FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday explained his thinking regarding the sequence at the end of Super Bowl XLIX when he didn’t call timeout prior to cornerback Malcolm Butler's interception.
After the ball was snapped with 1:06 remaining and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch advanced the ball to the Patriots' 1-yard line, the clock ticked down to 26 seconds before the next play, Butler’s interception. This would have cost the Patriots precious time on offense had Seattle scored.
So why no timeout?
During his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI, Belichick said he considered a timeout but decided against it after seeing what personnel Seattle brought onto the field (three receivers).
“We put our goal-line defense in probably around the same time they were sending in their multiple receiver group, and that's kind of what we wanted to be in there, to make sure they didn't run the ball in,” Belichick said.
“I'd like to think had they tried to run the ball against our goal-line defense, with three receivers on the field -- we couldn't ask for any more than that in terms of trying to stop the running game. We saw that matchup and we certainly gave some consideration to taking a timeout there and leaving some time on the clock. I don’t know if that would have been a bad thing to do. It might have been a good thing to do.
“But it just seemed like in the flow of the game that we were OK with where we were.”
Then Belichick brought up an interesting wrinkle that few who aren’t involved in game-day communication might have considered: With more media on the field for the end of the game to capture the postgame scene, sometimes communication systems that teams use can be affected.
Belichick mentioned Super Bowl XLII against the Giants, saying that happened to the Patriots at the end of that game.
“All the TVs and everything go down on the field right at the end of the game, then your communication systems that were working OK during the game then break down at the end. That was the same thing that happened in '07. I thought that the signaling and the communication by [defensive coordinator] Matt Patricia and the defensive players, in order to get those subs on and off, was really good. We handled that part of it well.
“Then Malcolm made a great play on the two under three route. That’s pretty much what happened from our end.”