The way the New England Patriots staged their late rally to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in the Super Bowl will be a talking point for years to come. It was certainly the case in sports bars across the Cayman Islands.
The Patriots, still under investigation over allegations they under-inflated balls to beat the Indianapolis Colts to reach Sunday’s Super Bowl, rallied from 10 points down for the victory.
Local Seahawks fans were prematurely celebrating retaining the Vince Lombardi trophy until Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s brilliance turned it around with two minutes left.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll will forever have to live with his strange decision to pass, rather than use star running back Marshawn Lynch when his team was only a yard out with just seconds remaining.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will be criticized for the seemingly crazy attempt although he was just following orders.
“That play call will haunt Pete for the rest of his career,” said former Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens.
“Why get cute at that point?” former Green Bay Packers player Bucky Brooks said.
The feeling was the same in Cayman. Adrean Russell is a veteran defender with the West Bay Hellcats flag football team. He watched the match at Overtime sports bar on West Bay Road. The Hellcats have dominated the local flag scene, having won it eight times in 11 seasons.
Russell said he was not rooting for either team but would have preferred the Seahawks to win. “It was a much better game than last year, for sure,” he said. “There were a lot of twists and turns and the end was dramatic.”
He was disappointed that there was a brawl toward the end of the game but understood that emotions probably got the better of the Seahawks players who were devastated that they were on the verge of losing after having looked set for a win.
Wilson’s play at the end was a good one, in Russell’s opinion, “because the wide receiver was coming from outside, going in and the defender was away from him.”
But Russell said the only problem was that Wilson’s throw was a little too high and late.
“Had he thrown the ball down and a little earlier, it would have been a touchdown,” Russell said. “But realistically you run the ball in that situation.
“You put the ball in your best player’s hands and that was Marshawn Lynch.”
Russell thought overall Brady deserved the MVP, but Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman did well enough to get the award.
Russell said the Patriots will find it extremely difficult to retain the title because other teams will try extra hard to beat the reigning champions.
“I know this from my years in flag, that the target is always on your back. The other teams always bring their extra A game. There is always a level of complacency too by the champions that they believe they can remain champs easily. But it doesn’t always happen like that.”