As I watched the amazing finish to last nights Super Bowl, I had a flashback to a night just over nine years ago.
I spent most of the time leading up to the game conflicted. As a Jet fan living in Boston, I want to hate the Patriots but find myself loving the fact that although you may hate them, its likely because they are simply smarter than the other 29 NFL teams.
Lets face it the Pats just won their 4th Super Bowl in 14 years. During that time that have had one, count ’em one Hall of Fame player. If you think of the rosters of teams like the 70’s Steelers, 80’s 49ers, or 90’s Cowboys, they were loaded with great players. The Pats? Just Tom Brady and some guy named Bellichek.
My other conflict is that I really like the Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Even though he dissed the Jets big time back in the mid-90’s, who could blame him for leaving that house of hell. He then went to coach my favorite college team, USC where he was minutes from winning three consecutive national championships. This is where the Deja Vu comes in.
The match up at the 2006 Rose Bowl was Number 1 USC what Matt Leinhart and Reggie Bush vs. Number 2 Texas with Vince Young. Additionally, USC and Texas entered the game with winning streaks of 34 and 19 games respectively. I was taken by a certain bank along with a bunch of other finance geeks to Pasadena for the game. A beautiful day and a game that lived up to the immense hype.
The game was an offensive battle with a close game morphing to a USC lead of 38-26 with 6:42 to go in the game. Vince Young then led the Texas Longhorns on a touchdown drive to cut the USC lead to 5. On the ensuing drive USC drove to midfield where they faced a fourth down and two situation with just over two minutes left. Carroll could have chosen to punt, he could have chosen to hand the ball off to Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, or he could have had last years Heisman Trophy winner throw a pass.
So what did Carroll choose to to with immortality on the line? Leinhart hands off to the immortal Lendale White, remember him? Unless you are a member of his immediate family, likely not. White rushes for one yard and Texas gets the possession with plenty of time to drive down the field.
Vince White of course runs in for the winning touchdown with 0:19 remaining. Final score Texas 41- USC 38. Drive home safely.
I was crushed. Of course, the entire state of Tennessee should have been more upset as Carroll’s mistake only made the intellectually challenged Young look better and the Titans drafted him. That was a mistake.
So in 2006, Pete Carroll looked at the biggest situation in the biggest game of his career, looked at his stud running back and said, “Nah, let me roll the dice”.
One could argue that Pete Carroll is two incredibly poor decisions away from arguably being the greatest coach in football history.
Last night, I sat on the couch and said to my wife, I feel like Ive been here before. It was just 40 degrees warmer.