The Heads and Tails of Pete Carroll’s decision

HeadsMichael Silver

Carroll, with one remaining timeout, did the math and erred on the side of ensuring a maximum amount of chances to get the ball across the goal line while limiting the chances that the Pats would have enough time to counter.

Bill Barnwell presents the following case:

If you’re thinking about the game coming down to those three plays, you can also piece together a case that second down is the best time to throw the ball. As Wilson took that fateful second-down snap, there were 26 seconds left and Seattle had one timeout. Let’s pretend for a moment that the Seahawks decide to run the ball on second down. If they don’t get it, they have to call timeout, probably with about 22 seconds left. That means they’re stuck passing on third down with virtually no chance of running the ball, because it would be too difficult to line up after a failed run.

On the other hand, by throwing on second down, you could get two cracks at running the football while providing some semblance of doubt for the Patriots. If Wilson’s pass on second down is incomplete (and he avoids a sack, which seems likely given his ability to scramble), the clock stops with something like 20 seconds to go. That means you can run the ball on third down, use your final timeout, and then run the ball again on fourth down. All three plays come with the possibility of either throwing or running, which prevents the Patriots from selling out against one particular type of play.

…[Runs] scored 54.1 percent of the time and resulted in turnovers 1.5 percent of the time, while passes got the ball into the end zone 50.1 percent of the time and resulted in turnovers 1.9 percent of the time. In a vacuum, the decision between running and passing on the 1-yard line is hardly indefensible, because both the risk and the reward are roughly similar.

The key phrase there, of course, is “in a vacuum.” This wasn’t a vacuum.

Justin Wolfers, for the New York Times makes a case that Carroll did the right thing according to game theory.

The key insight of game theory for an N.F.L. coach is that when you think about what choice you should make, you need to also consider the response from the opposing coach, understanding that he is also thinking strategically. This line of thinking suggests that you should not necessarily call a run play, even if you’re blessed with a great running back.


Ian O’Connor from ESPN hammers Pete Carroll’s decision

Carroll just had to make a decision any Pop Warner coach worth his whistle and drill cones would have made. Lynch was in full you-know-what mode, barreling his way through the New England Patriots and carrying the Seahawks to the league’s first two-peat since Belichick and Tom Brady pulled it off in a different life. Lynch already had 102 rushing yards and a touchdown to his name, and he had just planted Seattle on the Patriots’ 1-yard line.

…Instead of notarizing his standing as Belichick’s equal, Peter Clay Carroll made the dumbest and most damaging call in Super Bowl history.

…Gregg Popovich had Tim Duncan on the bench near the end of that disastrous Game 6 loss to Miami a couple of years ago. Grady Little left Pedro Martinez on the mound in that Game 7 in 2003 at Yankee Stadium. Rick Pitino didn’t put a man on Grant Hill for that three-quarters-court pass to Christian Laettner that decided Duke-Kentucky in 1992 — maybe the greatest college game ever played.But this was the mother of all screwups. Pete Carroll, the successor to Dick Clark as the world’s oldest teenager, got all silly and reckless at the worst possible time.

He cost his team the Super Bowl, and there was nothing even remotely fun about it.

Michael Silver for Michael Silver for

When I asked receiver Doug Baldwin, in a quiet conversation near his locker, if he was shocked by Carroll’s decision to throw, he shook his head and said, “Come on, man — you’ve got common sense, too. … We have nobody to blame but us. My first thought was that we were gonna run it in — but coaches, they’re the ones that they know it better than us.”

Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin was even more pointed, telling me, “We beat ’em, bro. We beat ’em. … I’m speechless. Best back in the league, and the 1-yard-line? It wasn’t even the 1 — it was like half a yard. I will never understand that, bro. I will never understand it. I will never understand. …

“When Jermaine caught that ball, I felt it was meant to be for us. Oh, no doubt — we’re gonna score. Beast Mode. Beast Mode! Best back on the (expletive) planet. That’s crazy!”

You can present the arguments and reasons why Carroll called a pass that you want.  I, honestly, think that they make a lot of sense.  The arguments are well thought out and appear reasonable.  So why such the outrage?  After the most amazing catch since David Tyree, the entire world knew that game was over.  The inevitability of Marshawn Lynch scoring a touchdown with 4 consecutive run plays and giving Tom Brady three spectacular Super Bowl losses, left Patriot fans dead inside, because it was as sure as Kim Kardashian’s 3rd divorce.  Some thought they should let Lynch in the end zone and try to score again.  Nobody thought they should pass.  Everyone was right.  The coach was wrong.

This is the reason for the outrage.  This is the reason why Pete Carroll is getting blasted.  Keep it simple Coach.  Feed the beast.

Is Tom Brady Lying?

Purpose:  To determine if Tom Brady had 11 of 12 footballs deflated below NFL regulations.

