For one half, it was a snoozer of a game. There were 28 points but except for the final six seconds before intermission, there weren’t any plays that brought fans out of their seats.
But Super Bowl XLIX will be remembered for its exciting, crazy ending, the kind of final scene that would have a Hollywood scriptwriter saying, “Nah, nobody would ever believe that.”
In the end it was the NFL’s glamorous star Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a 28-24 heart-pounding win and an undrafted rookie defensive back making an astonishing play to seal the win.
After weeks of answering relentless questions about reportedly soft balls, New England joined five other elite NFL teams with a fourth Super Bowl trophy.
Here are some highlights and lowlights from the game, on the field and off:
Why didn’t they run the dang ball?
Pete Carroll looked so smart at the end of the first half, making an unorthodox call that resulted in an unexpected touchdown with time running out.
But with 20 seconds left in the game and the Seahawks scrambling for a potential game-winning TD, he blew it. He just blew it.
As the Patriots lined up to stop a run, Carroll called for a pass. With one of the best running backs in the game – one nicknamed “Beast Mode” for his pounding running style – Carroll called for a pass. On the 1-yard-line.
There are three things that can happen when you pass, they say, and two of them are bad.
“That was my fault, totally,” Carroll told NBC of the play that ended with an interception and had the champagne carts U-turning back to the Patriots’ locker room.
You know what the Seahawks were thinking: That pass play works almost every time. It’s hard to cover and it’s only one yard. And they expect us to run.
“I thought it was going to be a touchdown,” Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said. “The guy (rookie Malcolm Butler) just made a great play.”
Butler said he just had a feeling of what to do.
“I knew what was going to happen,” he said, according to NFL.com. “I don’t know how I knew. I just knew. I just beat him to the point and caught the ball.”
Tom Brady, legend
Tom Brady, now three-time Super Bowl MVP and four-time winner of the big game, isn’t concerned with where people rank him among the all-time great quarterbacks. After all, it’s not like he’s about to retire and head off into a sunset with a supermodel wife. Although that’s not such a bad idea.
“I’ve got a lot of football left,” the 37-year-old, 15-year veteran told reporters. “I never put myself in those discussions. That’s not how I think. … You just have to enjoy the moment (of winning the Super Bowl).
Brady called the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense incredible, but when it was “winning” time, it was Brady who was incredible. On the game-winning drive, he threw nine passes. All of them were caught. One didn’t count because of a penalty on the Patriots.
His team trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter. He went 13-for-15 for 124 yards and had two touchdown tosses.
“We made the plays,” Brady said, deflecting the credit. “We blocked great. We made great catches. It’s a team effort. It’s never one player.”
While Brady won’t quantify where he ranks, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman said the performance proved the Pats’ quarterback is the best at his position ever.
“No one is better than Brady. In this Super Bowl. In any Super Bowl. In history,” Freeman wrote.
Weird touchdown celebration
Um, did that dude just act like he was pulling down his pants to celebrate a touchdown? Signs point to “Yes.”
In the third quarter Doug Baldwin found himself wide open in the end zone and made an easy catch for six.
He tumbled on the ground then got up and spun the ball on the turf to express his joy. After taking a moment to preen, Baldwin decided to celebrate his score some more. He ran over to the ball and made a motion emulating someone removing his trousers.
And then the NBC feed went to a dejected Tom Brady on the Patriots’ bench. What did we miss?
He pooped a football?
Needless to say, the officials penalized Baldwin while the Internet celebrated.
“Thank you, #DougBaldwin, Internet & @jordanbstead. #poopdown is my favorite hashtag ever!”
The end of the Super Bowl could be called “The Good, Bad and the Ugly.” There was a great catch, a questionable play call and a fight.
With New England running out the clock and Tom Brady down on a knee, players should have been shaking hands and hugging after a hard-fought game. But it was then that actual fighting broke out.
The Seahawks had just given the Patriots breathing room with an offsides penalty when some of the Seattle players shoved their opponents after the kneel-down. The Patriots pushed back.
“There’s a lot of frustration out there,” NBC announcer Al Michaels said as players knocked others down and tackled each other the wrong way. A few smacks were delivered, too.
Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was kicked out – the first player in the game’s history to be ejected.
Who knew that your Super Bowl shopping list should have included drinks, snacks … and tissues? Plenty of tissues.
It was a very serious year for commercials, including one from Nationwide that featured an actor essentially playing the ghost of a dead child.
The video received thousands of thumbs down on YouTube. One person said it wasn’t the commercial, it was the timing of it during the big game, which is supposed to be the ultimate Sunday Funday.
A Twitter user agreed the ad was wrong for the moment.
“Nationwide child death commercial? Everyone in the room audibly gasped. Super emotionally manipulative. Poor form,” Jack Hanlon wrote.
Our favorite Super Bowl ads usually opt for cute or clever over sentiment, but this year there were more triumphant and thoughtful spots mixed in. A bunch of them featured fathers.
“These #SuperBowl ads make me want to go out and buy like 12 dads,” Laura A. Rosenfeld tweeted.
The somber tone of some spots brought the clever out in many viewers.
“A psychologist somewhere just paid off his boat thanks to the Super Bowl ads,” Mac Brandt wrote.
Maybe the angst got to the advertisers too. The CEOs of two big cell service companies squabbled on Twitter over their ads, CNNMoney says.