Super Bowl XLIX
Super Bowl XLIX was an American football game played to determine the champion of the National Football League (NFL) for the 2014 season. The American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots defeated the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Seattle Seahawks, 28–24, to earn their fourth Super Bowl title and their first in ten years. The game was played on February 1, 2015 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. It was the second time the stadium has hosted a Super Bowl, and the third one held in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
|Date||February 1, 2015|
|Stadium||University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona|
|MVP||Tom Brady, quarterback|
|Favorite||Pick 'em (even/toss-up)|
|National anthem||Idina Menzel|
|Coin toss||Tedy Bruschi, Kenny Easley|
|Halftime show||Katy Perry featuring Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliott and the Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Al Michaels (play-by-play)|
Cris Collinsworth (analyst)
Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter)
|Nielsen ratings||47.5 (national)|
U.S. viewership: 114.4 million est. avg.
|Market share||72 (national)|
|Cost of 30-second commercial||$4.5 million|
With the loss, the Seahawks became the fourth defending Super Bowl champions to lose in the following year's title game, after the 1978 Dallas Cowboys, 1983 Washington Redskins and the 1997 Green Bay Packers. After finishing the previous season by defeating the Denver Broncos, 43–8, in Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle completed the 2014 regular season with a 12–4 record. The Patriots, who also posted a 12–4 record, joined the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers as one of the three teams to have made eight appearances in the Super Bowl. For the second straight season, but only the third time in the prior 21 seasons, the number one seeds from both conferences met in the league championship game. Seattle became the first team to appear in consecutive Super Bowls since New England won two straight (XXXVIII and XXXIX).
After the teams were tied 14–14 at halftime, the Seahawks built a 10-point lead to end the third quarter. The Patriots, however, rallied to take a 28–24 lead with 2:02 left in the game. Seattle threatened to score in the final moments, driving the ball to New England's 1-yard line. With 26 seconds remaining in the game, Seattle decided to pass the ball in a highly scrutinized call that resulted in Patriots undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler making a game-saving interception of Russell Wilson's throw. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the game's Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a then Super Bowl-record 37 completions on 50 attempts for 328 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions (a record Brady himself would break 2 years later in Super Bowl LI).
NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX remains the most-watched program in the network's history, as well as the most watched program in American television history, surpassing the previous year's game. The game was seen by an average of 114.4 million viewers, with it reaching to 118.5 million during the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show featuring Katy Perry, and then peaking to 120.8 million during New England's fourth-quarter comeback.
Host selection processEdit
Initial plan for Kansas City as host cityEdit
NFL owners initially voted in November 2005 to award a Super Bowl to Kansas City, Missouri, in honor of Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, the founder of the American Football League (AFL) in the 1960s who helped engineer the annual game. Then-NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue further announced on March 5, 2006, that Kansas City would host Super Bowl XLIX. However, the game was contingent on the successful passage of two sales taxes in Jackson County, Missouri, on April 4, 2006.
The first tax to fund improvements to Arrowhead and neighboring Kauffman stadiums passed with 53 percent approval. However, the second tax that would have allowed the construction of a rolling roof between the two stadiums was narrowly defeated, with 48 percent approval. In the wake of the defeat, and opposition by the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and several civic and business groups, Hunt and the Chiefs announced on May 25, 2006, that they were withdrawing the request to host Super Bowl XLIX.
After the Kansas City plan fell through, the following submitted bids to host Super Bowl XLIX:
- Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, Florida
- Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, Florida
- University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Arizona
Tampa and Miami both submitted bids after losing the Super Bowl XLVIII bid to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Arizona had declined to bid for Super Bowl XLVIII, citing the economy, to focus on bidding for Super Bowl XLIX.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed in April 2011 that Tampa and Arizona were selected as finalists. The league then announced on October 11, 2011, that University of Phoenix Stadium will host Super Bowl XLIX. This is the second Super Bowl contested at University of Phoenix Stadium, which hosted Super Bowl XLII in February 2008, and the third Super Bowl played in the Phoenix area, as Super Bowl XXX was held at Sun Devil Stadium in nearby Tempe in January 1996.
