Calling the NFL a game of inches is cliche, but when you consider that a single play from the 1-yard line managed to alter the course of history for two franchises, it's not that far-fetched a phrase. Super Bowl XLIX is one of the great games ever played, and it culminated in a stunning interception of Russell Wilson by Malcolm Butler, which only happened because the Seahawks threw from the 1-yard line instead of handing Marshawn Lynch the ball.
Appearing on the "Dave Dameshek Football Program" this week, former Seahawks defensive end turned KJR radio analyst Cliff Avril admitted the play caused the Seahawks' core to become disrupted and caused players to check out on the message from Pete Carroll.
Such stories are not new, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've heard a member of those teams admit the issues that a single play created. Avril believes Seattle wins not just a second but a third Super Bowl if it punches the ball in against New England.
"Sometimes it's tough, because two is better than one, obviously," Avril said. "You think about what could have happened -- if we win that Super Bowl, I think we probably would have won another one in the two years that went by."
"I do think the team would have bought in more to what Coach Carroll was saying, instead of going the opposite way of, hey, this is what we thought the foundation of the team was, and that's not what happened in that particular play."
He believes that Carroll -- who ultimately took the blame for former offensive coordinator calling a pass instead of a run -- ended up with veterans in the locker room "questioning him."
"So I think guys started questioning him more, more so than actually following his lead, if we'd won that Super Bowl," Avril said. "The situation sucked regardless of who took the blame. It's just the fact that we were so close and we weren't able to get it, so I think a lot of guys got turned off by the message."
Again, this is fascinating to hear from someone who was a part of the proceedings. Seth Wickersham of ESPN penned a profile in 2017 of the Seahawks that detailed schisms in the locker room -- multiple players, including cornerback Richard Sherman, came out and denied the claims.