In a game that will surely be remembered for many years to come, the New England Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl in thirteen years when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 two Sundays ago.
The game will forever be remembered for Seattle’s questionable play call that resulted in an interception with just over 20 seconds left in regulation. Seattle’s Jermaine Kearse had just made a miraculous, circus catch that got them to within the ten yard line with just over 20 seconds left on the clock. Seattle then ran a running play that got them to the two yard line. What ensued may have been the worst play call in NFL history. Armed with a timeout and three chances to score, Seattle decided to throw the ball on second down, rather than choosing to run the ball with their elite back, Marshawn Lynch. This turned out to be a disaster, as Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the slant route and intercepted the ball. New England then drew an encroachment penalty on Seattle, and kneeled the ball to secure the victory. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has deservingly come under heavy scrutiny for the play call, as it was a stupid, and really indefensible call.
So what will the offseason bring for each of these teams? Seattle’s top priority this offseason will be re-signing their franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to a long-term contract. Multiple media outlets have speculated that his new contract could be the richest in NFL history, with an average annual salary of $25 million. In order to create sufficient cap room to sign Wilson to such a massive deal, Seattle will have to make tough decisions regarding some of their talented pending free agents, including guard James Carpenter, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, legion of boom member Byron Maxwell, and Super Bowl XLVIII MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith. Most, if not all, of these talented players will have to be let go to create the near $20 million in cap room needed to give Wilson a massive contract extension. However, Seattle has their core players signed long term, and will be able to be a force in the league for years to come.
As for New England, this offseason will be an important one for them. New England will likely decline the $20 million option on Darrelle Revis’ contract, making him a free agent. New England would love to retain the elite cornerback at a reduced price, but it is likely that a plethora of teams will have interest in him, which will make it difficult to re-sign him. New England will also need to re sign pro bowl safety Devin McCourty, running back Shane Vereen, linebacker Akeem Ayers, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots will surely be the team beat in the AFC East next season, and it is very possible that they will once again contend for a Super Bowl title.