New England PatriotsEdit
The New England Patriots had a rough start to their 2014 season, starting the season with a 2–2 record and hitting a low point with a humiliating 41–14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in week four. By this point, the Patriots faced heavy criticism in the media, especially quarterback Tom Brady. Former Patriots safety and teammate Rodney Harrison declared Brady "looked scared to death" in the pocket and "doesn't have any confidence in his offensive line." However, New England recovered with an NFL season long seven game winning streak, beginning with a dominating 43–17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in week five, and went on to lose only two more games for the rest of the year (the latter of which was done while resting the starters the final week of the season), finishing the season with a 12–4 record and the number one seed in the AFC. They finished fourth in the NFL in scoring (468 points) and eighth in points allowed (313), and had the largest point differential in the NFL (with an average margin of victory of 9.7 points). The Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 35–31 in the AFC Divisional playoffs, and then defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45–7 in the AFC Championship Game.
Brady had another fine season in his 14th year as the team's starter, earning his 10th Pro Bowl selection with 4,109 passing yards and 33 touchdowns, with just eight interceptions. His top target was Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, who caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, along with wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who caught 74 passes for 954 yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Julian Edelman was another key aspect of the passing game, with 92 receptions for 974 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 92 yards and returning 25 punts for 299 yards and a touchdown. Running back Jonas Gray was the team's leading rusher with 412 yards and a 4.6 yards per carry average, while Stevan Ridley added 340 yards and Shane Vereen had 391. Vereen was also a reliable pass catcher, hauling in 52 receptions for 447 yards. On special teams, kicker Stephen Gostkowski was selected to his third Pro Bowl and became the third player ever to lead the NFL in scoring four times (and the first since the NFL-AFL merger), converting 35 of 37 field goals (94.6 percent) and racking up 156 points. Special teamer Matthew Slater also made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time.
The Patriots defensive line was led by five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who compiled eight sacks. Behind them, linebacker Jamie Collins led the team in tackles (116) and forced fumbles (four), while also intercepting two passes. Linebacker Dont'a Hightower was also a big contributor with 89 tackles and six sacks. The secondary was led by Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, along with safety Devin McCourty, who recorded two interceptions and Brandon Browner, who added a physical presence to the secondary.
After winning Super Bowl XLVIII the previous season, the Seahawks also struggled to begin the season, floundering near the season's midpoint with a 3–3 record. However, they went on from there to win nine of their final 10 regular season games, preventing their opponents from scoring any touchdowns in five of them. By the time they finished with a 12–4 record and entered the playoffs, they had earned the number one seed, and not allowed any touchdowns in the previous 10 quarters. Their defense ranked first in the NFL in fewest points allowed (254) and their offense was tied at first in rushing yards (2,762). The Seahawks defeated the Carolina Panthers 31–17 in the NFC Divisional playoffs, and then defeated the Green Bay Packers 28–22 in overtime in the NFC Championship Game. Seattle became the first NFC team to advance to consecutive Super Bowls since the 1996–97 Packers in Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII.
Quarterback Russell Wilson was back in control of the Seattle offense, completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 3,475 yards and 20 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, while also rushing for 849 yards and six touchdowns. The team's leading receiver was Doug Baldwin, who caught 66 passes for 825 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Jermaine Kearse was another reliable target with 38 catches for 537 yards, while tight end Luke Willson caught 22 passes for 362 yards. Running back Marshawn Lynch was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl, ranking fourth in the NFL with 1,306 rushing yards and first in rushing touchdowns with 13. He also caught 37 passes for 364 yards and four more touchdowns. Running back Robert Turbin chipped in 310 yards and 16 receptions. On special teams, kicker Steven Hauschka ranked fourth in the NFL with 134 points and made 31 of 37 field goals (83.8 percent).
Michael Bennett anchored the Seattle defensive line, leading the team with seven sacks, while teammate Bruce Irvin ranked second with 6.5 and intercepted two passes, returning both for touchdowns. Behind them, linebackers K. J. Wright and Pro Bowl selection Bobby Wagner combined for a staggering 211 tackles (107 for Wright, 104 for Wagner), while Wright also forced three fumbles. But the strongest aspect of the team's number one ranked defense was their secondary. Known as the "Legion of Boom", they sent three of their four starters to the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row: cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas, and strong safety Kam Chancellor. Sherman led the team with four interceptions, while Thomas had 97 tackles and forced four fumbles. Chancellor had 78 tackles and also recorded six passes deflected.
New England became the first playoff team to overcome two 14-point deficits to win a game as they defeated the Baltimore Ravens 35–31, pulling ahead for the first time in the game on Brady's 23-yard touchdown pass to LaFell with 5:13 left in regulation. Then safety Duron Harmon iced the game by intercepting a pass from Joe Flacco in the end zone on Baltimore's ensuing drive. Although New England only had 14 rushing yards, Brady's franchise playoff record 33 completions for 367 yards and three touchdowns, along with a rushing score, were able to make up the difference.
