Thursday, February 05, 2015

A Brief Descent Into Sportsball

Why would I, a lifelong New England Patriots fan, take to my digital soapbox to defend Pete Carroll, a man who coached my hometown team so less than eptly that Grantland's Bill Simmons called him "Fredo"? (I think Carroll is a decent man, as far as I can tell. He does appear to be a bit of a fraud, but I think anyone whose job it is to convince grown men to shorten their lives has to have a bit of the huckster.)

By now, nearly every sentient being has registered the fact that Carroll decided (or acceded to a decision) to throw a pass on the 1 yard line, second down, trailing by four points with 26 seconds to go, which was intercepted to cost him a second straight Super Bowl championship. Luminaries inside and outside the sports world united to castigate the decision, but I don't think, given more thought, that this is a fair verdict.

If you think about the whole picture, Carroll's team needs to gain one yard, and he has three chances to do so. He cannot run three times (the clock continues to run on run plays) because they won't be able to unpile, reform and snap the ball again before time expires. If he runs on second down, he has to call a time out, and then, if unsuccessful, he has to throw on third down because he risks running out of time. Thus, arguably, Carroll had to throw on second down.

Now, whether he should have called that particular pass play is another story.

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