With just one yard to go in order to pull ahead of the Patriots in the final seconds of the Super Bowl, most people have found the Seahawks call for a pass to be inexplicable. Why pass on that play when you can run the ball with Marshawn Lynch?
I don’t think the play was a good call. And, as a huge Patriots fan, I’m super glad things turned out the way they did.
However, when evaluating that play call after the fact I think that there’s a slight distortion that comes about due to hindsight. Here’s why.
If the Seahawks had only one play to get into the end zone, then passing instead of giving the ball to Marshawn Lynch would make little sense.
But the Seahawks had three plays left to score. So it could be argued that it wasn’t unreasonable to try a pass, when you are looking at this from the perspective of three plays, rather than just one.
In other words, due to the fact that the play failed, it’s easy to end up evaluating the situation as though this single play was to be their only chance to score. Of course, that’s how it turned out, but they didn’t know that. When you look at the situation from the assumption, which they had at the time, that they would have three opportunities, then throwing one pass play and then switching to the run can make a bit more sense.
Of course, that perspective doesn’t take into account the risk of throwing an interception that comes with a pass play.
And so, we are back to where we started: it was indeed a bad call, given the abilities of Marshawn Lynch.
My point, though, is just that it’s easy to assess this call in a way that accidentally implies the Seahawks knew they only had one play to get into the end zone. When you look at it from the perspective of thinking they likely would have three opportunities, it is at least a slightly smaller blunder than it can seem at first.