The Patriots had a much easier time in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. Although the score was still a close 17–7 by the end of the half, New England dominated the game in the second with touchdowns on their first four drives. Brady had another great game, throwing for 226 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, while Blount rushed for 148 yards and three scores. New England's defense held Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who had thrown for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns during the season, to just 12/23 completions for 126 yards. By the end of New England's two postseason games, Brady set new NFL records for postseason passing yards and touchdowns, while coach Bill Belichick set the all-time record for most playoff wins.
Seattle started off their postseason with a 31–17 win over the Carolina Panthers. The score was just 14–10 at the end of the first half, but the Seahawks took control of the game in the second, scoring 17 unanswered points. After a field goal and Russell Wilson's 25-yard touchdown pass to Luke Willson, Chancellor put the game completely out of reach by intercepting a pass from Cam Newton and returning it 90 yards for a touchdown.
Seattle had to mount a furious comeback to defeat their next opponent, the Green Bay Packers, as they fell behind 16–0 before Jon Ryan's 19-yard touchdown pass to Garry Gilliam on a fake field goal in the third quarter got them their first score. They still found themselves trailing 19–7 with just over 5 minutes left when Wilson threw his fourth interception of the day. But after Green Bay was forced to punt, Wilson led the team 69 yards to make the score 19–14 on his 1-yard touchdown run. On the ensuing kickoff, receiver Chris Matthews recovered an onside kick for Seattle, and they took their first lead on a 24-yard touchdown run from Marshawn Lynch. Now with the score 20–19, the Seahawks managed to go up by 3 points on a dramatic 2-point conversion play in which Wilson was forced to run all the way back to the 17-yard line near the right sideline before hurling the ball to the opposite side of the field, where Luke Willson, who had only been assigned as a blocker for the play, caught the ball and took it into the end zone. Although Green Bay kicked a field goal to send the game into overtime, Seattle's comeback could not be stopped. After winning the coin toss, the Seahawks took the ball and drove 87 yards to win the game on Wilson's 35-yard touchdown pass to Kearse, sending the Seahawks to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row.
Super Bowl XLIX was the first Super Bowl matchup, and the first postseason matchup, between the Patriots and Seahawks; while Seattle was part of the AFC before moving to the NFC in the NFL's 2002 realignment, the teams had never met beyond the regular season.
The game was notable for featuring the coach of one team who had replaced the other as head coach; Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was hired in 2000 to replace Pete Carroll, who went on to become the coach of the Seahawks. This was only the fourth time this has occurred. The other three times were in Super Bowl III (Weeb Ewbank's New York Jets vs. Ewbank's former team, Don Shula's Baltimore Colts), Super Bowl XXXIII (Dan Reeves's Atlanta Falcons vs. Mike Shanahan's Denver Broncos), and Super Bowl XXXVII (Jon Gruden's Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Gruden's former team, Bill Callahan's Oakland Raiders). The only previous time that the old coach's former team had won was in Super Bowl XXXIII.
The Patriots had also appeared in the only other Super Bowl to be held at University of Phoenix Stadium to date, having fallen short in their quest for a 19–0 undefeated season with a 17–14 loss to the New York Giants there in Super Bowl XLII. In fact, this game marked the Patriots' return to University of Phoenix Stadium for the first time since that contest.
The betting odds for Super Bowl XLIX initially opened after the conclusion of the conference championship games with the Seahawks favored by 2.5 points, but within hours of opening, heavy betting on the Patriots had moved the line to a pick 'em at most sportsbooks. Over most of the two-week run-up to the Super Bowl, the line held steady with the Patriots as slight 1-point favorites, but, on the day before the Super Bowl, a surge of large bets on the Seahawks pushed the line back to a toss-up.
After the AFC Championship Game, ESPN reported an NFL investigation discovered 11 of 12 footballs the Patriots had used during it were under-inflated, while none of the balls used by the Colts had been, although these findings were later shown to be false. Patriots coach Bill Belichick denied any knowledge that the footballs his team used were not inflated to NFL standards. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick became large targets as controversy swirled around what colloquially became known as Deflategate just before the week of Super Bowl XLIX. The effects of the incident would drag on for nearly two years, finally being resolved with Brady receiving a 4-game suspension at the start of the 2016 season.
