The Seattle Seahawks were once one of the most dominant teams in the NFL on both sides of the ball. The 2021 version of the team is a far cry from the team that went to back-to-back Super Bowls. Pete Carroll made a decision that would follow him for the rest of his career. One of his former players made a strong statement about the impact the call had on a potential dynasty in Seattle.
Pete Carroll’s controversial call in Super Bowl XLIX
The 2013 Seattle Seahawks were a very good football team. They finished with a 13-3 record in the regular season, securing the NFC West crown and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Seattle’s impressive season culminated with a convincing 43-8 blowout victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
After returning most of their key contributors from the 2013 season, the Seahawks entered 2014 with high expectations and aspirations of a repeat.
Pete Carroll led Seattle to a 12-4 record and another division title. The team advanced past the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers en route to a Super Bowl matchup against Bill Belichick‘s New England Patriots.
The Patriots were leading the Seahawks 28-24 with just over two minutes left in regulation. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense had the ball. They drove down the field and ended up on the one-yard line.
With Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, Pete Carroll decided to throw the ball. Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler picked off Wilson and sealed the victory for New England.
Cliff Avril talks end of the potential Seahawks dynasty
Marshawn Lynch was a five-time Pro Bowl selection. He led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Everything was set up for Pete Carroll to hand the ball off to his star running back and win the game.
Instead, the Seahawks opted for the more challenging play. Carroll came under fire for the decision, and rightfully so.
Cliff Avril, a member of that Seahawks team, believes the controversial call played a role in ending the dynasty years too soon. He was a guest on Catchin’ Fades with Aqib Talib.
Aqib Talib asked Avril if the one play affected the team moving forward. The former Pro Bowler had an interesting response.
“At first, when I was in it, I didn’t think it played a role,” he said.” “But after the fact, you start talking to some of the guys, and you start hearing how guys felt. Yeah, I think so. I think that messed up the momentum.”
Avril added that the players had the utmost confidence in Lynch to get the one yard needed to score a touchdown. “I think a lot of guys started questioning the message. If a coach has a philosophy and everybody bought into it, then you switch it up. Now, everybody’s looking at you like, ‘oh wait, you been lying to us this whole time?'”
In hindsight, the former defensive end sensed a shift in the vibe in the locker room.
“I think if we win that second one, we probably win a third one in the next year or two,” said Avril.
The Seahawks had potential to dominate for years to come
Cliff Avril may have a valid point. The Seattle Seahawks had the talent to build a legitimate dynasty, which is hard to do in the NFL.
Pete Carroll is known as a players’ coach, and he had plenty of talented players on his roster.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was the leader of the team and made three Pro Bowls from 2012 to 2015. Marshawn Lynch was one of the most feared running backs in the game.
The receiving corps of Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin, and Jermaine Kearse was not elite, but it was solid. The receivers developed chemistry with Wilson, and it worked.
The defense was the strength of the Seahawks during that span. The Legion of Boom featured Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner. The secondary received most of the credit, but the front seven held its own. Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright made everyone else’s jobs easier.
The Seahawks had something special brewing. Whether Pete Carroll’s decision changed the team’s trajectory or not, we will always remember the call for the wrong reason.