New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen is a Super Bowl champion, but even he admits that things were very close to going the other way on Feb. 1. Vereen, in an interview with the NFL Network's NFL AM on Monday morning, said that the Patriots were preparing for the Seattle Seahawks to score on their final drive of the game.
"When I was on the sideline, and I saw where they had the ball in the situation, we were trying to get some plays together for the offense to try and get at least a field goal to tie the thing up," Vereen said, via NFL.com, "So my focus was mainly more on that, 'cause I definitely thought they were going to hand it to him and he was gonna punch it in."
Vereen is referring to Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, who had been running well all game and who many thought would get multiple opportunities to run in the touchdown at the end of the game. Seattle opted to throw the football and quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted, effectively ending the game and Seattle's chances at repeating as Super Bowl champions.
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Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called the play, but ultimately called out wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, saying he could have been "stronger to the ball." Seahawks players openly criticized the play call, while head coach Pete Carroll took responsibility and probably isn't over the whole thing yet.
It's unclear just how many people on the Patriots felt that Lynch scoring was a foregone conclusion, but head coach Bill Belichick is not among them. He stated that the matchup favored the Patriots and that they would have been able to stop Lynch given that the Seahawks had three receivers on the field.
The fact that Vereen, a player on New England's offense, felt as though the Seahawks were going to run it in with Lynch and score is just the latest in a long line of people believing it was the wrong play call. That's probably not even considering a lack of faith in his team's defense -- Lynch is just that good, and was playing that well. Either way, the call will go down as one of the bigger head-scratchers in recent Super Bowl memory.