As the designated home team in the annual rotation between AFC and NFC teams, the Seahawks elected to wear their college navy home jerseys with navy pants, which meant that the Patriots would wear their white road jerseys.
Super Bowl XLIX was the first Super Bowl to be played in a retractable roof stadium with the roof open by league decision (previous Super Bowls played in such stadiums, including Super Bowl XLII, were played with the roof closed). The gametime temperature was 66 °F (19 °C), with clear conditions. It was the second time all season, along with the Pro Bowl, the stadium had its roof open during an NFL game or the College Football Playoff's Fiesta Bowl. It is the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals, but all Cardinals home games in 2014 had it closed either because of warm temperatures or to provide home field advantage and hold in crowd noise.
Ticket prices for Super Bowl XLIX rose quickly, with the lowest-cost tickets reaching over $8,000 by January 29. The average ticket price charged by brokers was $10,352, an increase of more than three times over the previous year's prices. The raise in ticket prices was due to a shortage caused by the short selling practice of brokers and resale sites. Jeff Miller, writing for the Orange County Register, observed that the cheapest tickets were nearly as expensive as a year's tuition at the University of Phoenix, and commented that the $28,888 price of seats near the 50-yard line "should not only buy you Katy Perry's halftime show but also Katy Perry singing again from your backseat halfway through your drive home."
Super Bowl XLIX was televised by NBC in the United States, with play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color analyst Cris Collinsworth calling the game from the booth and Michele Tafoya working as sideline reporter. Game coverage was preceded by a six-hour pre-game show featuring the Football Night in America crew, including Bob Costas, Dan Patrick, Josh Elliott, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Hines Ward, Mike Florio and Peter King. John Harbaugh served as a guest analyst. Michaels, Collinsworth and Tafoya also contributed to the pre-game coverage along with Liam McHugh, Carolyn Manno, Randy Moss and Doug Flutie. It became the most watched broadcast in the history of American television, only one year removed from Fox's previous year's record-setting telecast of Super Bowl XLVIII. The presentation of the Lombardi Trophy was handled by Dan Patrick of NBC.
A Spanish language telecast of the game was carried by NBC Universo, which featured commentary and surrounding coverage in that language; Jessi Losada, René Giraldo and Edgar López. Formerly known as mun2, the network's re-branding was scheduled to coincide with the game. As with other major events broadcast by the network, the telecast was cross-promoted with other NBCUniversal properties: various NBC News and NBC Sports programs were either broadcast from Phoenix or featured reports from the game, and Golf Channel cross-promoted the game with its coverage of the Phoenix Open golf tournament and live episodes of Feherty from the Orpheum Theatre.
An episode of The Blacklist, "Luther Braxton", served as NBC's lead-out program. Following a break for local newscasts, a live episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon from the Orpheum was also broadcast.
NBC set the sales rate for a 30-second advertisement at US$4.5 million, a price $500,000 above the record set by the two preceding Super Bowls. For the first time, the network also offered 15-second ad spots. A large number of automotive advertisers reduced their advertising during the game, replaced by a wave of fifteen first-time Super Bowl advertisers, including Skittles, Carnival Cruise Lines, Loctite, Wix.com,  Jublia, a coalition of Mexican avocado growers, and Always among several others. NBC posted the commercials on a Tumblr blog as they aired throughout the game; the blog was promoted through NBC's own live stream, as it did not contain all of the same commercials as the television broadcast. The network had more difficulty than in recent years selling out the advertisements, with the last ads selling out four days before the game.
Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Lionsgate paid for movie trailers to be aired during the Super Bowl. Paramount paid for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Terminator Genisys. Universal paid for Fifty Shades of Grey, Pitch Perfect 2, Jurassic World, Minions, Furious 7, and the debut trailer for Ted 2. Fox paid for Kingsman: The Secret Service. Lionsgate paid for The Divergent Series: Insurgent during the pre-game show. Disney paid for Tomorrowland.
Super Bowl XLIX aired on Seven Network, 7mate, and ESPN in Australia, CTV in Canada, Sky Television in New Zealand, and Channel 4, Sky Sports, and BBC Radio 5 Live in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
NFL Network produced an international television feed of the game carried in some markets, with alternate English-language commentary provided by Bob Papa (play-by-play) and Charles Davis (color analyst).
The Canadian broadcast was the most-watched broadcast on television that week, with 8.26 million viewers, while the pregame ceremonies in the half-hour preceding the game attracted 5.16 million viewers, making it the second most-watched program of the week. In the United Kingdom, the game was watched by 191,000 viewers, making it the eighth highest-rated program on Sky Sports 1 that week. It was the most viewed broadcast on pay television in Australia that day, with 94,000 viewers.
