Why, why, WHY! did Seahawks blow it?

Story highlights

  • Amy Bass: Tense Super Bowl ended in head-scratching bad play and interception: You had to see it to believe it
  • Noteworthy from the game? The unstoppable Marshawn Lynch, Katy Perry's halftime and players Gronkowski and Wilfork

Amy Bass, a professor of history at the College of New Rochelle, has written widely on the cultural history of sports, including the book "Not the Triumph but the Struggle: The 1968 Olympics and the Making of the Black Athlete." She is a veteran of eight Olympics as the supervisor of NBC's Olympic Research Room, for which she won an Emmy in 2012. Follow her on Twitter @bassab1. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)You had to see it to believe it. After a tense game that felt like it could go in any direction at any time, towards the end it seemed like Seattle's so-called 12th man was going to have yet another reason to cheer.

But Patriots' cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass at the goal line and put an end to the Seahawks' quest for a repeat championship. A play that had most people scratching their heads and wondering why (why, WHY?) did anyone tell Russell Wilson to throw that ball, when he could have handed it to the unstoppable Marshawn Lynch instead?
Amy Bass
The "unnecessary roughness" by the Seahawks that followed as the Patriots were just 18 seconds away from the Lombardi trophy exemplified the frustrations of sports when things just don't go your way.
    But run, don't pass, wasn't the only thing we learned during this game.
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    1. Commercials are to the Super Bowl what articles are to Playboy, but they aren't as much fun when you've seen most of them online before kickoff. At roughly $4.5 million per 30-second spot, why not wait for game night to air them and make sure we all pay attention? This year's fare tended to be of the sadder sort, such as Nationwide's puzzling "dead kid" commercial and Budweiser's heart-wrenching lost puppy story, which hopefully offset the Go Daddy ad that got pulled after animal rights activists threw a flag on the field because they claimed it promoted puppy mills.
    There was also the inspirational, from Dodge, with its series of centenarians doling out advice, to the Always "Like a Girl" campaign, which tugged at Twitter's heartstrings all night long. Luckily for viewers, Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi as Marcia and Jan, respectively, provided some much needed comic relief in a hilarious "Brady Bunch" spoof for Snickers.
    2. We knew that Marshawn Lynch could never be accused of leaving his game at the press conference. This past week, most stories about the Seahawks' halfback revolved around his "I'm just here so I won't get fined" chant than his on-field skills. While the sports press should be used to this -- Lynch refused to speak to the press long before now -- it remains a delightful game for sportswriters to continue to ask Lynch questions they know he won't answer. After warming up in his peculiar looking high altitude training mask, which he claims gives him a "boost" during games, Lynch played like a man on fire, moving mountains. As NBC's Cris Collinsworth said, when Lynch gets going, "everything starts to work." Any questions? Didn't think so.
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    3. In addition to reminding us just how many hits she has had in her relatively short career, Katy Perry's halftime show created a blurring of realities between live and sync. Her seemingly animated pop world -- the beach scene (with dancing sharks) for "Teenage Dream" and "California Girls" felt like a trailer for the upcoming Spongebob movie -- got down to business with a gender-bending "I Kissed A Girl" duet with Lenny Kravitz. Then halftime took off when Missy Elliot, who hasn't had an album in 10 years, stomped out "Get Ur Freak On."
    But all eyes were on Perry as she hit her stride with her anthem "Firework," rising over the field on a sparkling comet accompanied by pyrotechnics that made it feel more like the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics than football night in America. Wasn't it nice to have a performer in her prime play the biggest night in television?
    4. Sometimes it takes a game like this to remind us that there are several key players on the Patriots besides the record-breaking Tom Brady, whose celebrity (and integrity) took a knocking in recent days with the ridiculousness of "deflategate." Rob Gronkowski, the tight end with his own cereal -- Gronk Flakes -- caught whatever Mr. Gisele threw at him, while defensive tackle Vince Wilfork seemed like the only thing on this planet that could stop Marshawn Lynch.
    Playing in his fourth Super Bowl for the Pats, Wilfork personified the absurdities of football: a huge guy bursting out of his uniform who runs like the wind, moves like an ascending contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance and then tackles his target like a Soviet tank. Oh, and don't forget that he's a legit hero: On his way home from the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, Wilfork helped a woman who rolled her Jeep Wrangler off the road just outside of Gillette Stadium.
    5. And what about those balls? While many rooted for a Seahawks' victory out of spite for the routinely vilified Patriots (and really, can't we malign Seattle's Doug Baldwin instead for taking end zone celebrations to a whole new level of bathroom humor awful?), the team from New England was largely acquitted of wrongdoing in the last few days as the NFL finally concluded that 10 of the 11 "deflated" balls were "just a few ticks under the minimum," lending weight (pun intended) to the conclusion that cold weather was largely responsible.
    Ignoring science is never a smart thing to do, which is why we are now waiting to see how many people were infected with the measles at the game.