Just Sayin': Super Bowl and more

Pete Caroll gets a second entry in the all-time "Why did he call that?" history books? So does this make you feel better about the fourth-and-two call in the Texas game?

So much to think about after "THE WORST PLAYCALL IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL" as Emmitt Smith tweeted creating the birth of a million Internet memes for Pete CarroIl to live down that will match in intensity how USC fans look back at the Rose Bowl fourth-and-two against Texas.

*** Was it the "WORST" call ever? No. But with 114 million people watching the biggest-deal Super Bowl of all time, it doesn't matter. People who don't even know Pete coached at USC or even in college "know" now that it was so that settles it, we guess . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Was it the wrong call? Of course. And this isn't second-guessing or super second-guessing based on that USC-Texas game that we'll never get out of our own personal video replay library in our head. And yes, there is a connection here. Not just for USC fans but for Pete, who is much more likely to be the guy to manage two of these in one lifetime that he'll never live down . . . Just Sayin'.

*** There's an easy explanation for that. Just as Pete was on the cusp of three straight national college titles with his USC run, something no one else is likely to pull off in modern college football, he was also the first guy to get the chance in a decade to go back-to-back in the NFL and first ever anywhere to rack up multiple titles in both college and the NFL. You can't come up short at the end like that if you never get there. No one else will. Pete did . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Pete's positivity in his players' ability to make the big plays when they come along, and his ability to get them to do just that, is why his teams get there . . Just Sayin.

*** But that positivity might also be the shield that keeps Pete from seeing that one teeny tiny "what if" possibility . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Here's Pete on the play: "And let me say this, too. We don't ever call a play thinking we might throw an interception. I don't ever think that, just like [the 11-yard TD pass to Chris Matthews] with six seconds to go in the half. We go with what we know. There was not a thought in my mind that we would make a mistake on [the interception] play. It was a tremendous play by the guy on the other side . . . I was so confident we were going to get it done. Making the call we made was just part of the sequence. We were very confident in the sequence. We had a very clear thought about what was going on." . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But what if your guy doesn't make the play that's there to be made as LenDale White, with Reggie Bush on the bench, couldn't? What if their guy does, which is how this one went. Pete didn't ask himself those questions. Or didn't answer them correctly. He went for a play that he thought was there and went for it knowing he'd have two more and a stopped clock if it didn't work . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And sure, if you watch the stop-action replay, when the teams lined up for that play, it was there. No question. No way Patriots can get there to stop it. Check the stop-action as Russell Wilson releases the ball. The play is still there. No way Malcolm Butler gets there. Only he does. Somehow. Exploding through the ball and shedding the Seahawks' Ricardo Lockette like a rag doll to pick off the slightly too-high delivery for an interception that should have never happened -- or had the chance to . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But here were the numbers, according to ESPN STats & Info, that went into Pete's calculations. More than 100 times this season, NFL teams threw the ball on the 1-yard line. Sixty-six of those throws resulted in touchdowns. Just one -- yeah, that one -- produced an interception. So you miss on that play with the clock stopped and a timeout left, and there's no interception, you can still run Marshawn Lynch twice and no one even remembers the play . . . Just Sayin'.

*** But just the way Texas figured out USC defensive end Frostee Rucker would have to drop off when USC blitzed and Vince Young could run right up Frostee's rear if the Longhorns ran the read-option a certain way, New England had that play scouted and Butler, not that long off his time working at Popeye's, recognized something he'd gone over and took the chance to make his first-ever NFL interception. It happens . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Our choice, if you made us make one to throw the ball, would have been play-action rollout with Wilson off Lynch, although Marshawn was getting a breather after a tough run to the 1. If it's covered you can either run it in with Wilson or throw it out of the end zone . . . Just Sayin.

*** But we're not ever passing here despite the numbers for one simple reason -- and it's not because we had Marshawn there or the chance of an interception. You couldn't take the chance of a hold, much more likely on a pass play of any kind, and a second-and-11 needing a TD . . . Just Sayin'.

*** And now Pete has more of a motivator than anyone could have imagined to try to get this young Seahawks' team back together. Pretty magnificent losing effort when you consider how battered that Seattle defense was and who they were going against in the B&B guys . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Which of course makes it all the tougher to deal with. And Pete admitted as much last night after the game. He's had nearly a decade to deal with that Texas game and the decision there that will never go away. Now he'll have a team that already was planning the parade and played so well having to wonder what exactly happened. Maybe that USC-Texas game experience helps Pete here. Not sure it helps the Seahawks, however . . . Just Sayin'.

*** So to review: Do you make a call just to be sure you don't get criticized if it goes bad? You do not. Do you make a call that on the small chance it goes bad, it would go all-time bad? You probably shouldn't . . . Just Sayin.

*** And Pete wouldn't. He thought he could get a quick hit for the winning score and if it didn't hit, he had Marshawn there as insurance. But in this case, putting the ball up in any way where it could be picked tells you the right call. If you're thinking you need insurance on a play, you probably shouldn't call it . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Because there's no Lloyd's of London policy Pete could purchase for that play if -- and when -- it went down . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Call him "no net" Pete here. He's never been a guy who has wanted -- and most of the time -- needed a net. This time he did. But it wasn't there . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Now for something completely different but something USC fans were waiting for since the notice on the California Court of Appeals docket from Jan. 2 that something might be happening by today, Feb. 2. It's the Monday of the week after the 90-day period since the Oct. 27 oral arguments on the NCAA's motion to seal the 700 pages of emails and other material filed in the attempt to get the Todd McNair lawsuit dismissed. Better put that on hold as we'll explain . . . Just Sayin'.

*** Talked to the Court of Appeals today and was told that notice in the file "was just a tickler," -- a reminder that something might be coming. "But nothing today," we were told. or at least not by late afternoon when we got off the phone. They'd check and call back if they heard further. And at 6:15, we did get our call back: "Sorry to say we don't have anything yet," we were told. "Maybe tomorrow -- or the next day." . . . Just Sayin'.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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