The game aired live in France on channel W9.
The game was broadcast live in India on Sony SIX channel.
NBC also livestreamed the game for free on NBCSports.com on computers and the NBC Sports Live Extra app on tablets. Mobile device rights were exclusive to Verizon Wireless NFL Mobile for its subscribers who pay for NFL Mobile and they had to use NFL Mobile app instead of NBC Sports Live Extra.
The game was broadcast nationally on Westwood One radio, with Kevin Harlan as play-by-play announcer, Boomer Esiason as color analyst, and James Lofton and Mark Malone as sideline reporters. Jim Gray anchored the pre-game and halftime coverage, with Larry Fitzgerald, Tom Brady, Scott Graham, Rod Woodson and Kurt Warner contributing. Scott Graham also handled public address duties inside the stadium for pregame introductions and postgame awards.
Local market coverageEdit
The flagship stations of each station in the markets of each team carried their local play-by-play calls. In Seattle, KIRO-FM (97.3) and KIRO (710 AM) carried the game, with Steve Raible on play-by-play and Warren Moon on color commentary. As a clear-channel station, KIRO's commentary was audible over much of the West Coast of North America after sunset. In Greater Boston, WBZ-FM (98.5) carried the game, with Bob Socci on play-by-play and Scott Zolak on color commentary. Per contractual rules, the rest of the stations in the Seahawks and Patriots radio networks carried the Westwood One feed.
International radio coverageEdit
Westwood One's coverage was simulcasted on TSN Radio in Canada.
In the United Kingdom, BBC Radio 5 Live returned to coverage after the previous year's NFL broadcaster, Absolute Radio 90s, dropped out of sports coverage. Rocky Boiman and Darren Fletcher return as commentators.
On October 9, 2014, Billboard announced that Katy Perry would perform at halftime and the NFL confirmed the announcement on November 23, 2014. At the start of the halftime show, on-field participants held up light globes which created a bird's-eye view of the Pepsi logo. Perry entered the stadium riding atop a large, golden mechanical lion, opening her set with a performance of "Roar". She then proceeded to sing "Dark Horse", with 3D rendering on the field creating a chessboard visual where the turf constantly turned into "different shapes and sizes", as acrobats surrounded the singer. Following this, Perry joined Lenny Kravitz for a duet version of "I Kissed a Girl", which included her "rubbing up against" Kravitz and flames exploding behind them. During these three songs, Perry was clothed in a "flame-adorned" dress, with her black hair in a ponytail. The costume has been described as the "clothing equivalent of a flame", and "dress of fire". The stage and field rendering transitioned into a "breezy" beach setting, with dancers dressed as sharks, palm trees and smiling beach balls dancing around Perry. She underwent a wardrobe change, and progressed into a "campy" medley of "Teenage Dream" and "California Gurls". Rapper Missy Elliott subsequently appeared, performing her songs "Get Ur Freak On" and "Work It", while Perry played "hype-woman" beside her, having now changed once again into a custom Super Bowl 49 jersey. After Perry briefly disappeared, Elliott performed "Lose Control". Perry returned, now sporting a "star-encrusted gown" for her closing song, "Firework". She rose out of midfield on a narrow platform that was attached to a shooting star prop, and flew above the crowds. During this performance, fireworks exploded around Perry and the stadium. The star Perry flew around the stadium attached to was heavily compared to The More You Know's public service announcements logo. It was the most-watched halftime show of all time, with a total TV audience of 120.7 million.
In August 2014, it was reported that the NFL had a short list of three potential acts for the Super Bowl XLIX halftime show, including Coldplay, Katy Perry, and Rihanna. It was also reported by The Wall Street Journal that league representatives asked representatives of potential acts if they would be willing to provide financial compensation to the NFL in exchange for their appearance, in the form of either an up-front fee, or a cut of revenue from concert performances made following the Super Bowl. While these reports were denied by an NFL spokeswoman, the request had, according to the Journal, received a "chilly" response from those involved.
After the first two drives of the game ended in punts, New England got the first scoring opportunity with a drive to the Seattle 10-yard line. However, on third-and-six, quarterback Tom Brady threw a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Jeremy Lane and returned to the 14-yard line. Lane broke his wrist and tore his ACL on the play when he tried to break his fall with his arm extended after being tackled by Julian Edelman, and subsequently missed the rest of the game.