Why Tom Brady Is Guilty

The crux of this accusal is 11 of 12 footballs were deflated under the set NFL guidelines, after they were deemed at 12.5 psi by the games referees.  We don’t know how these footballs became deflated, but we do know that they registered below 12.5 psi when they were checked at halftime of the AFC championship game.

The fact that Tom Brady benefits the most by having the football under regulated psi, he is under the most scrutiny.  It would affect him the most and he would gain the greatest advantage with an under inflated football.   To suggest somehow that someone else would deflate the footballs without the order from Tom Brady would venture into conspiracy theory.  While Tom Brady had a press conference and denied that he had anything to do with the deflated footballs, these are the reasons we don’t believe him.

According to a report by Sharp Football Analysis says the Average team fumbles every 105 plays.  The Patriots average 187, the next closest team is 140.  Colin Cowherd tells us that if you listen to Vegas they will tell you that turnovers are very often arbitrary and if a team has a lot of turnovers the previous year, it will likely equal themselves out the next year.  For an outdoor team that often plays in inclement weather the deflated football is the reason for the outlier.

Tom Brady is notorious for his attention to detail.  Like his coach, he spends countless hours watching tape and preparing to play his best.  He commits himself to perform to the best of his ability and tactics that help him he implements.  In his press conference he stated he preferred his football at 12.5 psi, he said it is perfect.  Clearly the game footballs used in the 1st half were under inflated.  If he preferred an exact 12.5 psi than he would have said something when he handled the football and it wasn’t “perfect”.  An artist likes his tools a certain way and when they aren’t he is the first one to notice.  If 12.5 psi is perfect, why wouldn’t he notice and demand a ball at 12.5 psi.

To believe that Tom Brady’s perfect ball is 12.5 psi it would fly in the face of an interview he had earlier when he admitted he likes a deflated football.  “When Gronk scores… he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball.

A football attendant was seen going into a bathroom with the footballs and 90 seconds later was leaving the bathroom.  A bathroom is the only secure place that a ball boy could go without cameras.  Also, as has been proven, this is more than enough time to deflate 11 footballs, with a bag and all.

Multiple QB’s have all said that the footballs are only going to be prepared the way that the QB wants them prepared.   No one is going to change them.  There is a long line of all ex-NFL players that believe that he isn’t being honest.  Some of these include Joe Montana, Mark Brunnell, Troy Aikman, Jerome Bettis, Brian Dawkins, Chris Canni, and Frank Tarkelton.

In short Brady is lying and had something to do with the deflation of the 11 footballs in the AFC Championship.

Why Tom Brady Is Telling the Truth

There are a lot of people claiming that Tom Brady is lying.  There has yet to be anyone that has produced evidence that is more than circumstantial.  We know that 11 of 12 footballs were deflated.  But, exactly by how much and the criteria in which they were deflated we still don’t know.  All evidence seems pretty circumstantial and there is no “smoking” gun.

It is a fact that you use a formula to figure out pressure.  One of these variables is temperature and a change in temperature will in fact change the pressure.  If is scientifically evident that the pressure in the footballs can change due to a change in temperature.  Brady likes his footballs at 12.5 psi.  Andrew Luck may in fact like his footballs more than the 12.5 psi.  If this is the case that it would make sense why the footballs for the Colts weren’t deflated under the regulated pressure.

The NFL has a procedure to check the footballs before the game.  They inspect and check the pressure of the footballs to see if they are regulation.  It isn’t the quarterbacks job to make sure that the pressure in the football is regulation.  It is the referee’s job to make sure that the footballs are qualified.  They have procedures to prevent people from messing with the footballs.

Also, Tom Brady has given a press conference stating that he didn’t do anything to the footballs to deflate them.  He stated that he had nothing to do with the deflation of footballs.  His word should count for something.   Bill Belichick and Bob Kraft came out strong defying the league to prove that they did something wrong.  The fact that they have drawn a line in the sand and challenged the league to find wrong doing, shows that they in fact haven’t done anything wrong and support the fact that Tom Brady isn’t lying.


I think that the way that footballs are prepared has been pretty loose in the league.  Tom Brady likes his footballs a little lower than regulated psi.  I think that the Patriots had their footballs prepared like they always do and that they normally have them a little lower in psi.  I think the referees checked the footballs by squeezing them and not by actually testing them with a psi monitor.  I think the temperature changes the psi.  Maybe not lbs of psi, but enough to be able to test a difference.  I think this is the case of the NFL not managing the process close enough, and getting caught when the public has an outrage.  It’s the referees job to make sure that balls are at 12.5 psi.  If they don’t do their job then maybe the Patriots were able to have a football a little lower in psi.  This isn’t a case where the Patriots are taking corners, but the NFL taking corners.


Charles P. Pierce;   Felice J. FreyerBen VolinJohn BreechPaul NewberryRoxanne Jones; Colin Cowherd; Bill Simmons

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