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Filling The Void

Giving Season: When Pete Decided To Pass

In Super Bowl XLIX Pete Carroll gave the New England Patriots a gift he never could have given them when he was their coach.

Pete Carroll by Mike Morris is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Giving Season: When Pete Decided To Pass


Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

It’s the holiday season. That means we’re all decorating our homes, and celebrating different pieces of our cultures. Whether we’re celebrating the first harvests to come, lighting candles, or waiting for a fictional bearded man to come down a chimney, we’re in the spirit. And part of that holiday spirit is that of giving.

So we thought we’d go down a rabbit hole to talk about some of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) gifts given in the history of sports. Today I want to talk about a gift that kept on giving. That gift? Pete Carroll’s play call at the goal line to end Super Bowl XLIX.

Picture it. Sicily – 1920. Whoops, no. Glendale – 2015.

The New England Patriots are about to lose to the Seattle Seahawks, which would make Seattle back-to-back Super Bowl champs. With just over a minute to go, Jermaine Kearse makes one of the more unreal catches in Super Bowl history. It’s David Tyree all over again. The ball was thrown up, and Kearse bobbled it not once, not twice, but three times before the ball fell right to his chest and he got out of bounds at the 5. First and goal.

After Marshawn Lynch ran to the left to get the Seahawks to the 1, Seattle lets the clock run, Russell Wilson goes into the Shotgun formation, and Marshawn Lynch options out to the left. Surely it’s a trick. Russ is going to snap the ball, hand it to Lynch, and punch it in for the Lombardi trophy.

And then, Pete Carroll gives a gift to the New England Patriots that he couldn’t give when he was their coach. If he runs the ball, the Seahawks are almost definitely going to win. Lynch is an absolute truck, and the clock was running in their favor. But Pistol Pete decided to wrap up that ball, tie a little bow on it, and send it via airmail.

Instead of handing the ball to Lynch, who had 24 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown, Wilson makes a quick throw to the slot for Ricardo Lockette. Malcolm Butler reads the play from the snap and gets into position just well enough to pick it off, drop down at the one, and steal a victory from the jaws of defeat for the Pats.

Instead of handing the ball to one of the best downhill runners in recent memory, Pete was feeling frisky. And his bet failed.


This play call was so epically bad, that it made its way into pop culture for all the wrong reasons. So…just enjoy.

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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