Former Seattle Seahawks defensive Cliff Avril said the team began to doubt coach Pete Carroll shortly after Malcolm Butler’s interception at the goal line in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.
The Seahawks were closing in on a second consecutive Super Bowl triumph when they advanced the ball to the New England Patriots’ 1-yard line with 26 seconds remaining. Trailing by four, the Seahawks elected against running the ball with five-time Pro Bowl selection Marshawn Lynch in favor of a pass play with quarterback Russell Wilson.
“You think about what could have happened,” the 32-year-old Avril said on the Dave Dameshek Football Program. “If we win that Super Bowl, I think we probably would have won another one within the two years that went by.”
Instead, Avril said, the cracks began to form and the door was open for questioning the methods of Carroll.
“I do think the team would have bought in more to what Coach Carroll was saying instead of going the opposite way,” Avril said. “… So I think guys started questioning him more, more so than actually following his lead if we’d won that Super Bowl.”
Carroll has conceded his decision to pass the ball in that situation was “the worst result of a call ever.”
“The situation (stunk) regardless of who took the blame,” said Avril, who was released by the Seahawks with a failed physical designation on May 4.
“It’s just the fact that we were so close and we weren’t able to get it, so I think a lot of guys got turned off by the message.”
The Seahawks answered their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots with defeats in the divisional round in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons. They saw their streak of five straight playoff appearances come to an end following a 9-7 mark in 2017.