Apparently Malcolm Butler's Interception Broke the Seahawks for Good


Malcolm Butler

Sherman crying

ESPN the MagWith 26 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX, on second-and-goal from the 1, Patriots corner Malcolm Butler jumped a route like nobody had ever jumped a route on the game’s biggest stage. That moment haunts the Seahawks to this day. …

According to interviews with numerous current and former Seahawks players, coaches and staffers, few have taken it harder than Richard Sherman. He has told teammates and friends that he believes the Seahawks should have won multiple Super Bowls by now. And with just one trophy and the window closing fast, he has placed responsibility for that failing on the two faces of the franchise: Wilson and [Pete] Carroll. … He’s been disillusioned not only by that single play more than two years earlier but also by his coach’s and quarterback’s response to it. …

Wilson has said that he, like Carroll, made peace with the Butler interception immediately, chalking it up to the plan of a higher power. That spring Wilson chartered a trip for the entire team to Hawaii … the hours players spent on the trip at the edge of a cliff, rehashing the play, airing grievances. Wilson, in the vein of Carroll, doubled down by saying that he’d throw to receiver Ricardo Lockette again. …

It was unbelievable: Less than three weeks before the [2016] playoffs, Sherman was bringing up the Butler interception. Some players felt that if Carroll had just once stood before the team and apologized for not ramming Marshawn Lynch into New England’s front from the 1-yard line — a front that had stuffed him on short yardage twice earlier — they would have had closure. But Carroll never apologized. And won’t. By calling a pass, he wanted to maximize his scoring chances and preserve his last timeout. Bill Belichick has backed the rationale more than Carroll’s own team.

Carroll tried to rally the team before the playoffs, but Sherman dismissed the effort as a routine “kumbaya” meeting. Even some of Sherman’s defensive teammates privately felt he had crossed a line. …

This offseason Sherman and Carroll held several private conversations. Sherman had told friends that he allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys, maybe the Patriots, hoping Lynch would come out of retirement and join him in New England.

Holy Schniekies, as bad as this reads, the parts I excerpted here don’t tell the half of it. I’ve just given you the Trader Joe’s sample counter portion of the massive banquet of dysfunction, distrust, resentment and downright hatred going on in Pete Carroll’s little Land of Make Believe in Seattle. There’s so much more. Sherman picking Wilson off in camp and screaming “You fucking SUCK!!!” Defensive players pissed at the offense. Wilson giving every player two tickets on Alaskan Airlines and no one being impressed because he gets them free in a sponsorship deal. Sherman screaming at offensive coaches. Sherman fighting with a rookie for sitting at a desk in the meeting room. Guys questioning Wilson for announcing he wasn’t banging Ciara. It’s a Category 5 shitstorm and helps explain how a team on the verge of dynasty status has gone 10-6 with nothing but a couple of Wild Card wins since losing to the Patriots.

Simply put, Malcolm Butler didn’t just rob the Seahawks of championship, he broke them. He took their will and smashed it into a million pieces and the shards are still flying around tearing the team to pieces. Like a Dementor from Azkaban, he sucked their souls right out of their mouths and is still feasting on what was once their hope. And few if any teams deserve it more.

And I say that as someone who respects the Seahawks. They’re the most complete Super Bowl team the Pats have ever beaten. If I had to settle for any quarterback not currently in New England, Wilson might be my first choice. Sherman is a mercurial, mouthy narcissist, but the man can play tackle football. Doug Baldwin is a strangely angry nutjob, but that’s the edge he plays with and it’s made him a star. The problem is, Carroll is one of these “let boys be boys” hands off, cheerleader type and this is what happens to guys like him the second they stop winning. The monsters he’s enabled during the good times rise up and destroy him. There’s only so much you can tolerate of clowns like Bruce Irvin starting fights all the time, leading the league in pile jumping and brawling whenever a team is in victory formation before the punkishness you’ve allowed bites you in the ass.

Some teams can recover from the adversity of a loss kicking them square in the balls, and come can’t. And you either have the personnel with the strength of character to bounce back or you clean house. The Seahawks have chosen the path of least resistance, field trips, “kumbaya” and letting the bad blood keep on flowing. And the will never be back. Mark my words. And let this be a lesson for Dan Quinn and his “Embrace the Suck” thing in Atlanta. Good luck with that. When the Patriots rip your heart out at the end of a Super Bowl, the damage is permanent.