WASHINGTON, February 3, 2015 — Sunday night’s Super Bowl is still a big topic of discussion nationally for a lot of reasons – most of which have been widely reported. Brady’s 4th Super Bowl ring and 3rd Super Bowl MVP award. The NFL’s wise and belated decision to do what they should have done all along – take official custody of and responsibility for securing all pigskins used in the game.
And of course, Seattle’s decision to throw the football with 20 seconds left on the clock at the 1 yard line. There is even a conspiracy theory in circulation that ties in bizarrely with all of the viral publicity of what is being characterized as the worst play call in Super Bowl history. More on that in a moment.
Plus, who can forget Katy Perry’s sensational half time extravaganza? Ms Perry proved during the halftime show that she seems to know how to convey sexy, but keep it classy – to quote Ron Burgundy. I have to imagine that Pepsi was pleased at the results and that Miley Cyrus was nearly suicidal.
On another front, if the early reports of the common reaction to the much anticipated Super Bowl ads that cost advertisers up to $4.5 million for a 30 second ad were indicative in general, much of that money was wasted. Maybe it is every year, but one can only hope that T-Mobile didn’t pay Kim Kardashian much money for her obnoxious attempt at self parody. Twitter reaction indicates that it was a huge fail.
For her part, anytime Kim can get her face or butt in any kind of publicity cycle, she sees it as a win. On Sunday Kim sent out an Instagram celebrating her ad. ‘I have something special for you guys.’ While Kim’s dwindling 18-34 demographic was probably elated, the rest of us are annoyed.
But aside from all of these noteworthy events, is another aspect of the biggest sporting event in the Western world that has only received fragmented attention and that is the unseemly collective behavior of various members of the Seattle Seahawks both during Super Bowl 49 and as the final seconds ticked off the game clock.
It started off in the 3rd quarter of the game. Seahawks Wide Receiver Doug Baldwin caught a Russell Wilson pass to put Seattle ahead by 10 points. No sooner had the touchdown been scored when Baldwin made the ill considered decision to launch the latest and crudest iteration of end zone clowning.
Baldwin mimed a ‘moon’ – otherwise known in the urban slang vernacular as ‘dropping trou’. However, it didn’t stop there. Baldwin squatted down as if seated on a toilet and pushed out the football in a manner doubtlessly meant to suggest the results of the human digestive process. It worked.
The end zone officials were not amused and assessed a 15 yard penalty for the generic foul of ‘excessive celebration’. Excessive it was – not to mention inappropriate and pointless. Critics of post touchdown antics note that such self-congratulatory behavior is narcissistic, unsportsmanlike and odd considering that scoring points is part of the athlete’s job description. But it plays with a certain demographic, just not the NFL and referees.
Immediately following the ‘Poopdown’ episode, which was not shown by NBC cameras to the viewing audience, Richard Sherman was shown signaling to viewers and Seahawk partisans a hand signal indicating the numerals 2 and 4, an obvious reference to the number 24.
Some speculation continues as to whether Sherman was indicating a pending change in the score or alternately, was dogging out his counterpart on the Patriots, Darrelle Revis, who had just been burned on the touchdown. Revis’ uniform number happens to be 24.
More than a few observers including NBC Color commentator Chris Collinsworth think that Sherman’s bit of improvised sign language was a taunt and a bit of early gloating about what he, Richard Sherman, assumed at that juncture to be the inevitable trend of the game’s outcome.
Admittedly there was a palpable feel in the air that Lady Fortune had capriciously wended her way over to the Seattle sideline and had blown a farewell kiss to Brady and Belichick. But she proved fickle and faltering all the way down to the wire and ultimately and for time immemorial, bestowed her grace on one young rookie cornerback named Malcolm Butler (whose days as a fry cook at Popeye’s are forever over), to the chagrin of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson.
Concurrent with this is the Marshawn Lynch debacle that in hindsight should have been obvious from a mile away. While nearly everyone watching the game expected the handoff and the resulting burst over the goal line from the seemingly unstoppable Lynch; Coach Carroll, QB Wilson and OC Darrell Bevell concluded that a pick route was the coup de gras in order for the Patriots. Pete King writing in Monday Morning Quarterback sets the scene:
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, on second and goal from the New England one, saw Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette lined up in a stack formation to the right. The Seahawks spread their formation at the one, despite having an Earl Campbell type of bruising runner, Marshawn Lynch, plus one timeout, on their side. “I knew they were going to throw it,” said Butler. “From preparation, I remembered the formation they were in and I knew they were doing a pick route.”
In a blink of an eye defeat is snatched from the hand of victory and the happy balloon of Seahawk fans shattered spitefully. But spite still had an Ace left to play. After Tom Brady’s snap count caused a Seahawk to jump with a resulting 5 yard penalty enabling the Patriots to vacate the hazardous endzone, Seattle players initiated an inglorious brawl with 18 seconds remaining in the game.
Oh, and the Marshawn Lynch conspiracy theory attempting to explain the inexplicable call at the 1 yard line? Another writer named King – in this case Jamilah King, writing in Colorlines, describes the meme:
The theory goes that there were major financial, public relations and football reasons for Russell Wilson and not Lynch to be the one who ends the game in glory. If he throws that touchdown for the victory, Wilson is almost certainly the Super Bowl MVP. He gets the commercial. He gets to stand with the commissioner. And oh, by the way, he also gets his new contract, one that will fasten his prime, at only 26 years old, to the Seattle franchise. Marshawn Lynch is also due a new contract. Marshawn Lynch, had he punched that ball over the goal line, would get to be the one handed the MVP trophy. Marshawn Lynch maybe gets on the mic to say Lord knows what.
It’s entertaining, if a little far fetched. One thing is for certain. If the Seahawks are fortunate enough to get another shot at the Super Bowl, it might behoove Pete Carroll to not only maintain his players’ focus on championship level skills but to also school them in demonstrating quite a bit more personal class as befitting a Super Bowl contender.
Bill Belichick might have ‘deflategate’ on his resume, but he doesn’t have players on his team that behave like losers. Pete Carroll – take a lesson.