The year is 2023, and we are still talking about the final play of Super Bowl XLIX between the Seahawks and the Patriots.
The game is back in the news recently because Richard Sherman had his former coach, Pete Carroll, on his podcast last week, and, of course, that infamous goal-line interception was inevitably brought up.
It isn't a completely unwarranted conversation to have, considering the circumstances of what took place and the history of alleged hostility it caused in the locker room, which included Sherman. However, the fact that it has been nearly ten years since the game occurred, and we're still talking about it, seems a bit silly, but it also proves how devastating it was for the franchise.
Carroll brought up the moment himself, going over all the details that went into the decision to call the passing play that set up the interception, and mentioned how they had practiced that exact scenario several times leading up to the big game.
He continued his efforts to defend why the play was called, and upon hearing the thought process behind it, even Sherman agreed that it was the right decision to make at the time.
Some may call that a bit controversial because most Seahawks players from that team and even media members and fans continue to blame the call for the loss. But if Sherman, one of the more vocal players to take issue with it, agrees with the decision, then maybe it's not a problematic stance to have now.
It was a fascinating conversation to watch since so much has occurred since that moment in 2015, much of which was caused internally by players who continued to take issue with the final offensive play call. It got so bad that even conspiracy theories began to float around, which Carroll seemingly addressed with Sherman.
"That play just happened. That play got called. It just happened. It wasn’t by design. There was no foreshadowing, no intent, no agenda. That play just happened."
Then came the more controversial part.
As the pair discussed those successful years of the Seahawks, Carroll suggested that had they beaten the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, they would have easily gone to the following Super Bowl and won another.
"Had we won that game, we would have won again"
Sherman co-signed his former coach, agreeing they would have definitely gone home with another Lombardi trophy.
On the surface, perhaps it doesn't seem like a controversial take. Most successful teams have the mentality that they'll easily win another once they win one championship. But the Patriots' longevity of success during their dynasty years has jaded those who have gotten a tiny taste of glory.
It's not an entirely wrong mindset since any team in the league aims to win a Super Bowl. But how have we gotten to the point that winning a championship in the National Football League is an easy feat?
And since when is it something that can be replicated year after year?
Just because the Patriots were able to sustain that type of success over a long period, including going to and winning back-to-back Super Bowls, doesn't mean any coach, quarterback, team, etc., can do the same. So much goes into creating a winning team and environment that it cannot be overstated.
It all starts at the top.
From the owner to the general manager to the coaches and players. It's about the team's culture and philosophy, the attitude and the leadership. It's about selflessness, doing what's best for the team, and collectively sharing a winning mindset.
But beyond that, so much goes into managing a team's roster and appropriately handling the salary cap. Maintaining a team full of star players is impossible, even with an annually increasing cap number. It's something Belichick and the Patriots perfected, sometimes to a fault, but it's a leading reason for their success.
On top of it all, trust is one of the most essential parts of any successful team. And that is not something the Seahawks had after the Super Bowl loss. It's the primary explanation for why players left at that season's end and why issues stemmed for years afterward, hence why this interview between Carroll and Sherman was so intriguing.
A lack of trust is an immediate killer to any potential success a team may seek.
Although this was just a small blip in their conversation, it stood out to those in New England because of the continued belief that winning a Super Bowl is so easy. It's an argument mentioned constantly in today's NFL as we witness unbelievable success with the Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid Chiefs. But even that team has a long road before they can call themselves a dynasty, too.
At the same time, the Chiefs are an excellent example of a team that has universally bought into the culture and winning attitude to continue their unique path to success and win. It's clear there is trust within, and there's a reason Reid will go down as one of the best coaches of all time.
Suppose Kansas City can continue on this track and win another Super Bowl or two. In that case, they'll be the latest example of all it takes to be a legendary franchise in the NFL, something Carroll and Sherman should watch carefully and maybe rethink their assumption of that former Seahawks team.