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51 for LI Countdown: In Super Bowl XLIX, The Butler Did It

[lead align=”default”]Super Bowl LI Sunday is seven weeks from today, or 49 days from now. That makes this a good time to look back at Super Bowl XLIX.[/lead]

This was a game notable for pitting two strong teams against one another. The NFC champion Seattle Seahawks were looking to pull off a Super Bowl rarity: a repeat. The AFC champion New England Patriots sought to reignite their dynasty under the leadership of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Heading into Super Bowl XLIX, the controversy around Deflategate (which is still discussed in New England media to this day) set the sports world into a frenzy. Nobody will forget the press conference Bill Belichick gave days after the AFC Championship on the subject. The Patriots coached droned on about air pressure and feeling balls.

The ramifications of that would be felt by New England during the 2016 NFL season. In spite of all this, there was a football game to be played that day in February.

Super Bowl XLIX: The Point Spread

This game, unlike so many other games, was a Pick ‘Em. In fact, Super Bowl XLIX was the only Super Bowl to date in which neither team was favored. You can see why: this game set a great defense in Seattle against a great offense of the Patriots.

Of course, it was the Seattle offense and New England defense that settled it.

Super Bowl XLIX: The Deciding Play

In the closing minutes, Seattle blew a 10-point lead and fell behind New England. Yet, with Russell Wilson at the helm, the Seahawks got to the cusp of the end zone to try to wrest the game from the Pats.

And then, this happened.

As millions of people said “why is Seattle in the shotgun,” Wilson throws an interception to Malcolm Butler to seal the game. For reasons that still escape me to this day, Marshawn Lynch didn’t touch the rock with a timeout in hand and needing one yard.

In a stretch that featured one of the most bizarre leads-up to the Super Bowl ever, the game ended in thrilling fashion. Don’t say the NFL isn’t entertaining in its own way.

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