The game remained scoreless until New England's first drive of the second quarter, which began with Brady's 17-yard completed pass to Danny Amendola. Brady later completed a 23-yard pass to Edelman on third-and-nine, and eventually finished the drive with a 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon LaFell.
Seattle began to make progress when Russell Wilson completed his first pass of the day, a six-yard completion to Jermaine Kearse on third-and-six and with 5:36 left in the second quarter. After a five-yard run by Marshawn Lynch, Wilson completed a 44-yard pass to receiver Chris Matthews on the Patriots 11-yard line, setting up Lynch's three-yard touchdown run to tie the game. Only 2:16 remained in the half after Lynch's touchdown, but the scoring was far from over. Brady completed 5/6 passes for 59 yards on New England's ensuing possession, the last one a 22-yard touchdown completion to tight end Rob Gronkowski with 31 seconds remaining. Taking the ball back on their own 20, Seattle started off their drive with a 19-yard burst from Robert Turbin and a 17-yard scramble by Wilson. Then Wilson completed a 23-yard pass to Ricardo Lockette, with a facemask penalty on defensive back Kyle Arrington adding additional yardage that gave the team a first down on the Patriots 11-yard line. Only six seconds remained until halftime at this point, but coach Pete Carroll decided to take a shot at the end zone rather than kick a field goal, a gamble that paid off as Wilson threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Matthews on the next play, tying the game at 14 with just two seconds showing on the clock.
Seattle took the second half kickoff and drove 72 yards to the Patriots eight-yard line, featuring a 15-yard run by Lynch and a 45-yard reception by Matthews. After Lynch was stopped on third-and-one in the red zone, Steven Hauschka finished the drive with a 27-yard field goal, giving Seattle their first lead of the game at 17–14. On New England's next possession, linebacker Bobby Wagner's interception of a Brady pass and six-yard return gave the Seahawks the ball at midfield. Just as with their last interception, Seattle lost a player for the game on the play due to injury, this time defensive end Cliff Avril, who departed with a concussion. The offense was able to take advantage of the turnover, driving 50 yards in six plays and scoring on Wilson's three-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, who was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for an improper end-zone celebration. This made the score 24–14, and it would remain this way going into the fourth quarter. Until this game, no team in Super Bowl history had come back to win after facing a fourth-quarter deficit of more than seven points.
With 12:10 left in the game, New England mounted a 68-yard drive to cut their deficit to 24–21 on Brady's four-yard touchdown toss to Amendola. The drive included two 21-yard completions from Brady to Edelman, the first one converting a third-and-14 from the Patriots 28-yard line. Following a three-and-out for Seattle, New England got the ball back on their own 32 at the 6:52 mark. Brady started off the possession with two completions to running back Shane Vereen for 13 total yards, and followed it up with a nine-yard pass to Edelman. Following a penalty against New England, Gronkowski caught a pair of passes that moved the team up 33 yards to the Seattle 19. Over the next three plays, Vereen rushed for seven yards, Brady passed to LaFell for seven more, and Blount ran the ball two yards to the three-yard line. Finally, with 2:02 left in the game, Brady gave his team a 28–24 lead with a three-yard touchdown toss to Edelman.
After a touchback gave Seattle the ball on their 20, Wilson started off the Seahawks drive with a 31-yard completion to Lynch. Then after two incompletions, he picked up another first down with an 11-yard pass to Lockette. The following play gave Seattle an opportunity to win the game. Wilson threw a deep pass down the right sideline to Kearse, who was covered by rookie reserve cornerback Malcolm Butler. Both players dove through the air for the ball, and Butler managed to deflect it with one hand, but the pass fell right into the hands of Kearse, who tipped it to himself and caught the ball while he was lying on his back. Butler managed to recognize the catch and recover in time to shove Kearse out of bounds as he got up, preventing a Seattle touchdown, but the play netted 33 yards and gave the Seahawks a first down at the Patriots five-yard line with 1:05 left in regulation. Announcer Cris Collinsworth compared the play to two other acrobatic receptions by Patriots opponents that had defeated them in prior Super Bowls: David Tyree's Helmet Catch in Super Bowl XLII and Mario Manningham's sideline catch in Super Bowl XLVI. Al Michaels also compared it to Antonio Freeman's famous Monday Night Football catch known as "He did what?" (a play that Michaels had himself called).
