A Commentary on Super Bowl XLIX
Today, I bring you arguably the biggest moment and game in the history of professional sports: Super Bowl XLIX. With the annual installment taking place on February 13, it is only fitting that we take a trip back in time to unveil one of the game’s biggest moments.
Coming off their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history in 2014, the Seattle Seahawks had their eyes set on back-to-back championship rings. Seattle had it all, from a young star quarterback in Russell Wilson, a good receiving core, and the best defense in the NFL. It was a defense so good in fact, they received the nickname "Legion of Boom". The Seahawks had all the confidence a team could have, as just a season earlier they beat the Denver Broncos 43-8, the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history. The Seahawks started off slow in the 2014 NFL season, winning just six games after playing twelve of them. However, Seattle picked it back up and won six straight games, winning nine of their last ten. Seattle went on to finish as the best team in their conference, and went on to win their next 2 games to return to their second consecutive Super Bowl.
The team that met them in the big game? The New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady. We all know the Patriots for their history of winning, but at this point in time the Patriots hadn't won a title game in nearly a decade, and had lost 2 of them since winning their last one. To make it short, Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and the Patriots organization needed another championship under their belt. This was Tom Brady's lowest point of his career and he needed something to shut down critics, who were very hard on Brady over the course of the season. The Patriots had to overcome a lot, but eventually went on a run halfway through the season to also finish as the best team in their conference. The Patriots returned to the Super Bowl for the first time in three seasons.
However, the Patriots troubles didn't end there. Have you ever heard of the term "deflategate?” Yes? A lot of you probably know it because of this story. The Patriots found themselves one game away from the Super Bowl. New England had to face the Indianapolis Colts, in which they completely dismantled, defeating the Colts 41-7. Considering it was one of the biggest blowouts in playoff history, the league accused Tom Brady of deflating the footballs that were used for the game, just before the game started. Deflating the footballs would make them easier to throw, and it caused major controversy surrounding Brady, the Patriots, and the entire NFL.
Despite the most controversial scandal in the history of sports, the league decided that there was no way that the Super Bowl wasn't going to be played. So, on February 7, the Seattle Seahawks finally got to face the New England Patriots. If you have never watched this game, I urge you to do just that. Super Bowl XLIX was perhaps the best Super Bowl of all time, from the opening kickoff to halftime. Both teams were snapping back at each other like those two frantic shoppers fighting over a doll on Black Friday. The game was tight and as tough as nails. By halftime, no team seemed to have the edge as the score was tied 14-14.
Both teams knew they had to overcome something, we all just waited to see which team was going to heat up. That team was the Seattle Seahawks. The second half saw Seattle jump out to a ten-point lead. The Legion of Boom frustrated the Patriots offense after getting their second interception of the night. Everybody knew that if the Patriots were to win the game that Tom Brady was going to have to have the best comeback in Super Bowl history. As you guessed, that is exactly what happened. The Patriots offense pulled it together to make it a three-point game after a touchdown from Brady to Danny Amendola. After the defense got another huge stop, Tom Brady did it again and took the lead with just two minutes left in Super Bowl XLIX.
This is what Seattle was "made for,” as Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said in the huddle. The Seahawks had two minutes left, which was plenty of time to put together a game winning drive. Wilson made a big throw to running back Marshawn Lynch to get the Seahawks to mid-field, then fired it downfield a few plays later to wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, an undrafted receiver. Kearse made one of the greatest catches in NFL history, and after a four-yard run by Lynch. The Seahawks found themselves one yard away from their second consecutive championship. Should be a pretty easy call, right? Give the ball to the running back, he gets one yard, game over.
The deflategate scandal, no title in a decade, and Tom Brady's legacy may all very well be on the line. The play begins, and to a huge surprise, Russell Wilson doesn't hand the ball to the Lynch, but instead drops back for a pass. Wilson throws the ball to a cutting receiver and is overcut by an undrafted defender named Malcolm Butler. Malcolm made the biggest defensive play in the history of football. He intercepted a pass on the 1-yard line, winning the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl, and perhaps saving Tom Brad's legacy.
Not only was the game spectacular, but it was the most watched television broadcast of all-time and still is to this very day. It is crazy to think how one interception, one play, and one undrafted rookie with a dream made everything go away for the Patriots. It all just goes to show that no matter the circumstance, no matter the obstacle, you can achieve anything you want in life.
Ian Farmer is a student in the Associate of Arts program at Ashland Community and Technical College and resides in Greenup, KY. His dream is to become a sports journalist or sports analyst.