BY Art Thiel 05:15PM 07/24/2015

Seahawks’ Lockette can’t watch Super Bowl pick

In the Players’ Tribune, Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette comments on his role in the fateful pass in the Super Bowl. He says he can’t bring himself to watch the replay.

Malcolm Butler (21) is already moving forward to intercept before the ball has left Russell Wilson’s hands. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The man who didn’t catch the Seahawks’ final pass of the Super Bowl also hasn’t caught a glimpse of the replay, either.

In his first public comments since the biggest misplay in Super Bowl history, WR Ricardo Lockette, in a first-person story for the Players’ Tribune, says he has deliberately avoided seeing the moment that assures him a permanent place in sports history.

Which puts him in direct contradiction to all the Twelves, who cannot not see the play, if only in their minds. Here’s part of what he wrote:

I can’t watch the film. I absolutely can’t stand to see it. People have told me it was the perfect interception. People have told me there’s a camera angle where it looks like I’m about to walk right into the end zone. People have told me all sorts of things about the last play of Super Bowl XLIX. I wouldn’t know. Whenever it comes on, I turn away.

I have the whole thing in my head anyway, second by second. I remember going into the huddle, and Russell Wilson is just looking at everybody like, Here we go. This is it. I truly believed we were about to win. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. You can’t look at Russ and not believe. I’ve never been around a more confident person. He calls a play we’d practiced all year. We ran it three times during the season in the same situation, to 100 percent completion. Perfect. Unstoppable play.

The play always goes to me. I think, Well, damn. Here we go. Let’s win the Super Bowl. I jog to the line and the stadium is deafening. I look across the line. Darrelle Revis follows Doug Baldwin to the other side. We have the matchup we want. Before I have time to think or be nervous, the ball is snapped. I take off. Jermaine Kearse sets the pick in front of me, just like we’ve done it a hundred times. I’m looking at Russ … I’m looking at Russ … I see the ball coming.

Patriots DB Malcolm Butler also saw it. And in film study, coach Bill Belichick saw it, and warned Butler in the Tuesday practice before the game that when the Seahawks stack two receivers to the right and motion a third one to the left, the pass is coming after the first receiver blocks a defensive back.

Lockette’s reference to the play working three times in the season is probably true, but none occurred in the close quarters of a second-and-goal from the one-yard line. Butler ran straight to where the ball was targeted instead of moving toward Lockette, who collided with Butler and was knocked down. Lockette continues:

The next thing I know, I’m on the turf on my knees. I’m looking around like, Okay, it’s incomplete? I look across to the Patriots’ sideline, and I see Tom Brady jumping up and down. And then I look across to our sideline and I see our guys with this blank look, with their heads dropped.

I will never forget that pain. Never.

He is not alone. Apart from the argument of pass vs. run, the key questions were why Lockette, and why a slant pass in traffic when Lockette’s speed makes him better in the open field?

Lockette, 29, had a modest 11 receptions in the regular season and six in the postseason. But fate might have elevated him to the most infamous backup receiver in NFL history.

When Wilson in April invited a number of players to Hawaii for an off-season training session, Lockette found himself alone along a cliff overlooking the Pacific when Wilson approached.

I was standing there looking out at the ocean for a long time, and Russ walked up to me. It was the first time we’d seen each other since the Super Bowl. I told him how I’d been having a lot of sleepless nights. He said him, too. Then he looked at me and said, “We’re going to get back there, and if we’re in that same position again, I’m going to throw you the ball again. We’re going to get it done. I trust you.”

This wasn’t some rehearsed speech. There are quarterbacks out there who will say things like that, and as it’s coming out of their mouth, you know they don’t believe it. The special thing about Russ is that no matter what happens, his belief in others is beyond anything you’ll ever see in football. That matters to guys like you wouldn’t believe.

I told him, “I got you.”

At some point, it might be cathartic for Lockette to get past the pain by confronting it once and eliminating the mystery. But everyone copes differently. At least Lockette was willing to write about it — perhaps knowing he will have forever to talk about it.


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    When Darrell Bevell took responsibility for the play call but added that Lockette needed to be more aggressive towards the ball in that situation I cringed. Even if that’s the case it’s not good to publicly chastise your own player, especially in a losing effort. Especially when that effort cost a Super Bowl win. That being the case, I agreed that Lockette looked like he thought he could just glide into the end zone and didn’t see Butler. (Nor did Wilson see where Butler was or even try to look him off.) I can see more of an emphasis in the passing game this season with the addition of Graham and a greater role in the passing game for Lockette, Chris Matthews and Paul Richardson when he returns from injury.

    Starting to feel pretty good about this season. I’m liking what I’ve been hearing from the players. They’ve been taking the loss and bulding off of it. They’re very focused on their goal instead of doing a lot of chest thumping. Reminds me of their 2013 Victory Tour season.

  • ll9956

    I feel for Lockette. Hope he has a great 2015 season. And I agree Bevell shouldn’t have criticized Lockette, especially publicly.

  • PokeyPuffy

    Gosh in February it seemed like a huge chasm of time until the season starts again, and nothing but a feeling of frustration and helplessness. But life goes on, its been a great summer and if anything i feel this loss will be good for the team and the fans, who have come to expect too much. For Lockette and Wilson and the team, it must have been horrible to experience.

    The 06 loss was worse IMO, with the total Pittsburgh bias in everything, media narrative/officiating/etc. This group has a brighter future and hopefully our fair weather fans will jump off the boat and it will be fun to follow the hawks again!

    The schedule doesn’t help and i’m sure it will be another nail biter with maybe some early losses and the need for a late season rally to get in the playoffs. and of course I hope the Patriots get there comeuppance, a first round loss to the Ravens or some such

  • John M

    Maybe the next time Bevell calls that play he should try to catch it himself. Far as I can tell, Pete called for a pass – but That pass play was Bevell’s decision. Anyway, the team is shaping up stronger than ever. I did hope to see Bobby sign a long term contract by camp. Heard they’ve offered RW around 21. If he doesn’t take it I don’t think there’s a doubt he will go to free agency next year. Thanks Rodgers . . .