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Too Good to Air


What the NFL Doesn't Want You to Know


First Call, Second Guess
By Dennis Ranahan

I had Seattle and I thought the call on the last Seahawks offensive possession in Super Bowl XLIX was exactly what I was betting on; a team seizing the moment to cap a victory.

Even before the Patriots had done enough to draw a celebration flag, Chris Collinsworth was chastising the Seahawks for the call. “When you have the best back in Marshawn Lynch and you do that, I’m sorry,” the NBC color analyst said not leaving a lot of room for differing opinions.

Sometimes, the best calls that don’t work are the ones most criticized.

The winning coach in Super Bowl XLIX was highly criticized in 2009 for a decision to go for a fourth and two at their own 28-yard-line rather than punt the ball back to Peyton Manning and his Colts. Belichick made a calculation, Manning was slicing up his defense and if his team strength, the offense, got two yards he could run out the clock to seal the 34-28 win.

Tom Brady’s fourth down pass was complete, but the tackle was made short of the first down marker. It took Manning only four plays to score the winning touchdown for the Colts.

Seahawks Caught?
Super Edge

On December 23, 1972 I was in my senior year of college and at Candlestick Park to see the San Francisco 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys in an NFC playoff game. Before the 49ers even started, I had heard on my transistor radio the Oakland Raiders take a late lead at Three Rivers Stadium on a Ken Stabler touchdown run. But, before I found my seat in the stadium, the Pittsburgh Steelers had completed one of the most famous plays in the history of the NFL … the Immaculate Reception in which Franco Harris grabbed a deflected pass on a fourth down with time running out and took it to the house for a Steelers win.

A few hours later, the 49ers game ended in almost as dramatic fashion. San Francisco had been ousted from the playoffs the prior two years by Dallas, but after Vic Washington had returned the opening kickoff to give the home team a lead the 49ers seemed on their way to a win with a 15 point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Then, Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry replaced Craig Morton with quarterback Roger Staubach, and the rest is Cowboys magic. A field goal was followed by a pair of touchdowns in quick succession and the 49ers crowd was left dazed by the Dallas win, 30-28.

Before I headed back to college, I traversed my route through Lake Tahoe where I put a significant chuck on my student loan on the Washington Redskins, who played Dallas the following Sunday at RFK Stadium. Even though I was young, I had been charting motivational factors through high school and college and knew this … when a team has an emotional win, particularly a big comeback in the playoffs, they are dead meat the next week.

I bought new snow skis that year with the winnings from the Redskins 26-3 pounding of Dallas the Sunday after the Cowboys had downed the 49ers.

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