On the next play, Lynch ran the ball four yards to the Patriots one-yard line where he was brought down by Dont'a Hightower. Since New England did not call a timeout, Seattle was able to run the clock down to 26 seconds before taking the snap for the next play. The Seahawks called a pass play in which Kearse would run a pick on the right side of the field to draw defensive backs away from Lockette as Lockette ran a slant to the middle, but Brandon Browner blocked Kearse at the line of scrimmage, preventing him from reaching Butler. Lockette appeared to be uncovered at the one-yard line when Wilson threw him the ball, but before the ball arrived, Butler correctly read the play and rushed into position to make the interception. The turnover—after an unsportsmanlike conduct call for excessive celebration—gave New England the ball on their own one-yard line with 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
The game was not quite over at this point. Since the ball was placed on the one-yard line, Brady had to take the snap in the end zone. If he took a knee or the Patriots otherwise failed to advance the ball beyond the goal line, this would be a safety, awarding Seattle two points and forcing the Patriots to kick the ball back to the Seahawks. Seattle would then have one time out and about 18 seconds to advance the ball into field goal range with the chance to win. However, the Patriots took a time out then held the ball as the play clock ran in the attempt to draw a Seattle defense player across the line of scrimmage. Had it run out, the delay of game penalty would have merely moved the ball back half the distance to the goal.
The strategy worked. Defensive lineman Michael Bennett moved across the line of scrimmage, earning a five-yard encroachment penalty and moving the ball to the New England six-yard line. Brady then took a knee, Seattle called its final time-out, and Seattle linebacker Bruce Irvin rushed some of the Patriots players, starting a brawl involving players from both teams that resulted in a personal foul penalty for Seattle. Irvin received the first ejection in Super Bowl history for throwing a closed hand punch at Rob Gronkowski. Brady knelt one more time and the Patriots were victorious.
Brady completed 37 of 50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns, with two interceptions. His 37 completions set a new Super Bowl record, surpassing Peyton Manning's 34 set the previous year against Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII. He also surpassed Joe Montana's record for career touchdown passes in Super Bowls, setting a new record with 13. His top receiver was Edelman, who caught 9 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for seven yards and returning three punts for 27 additional yards. Vereen caught 11 passes for 64 yards and rushed for 13. For Seattle, Wilson completed 12 of 21 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, while also rushing for 39 yards. Lynch was the top rusher of the game with 102 yards and a touchdown, and also caught a pass for 31 yards. Matthews, an undrafted rookie who had not caught any passes in the regular season or postseason before the Super Bowl, caught four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Wagner had 12 tackles (10 solo) and an interception. Linebacker K. J. Wright had 11 tackles (10 solo). New England became only the fourth team to win a Super Bowl despite losing the turnover battle (after the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V and the Pittsburgh Steelers in both Super Bowls XIV and XL).
In winning, Brady became the third quarterback in NFL history with four Super Bowl victories. Brady was also named MVP for a third time, tying the record set by Joe Montana. The Seahawks became the first defending champion since the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII to lose in the Super Bowl the next year. This also marked the 10th consecutive Super Bowl without a repeat winner (with the last one being the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX).
In a poll conducted by NFL.com a couple of months after the game, Super Bowl XLIX was voted by its readers as the "greatest Super Bowl game" of all time. The article does report that the voting was structured to try to account for "recency bias" in relation to the game at the time when the poll was conducted, but voters still "pushed it through the competition". Most lists of greatest Super Bowls continue to list it in the top few games.
Reactions to Seattle's final playEdit
After the game, Seattle faced heavy criticism for their decision to call a pass play on second and goal from the 1-yard line with 26 seconds and one timeout left instead of a rushing play. Following the play, Collinsworth stated, "I'm sorry, but I can't believe the call. … I cannot believe the call. You've got Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. You've got a guy that has been borderline unstoppable in this part of the field. I can't believe the call." He further added, "If I lose the Super Bowl because Marshawn Lynch can’t get it in from the 1 yard line, so be it. So be it! But there is no way... I don’t believe the call." Sports Illustrated writer Peter King called the play one of the worst calls in Super Bowl history, as did retired Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Retired running back Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, went even further, calling it the worst play call in the history of football. Others, including University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath defended the call, crediting Butler for the play he made and pointing out that the Seahawks only had one time-out left. Writing for Grantland, Bill Simmons said the Seahawks "took too much heat for the final play call" and noted Carroll opted to run the ball on fourth down at the end of the 2006 Rose Bowl, costing his team the game.
