Super Bowl 49 (Roman numerals aside) is in the books, and I am, of course, happy that the Patriots won. I have watched every Super Bowl, and this was one of the best, with two, excellent teams slugging it out from the opening kickoff through the final seconds (and I'm not referring to the unfortunate fight that broke out near the end). It's interesting that each of the Patriots' six Super Bowls in the Belichick/Brady era was decided by four points or fewer, but in this case, it speaks to the quality of play and each team's relentless determination.
The first half ended in a tie, and the second half was a seesaw, with the Seahawks seizing the initial momentum in the third quarter before yielding it to the Patriots in the fourth. Seattle fans are surely upset this morning at the one-yard interception by Malcolm Butler that ended the game. Had it ended differently, Patriots fans would have lamented the ball literally falling into Jerome Kearse's lap at the 5 yard line, just as we have forever lamented the David Tyree, helmet catch in the loss to the Giants after the perfect season.
All I can say to those in Seattle is that the Patriots rebounded from that loss, and there is little doubt that the Seahawks will rebound, likely into another Super Bowl in the next year or two...they are that good a team. Tom Brady is 37 years old and nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career, whereas Russell Wilson is only 26 and just beginning his. Wilson already has led his team to as many Super Bowl wins as Peyton Manning and Bret Favre, and he will doubtless learn from yesterday.
On the other side of that game-sealing, 1-yard interception is Malcolm Butler, a rookie whom the Patriots have raved about all year. He did as he was taught and watched the formation and the eyes of the opposing quarterback, and came up with the improbable grab.
But what some are overlooking is the fact that Tom Brady took over the game in the fourth quarter, leading the team to two touchdowns. Those two drives included only one running play for 3 yards. People are saying the interception at the end was "lucky," but was it any more lucky than the 33-yard circus catch by Kearse after Butler had seemingly disrupted that pass?
In the end, great teams make their own luck, and they don't blame their misfortune on bad luck, just as three different members of the Seahawks organization (Wilson, Head Coach Pete Carroll, and Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell) took responsibility for the fateful interception. It's that level of class and commitment, combined with extraordinary intelligence, talent, and determination, that will make the Seahawks winners for years to come, in much the same way the Patriots have had so much success over the last 15 years.
I'm already looking forward to next season.