Darrell Bevell will be remembered as the guy responsible for the playcall that cost the Seattle Seahawks the Super Bowl.
But that isn't entirely fair, nor is it completely accurate.
Bevell, fired by the Seahawks on Wednesday, should also be remembered as a successful offensive coordinator, or at least a much better one than he was often given credit for being during his seven seasons in Seattle. That stretch produced some of the most prolific offenses in franchise history along with five straight playoff appearances and two trips to the Super Bowl. That wouldn't have happened with a bad coordinator. Russell Wilson wouldn't rank second in NFL history in passer rating if the coach designing and calling his plays was a total slouch.
That's not to say the Seahawks erred in firing Bevell. It's understandable that they decided a fresh start was needed in order to right a badly listing offense as opposed to maintaining the status quo with Bevell and line coach Tom Cable, who was also fired Wednesday. The Seahawks could probably benefit from a new voice in Wilson's ear, something a new coordinator will provide.
The point is that Bevell's accomplishments were largely overlooked by his most ardent detractors. That's the way it often goes for playcallers. For Bevell, there was no avoiding it after what happened at the end of Super Bowl XLIX.
But here's the thing: Bevell wasn't solely responsible for either the playcall, nor how it failed in epic fashion.
At the risk of reopening one of the most painful wounds in Seattle sports history, let's revisit what happened.
The Seahawks trailed by four points with 26 seconds and one timeout left. They faced second-and-goal from the New England Patriots' 1-yard line after a first-down carry by Marshawn Lynch. As coach Pete Carroll would later explain, he determined that the only way the Seahawks would have time to run all three plays -- if they needed to -- would be to throw the ball on at least one of them, thereby stopping the clock should the pass fall incomplete.
With New England in its goal-line defense that included only three defensive backs, the Seahawks opted to throw on second down instead of having Lynch run into a stacked front that was set up to stop him.
The decision to throw the ball was understandable. The specific play that Seattle called, and the way it was executed, was what backfired. It was only going to work if Jermaine Kearse got far enough off the line of scrimmage to get in Malcolm Butler's way, preventing him from making a play on the slant pass to Ricardo Lockette. But Brandon Browner got just enough of a jam on Kearse to give Butler an unimpeded path for his game-sealing interception.
Perhaps it was asking too much of Kearse to out-physical Browner, the NFL's most physical cornerback at the time. But the point is that Bevell was only part of it all. Carroll, at the very least, advocated for a passing play and signed off on the one that Bevell chose. Kearse didn't do his job well enough. And Butler made a tremendous play.
In December of the following season, Seattle's offense was rolling, having averaged more than 450 yards in its previous three games. The hot streak invited a question to Bevell in his weekly news conference about how he turned the page personally from such a devastating finish to Super Bowl XLIX.
Bevell was also asked about how, a few weeks earlier, the Indianapolis Colts had scored a touchdown on the play that Seattle ran at the goal line against New England -- same part of the field, same formation, same route.
Bevell smiled and said, "it's a great play."
It wasn't for the Seahawks, and unfortunately for Bevell, he'll be remembered for it in Seattle despite everything else he did.