If Pete Carroll had simply let Scott Brooks call that final play, things might have been different
You were probably watching the big game last night, and you were probably watching when, with 26 seconds to go, one timeout remaining, second down and goal, down four points, the Seattle Seahawks had a chance to win. Beside Russell Wilson stood arguably the best running back in the NFL, and certainly the best running back in the Super Bowl. As Wilson took the snap, however, he did not hand the ball over to Beast Mode, who (advanced statistics show) had a 100 percent chance of scoring. Instead, Wilson ran the designed play, a quick slant to the right. Then he was intercepted by undrafted free agent Malcolm Butler, and Seattle lost the game.
The obvious question: Why didn’t they run the ball? Well, nobody knows what was going through Pete Carroll’s head when he OK’d that play. But all the same, this is not a website devoted to football. This is a website devoted to basketball. But, naturally, as I watched that play and wondered how I might have called something different, I also began to wonder what Scott Brooks of the Oklahoma City Thunder would’ve called. So I’ve come up with a little list, “The Top Five Plays Scott Brooks Would’ve Called on Second and Goal with 26 Seconds Remaining in the Super Bowl.” Here it goes—
- [Exact play Pete Carroll called.] You know, the amazing thing about Scott Brooks is that out of the five possible play-calls he would’ve made, the horrible/awful/no-good decision that Pete Carroll made, which was probably worst-case bad for Carroll, is only the fifth-worst possibility for Brooks.
- Russell Westbrook three-pointer. This just has to stop.
- Russell Westbrook pull-up midrange two-pointer. It’s tough to see Scottie’s logic here, because not only is Westbrook actually a player in the NBA—not in the NFL—but a midrange jumper—even if Westbrook sinks it—would only give the Seahawks two points, i.e. they would need to recover an onside kick and then do it all over again. All the same, Brooks decides to go with his bread-and-butter offense here, giving Westbrook the ball and letting him stop-and-pop. Questionable call, but not the worst thing in the world.
- Kendrick Perkins posts up the Patriots’ defensive line. Sometimes, somehow and some way, the Thunder like to post up Kendrick Perkins even if Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are in the game. I don’t need to state the obvious: that a blindfolded Durant granny shot from half-court is a better than a Perkins post up, but apparently it’s good for team morale so they do it anyway. Again, not sure how Brooks is seeing the point differential, but what do I know?
- Let Dion Waiters do what Dion Waiters does. Dion Waiters is happy because in Oklahoma City, he says, he gets the ball. Dion Waiters is happy in Oklahoma City like a creature returned once again to its home habitat after being in a zoo; the zoo is Cleveland, where they try to run an offense, which is not the natural habitat of Dion Waiters, and the home habitat is Oklahoma City, where they do not run offense because offense sucks (or something), and this is the natural, comfortable, perfect habitat for Dion Waiters. Give Dion Waiters the ball in this situation and he will probably do something like this: jab step right, crossover and dribble left a couple times toward the basket, pull the ball back out, ignore Kevin Durant guarded by someone six inches shorter than him, ignore Westbrook posting up Andre Miller, ignore Ibaka wide open in the corner, crossover, then pull up just a foot inside the three-point arc.
Well, maybe Seahawks fans shouldn’t be so mad at Pete Carroll after all.