Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Your Pete Carroll Conspiracy Theory Is Dumb

Normally in the wake of a close Super Bowl loss, the losing team's fans start indulging in conspiracy theories as to why their hometown heroes lost and they were deprived of the opportunity to set their favorite couches on fire in the street. The usual suspects include the refs, the NFL, organized crime and, presumably aliens, not necessarily in that order. A bad throw on 3rd and 9 becomes proof that the losing team's QB was being held in a basement somewhere by burly men from either Palermo or Murmansk (take your pick) who had wagered millions in Vegas; a blown call becomes evidence the refs have been ordered not to mess with one team's chances of winning.

But until this year, the conspiracy theories had never been directed at the losing team's coaching staff. There's plenty of buzz around the notion that Seattle coach Pete Carroll decided to throw the ball from the one yard line in order to make sure that marketing-friendly quarterback Russell "What A Nice Young Man And Did You Know He Played At NC State?" Wilson was the hero instead of surly, crotch-grabbing, Media-day-bullshit-calling Marshawn Lynch. (A second, complimentary conspiracy theory holds that the Seahawks didn't call Lynch's number because they're planning on letting him go this offseason and didn't want the extra fallout releasing a Super Bowl hero would generate. Whatever.)

Now, on a certain level this is funny. Carroll himself has more than a whiff of the conspiracy theorist about him, so seeing him hoist on his own petard as context-free evidence gets slung together into a an airtight mud ball of logic is kind of amusing. But like most conspiracy theory, it's ultimately self-contradictory and thus wrong. Yes, giving Lynch the ball at the 1 was the obvious play. So obvious that everyone in the sports world, including soccer commentators from Uzbekistan, knew it was the right call. And if Uzbek soccer commentators can dope it out, so can Bill Belichick. So maybe, just maybe, doing the obvious thing isn't always the best thing.

(Also there's the little matter of the fact that they gave Lynch the ball the play before. If they were going to freeze him out, don't you think they would have actually frozen him out?)

And ultimately, it doesn't matter. The Seahawks lost. They lost because of a bad play call - if you're going to pass in that situation, shouldn't you be to throw to the corner of the end zone so that the sideline and back line of the end zone work as extra defenders against an interception. They lost because Russell Wilson threw to the worst possible receiver and didn't place his throw particularly well. They lost because two of their key defenders went out earlier in the game, weakening their pass rush and secondary. And with a little more time and a little softer target, Tom Brady made them pay.

But they didn't lose because the Bilderberg Group told Pete Carroll to keep the ball away from Marshawn Lynch. That would be silly. And besides, a bunch of them are Seahawks fans anyway.
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