues if they’re going to make that happen.
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