Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Dear Pete Carroll; "The Opera Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings."

The Seattle Supersonics were up 3-2 over the Washington Bullets for the 1978 NBA Championship. The final game was scheduled in Seattle. The odds were against the Bullets. Coach Dick Motta of the Bullets simply stated: “The Opera ain’t over until the Fat Lady sings.” The Bullets won the title. Pete Carroll is getting damned, almost universally, “for the dumbest play call” at the end of the game. Had it succeeded, it would have been ”one of the most brilliant calls in Superbowl history.” Both Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are known for unconventional play calling, which sometimes blows up in the team’s face. The Patriots were leading the Colts 34 – 28 on November 15, 2009 with 2:08 on the clock. The Patriots had 4th and 2 on their own 28 yard line. The pass play came up short. Indianapolis won 35-34. Malcolm Butler’s interception was the critical play at the end of he game, but it was not the last play. The New England Patriots did not quit when they were the victim of a third weird pass reception in their last three Superbowls, two by the New York Giants. The reception by Jermaine Kearse should have broken their spirit if not their back. A lesser coach or team would have quit. The Fat Lady was silent. First and goal from the 5. Seattle has two timeouts remaining and New England one. New England actually had the Seahawks were they wanted them. Belichick was out-thinking Carroll. The Seahawks made the mistakes under the pressure. The Patriots are up 28-24. Seattle needs a touchdown. A field goal would be meaningless. An ordinary team would have quit after Kearse’s reception. Not the Patriots. The Opera Ain’t Over. The Seahawks had to burn a timeout, leaving one. They were burned by poor clock management. Bill Belichick continued to coach. No quit in Belichick. He outcoached Pete Carroll, also an outstanding coach. Conventional wisdom was that Belichick should call a timeout, let the Seahawks quickly score, and then get the ball back with about 60 seconds for a Brady Miracle. Belichick does not coach by conventional wisdom. Seattle’s great running back Marshawn Lynch gains 4. Second and goal from the one. Belichick does not call a timeout. The clock is running. It’s now a problem for Seattle. The burnt timeout limits their option. If they run the ball, then the Patriots jam the line. If Lynch doesn’t make it, Seattle will have to call a timeout. Lynch was 1 for 5 on the one yard line. It’s not a sure thing. Teams roughly run 50% and pass 50% in this position. Very few passes are intercepted from the One. - 61 passing touchdowns this season from the 1 with no interceptions. Contrary to mainstream, post hoc thought, a pass made sense – maybe not this pass, but a fade to the end zone or out of bounds, but a pass. Belichick put an extra CB in the game, Malcolm Butler, who made the interception. The Fat Lady still hadn’t sung. New England has the ball within its 2 yard line. A safety, followed by a free kick, is a distinct possibility. Tom Brady’s changed snap count drew the Seahawks offside. That’s when Seattle lost the game. One more snap, kneeing the ball, and Seattle has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The Fat Lady was signing.

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