Butler's interception, thanks to his quick "read-and-react to Ricardo Lockette's underneath route", has been considered one of the top clutch plays in Super Bowl history.
In the game, Lynch had gained at least one yard on 22 of 24 carries. While the Patriots in 2014 were ranked fifth-worst (28th overall) in the league in holding opposing backs for no gain or a loss, they had stopped him for no gain on both a third-and-2 and a third-and-1, the latter in the red zone. On the season, Lynch had scored just once on his five attempts from his opponent's 1-yard line. From 2010 to 2014, he scored 45 percent of the time, ranking 30th out of 39 running backs; for his career to that point, he was successful on 42 percent of his attempts (15 of 36).[a][b]
Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell acknowledged making the call, but also remarked that Lockette could have been more aggressive on the play. Wilson said the play was a "good call", and lamented throwing the interception and "not making that play." Carroll, though, said the last play was "all my fault", and called Bevell "crucially important to our future." The head coach added that Seattle would have run the ball on a subsequent play, as well that "we don't ever call a play thinking we might throw an interception." Butler's interception was the only one against all 109 pass attempts during the 2014 NFL season from the 1-yard line.
|Statistic||New England Patriots||Seattle Seahawks|
|First downs rushing||1||8|
|First downs passing||21||10|
|First downs penalty||3||2|
|Third down efficiency||8/14||3/10|
|Fourth down efficiency||0/0||0/0|
|Net yards rushing||57||162|
|Yards per rush||2.7||5.6|
|Passing – Completions-attempts||37/50||12/21|
|Times sacked-total yards||1–8||3–13|
|Net yards passing||320||234|
|Total net yards||377||396|
|Punt returns-total yards||3–27||2–6|
|Kickoff returns-total yards||3–49||0–0|
|Interceptions-total return yards||1–3||2–14|
|Time of possession||33:46||26:14|
|Most games started||6||Tom Brady|
|Most games started at quarterback||6|
|Most pass completions, game||37|
|Most passing touchdowns, career||13|
|Most pass attempts, career||247*|
|Most pass completions, career||164*|
|Most passing yards, career||1,605*||*extended his record|
|Longest punt||64 yards||Ryan Allen (New England)|
|Most tackles, career||22||Bobby Wagner (Seattle)|
|Largest fourth-quarter comeback||10 points||New England|
|Most first downs earned, passing||21|
|Fewest kickoff returns, one team||0||Seattle|
|Fewest kickoff return yards, one team||0|
|Fewest kickoff returns, both teams||3||New England (3), Seattle (0)|
|Fewest kickoff return yards, both teams||49||New England (49), Seattle (0)|
|Most Super Bowl MVP Awards||3||Tom Brady|
|Most games played||6|
|Most wins as starting QB||4|
|Most games as player, assistant, or coach||9||Bill Belichick|
|Most games, head coach||6|
|Most wins, head coach||4|
|Most Super Bowl appearances||8||New England|
|Largest comeback||10 points|
|Fewest first downs rushing||1|
|Fewest rushing touchdowns||0|
|Fewest fumbles, both teams||0|
|Fewest fumbles lost, both teams||0|
|Fewest field goals attempted, both teams||1||New England (0), Seattle (1)|
1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted
|Brandon LaFell||WR||Doug Baldwin|
|Nate Solder||LT||Russell Okung|
|Dan Connolly||LG||James Carpenter|
|Bryan Stork||C||Max Unger|
|Ryan Wendell||RG||J. R. Sweezy|
|Sebastian Vollmer||RT||Justin Britt|
|Rob Gronkowski||TE||Luke Willson|
|Julian Edelman||WR||Jermaine Kearse|
|Tom Brady||QB||Russell Wilson|
|Michael Hoomanawanui||TE||WR||Ricardo Lockette|
|Shane Vereen||RB||Marshawn Lynch|
|Rob Ninkovich||LE||LDE||Michael Bennett|
|Vince Wilfork||DT||LDT||Tony McDaniel|
|Sealver Siliga||DT||RDT||Kevin Williams|
|Chandler Jones||RE||RDE||Cliff Avril|
|Jamie Collins||LB||OLB||Bruce Irvin|
|Dont'a Hightower||LB||MLB||Bobby Wagner|
|Kyle Arrington||DB||OLB||K. J. Wright|
|Darrelle Revis||LCB||Richard Sherman|
|Brandon Browner||RCB||Byron Maxwell|
|Patrick Chung||SS||Kam Chancellor|
|Devin McCourty||FS||Earl Thomas|
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