Patriots

Tom Brady defends Pete Carroll on Malcolm Butler pick: 'They couldn't have run the ball'

Tom Brady defends Pete Carroll on Malcolm Butler pick: 'They couldn't have run the ball'

Almost five years later, Tom Brady still feels like Pete Carroll made the right choice. 

During his weekly WEEI interview with the Greg Hill Show on WEEI, Brady said the Seahawks had no choice but to throw at the goal line, leading to Malcolm Butler's Super Bowl-winning interception. 

The Butler pick was recently named the No. 5 play of all time during a league-run poll to determine the Top 100 plays of the NFL's first 100 years.

"That to me was -- unfortunately everyone made a big deal of the play call and so forth," Brady said. "Which, the reality is, In my view, they couldn't have run the ball in that situation because of the way our defense had designed our defensive play. We forced them to throw it. And Malcolm made, I believe, one of the greatest plays in the history of the NFL. Look, No. 5 is pretty good considering 100 years of the NFL and all these plays.

"I told Malcolm that was one of the greatest defensive plays I've ever seen in my life. For him to recognize it. So few players could've made that play because of his quickness, his burst, and then his ability to attack the football. Dont'a [Hightower] made the play before that . . . and then Malcolm made that play. That was pretty crazy. I lost my mind when he made that play. That was an out of body experience."

The defensive play Brady was alluding to was the fact that the Patriots went very heavy with their personnel on that second-and-goal play from the one-yard line. They had seven front-seven players on the line of scrimmage: Rob Ninkovich, Chris Jones, Alan Branch, Silver Siliga, Vince Wilfork, Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones. Hightower was at the linebacker level behind them. And there were three corners on the field, no safeties, to match up with Seattle's three receivers. 

Running into a ton -- close to an actual metric ton -- of humanity on the line of scrimmage, Brady argued, wouldn't have made sense. Clearly Carroll and his staff agreed. So they threw. And we know the result. 

But on second down, with 26 seconds left and a timeout, with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, hard to believe that throwing was their only option there. 

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Patriots Talk Podcast: Patriots Opposing Views - Perspectives from around the NFL

Patriots Talk Podcast: Patriots Opposing Views - Perspectives from around the NFL

Over the last few weeks, NBC Sports Boston's Patriots insiders Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry have chatted with NFL writers from around the country to get their perspective on the Pats as well as the teams they cover.

To catch up on the Patriots Opposing Views series, look no further than the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.

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1:15 – Mary Kay Cabot joins Tom to discuss the Cleveland Browns. Topics include: how close the team was to hiring Josh McDaniels and if the Odell Beckham Jr.-to-New England rumors are dead.

11:08 – Ed Bouchette joins Tom to discuss the Pittsburgh Steelers. Topics include: the excitement level in Pittsburgh now that Tom Brady has left New England and whether Ben Roethlisberger can return to an elite level.

22:46 – Joe Rexrode joins Phil to discuss the Tennessee Titans. Topics include: the reasons for Mike Vrabel’s coaching success and if the team was right to choose Ryan Tannehill over Tom Brady this offseason.

30:11 – John McClain joins Tom to discuss the Houston Texans. Topics include: what John thinks of Jarrett Stidham after watching him at Baylor and why Bill O’Brien traded DeAndre Hopkins.

39:32 – Justin Rogers joins Phil to discuss the Detroit Lions. Topics include: if Matt Patricia is on the ‘hot seat’ as head coach and the odds Matthew Stafford ends his career outside of Detroit.

You can check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network or on YouTube.

Next Pats Podcast: How Dalton Keene can transform Patriots offense

Next Pats Podcast: How Dalton Keene can transform Patriots offense

In the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots addressed their need at the tight end position by selecting Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene with back-to-back picks.

Keene, a Virginia Tech product, is a particularly intriguing rookie due to his versatility. Anyone who knows Bill Belichick knows that the Patriots head coach loves a player who can act a swiss army knife and can be effective no matter where you put them on the field, and Keene was exactly that during his college years.

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Brad Cornelsen, Keene's offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech, believes Belichick and the Patriots will be pleased with everything the young tight end brings to the table as a player. On the latest Next Pats Podcast with Phil Perry, Cornelson explained how Keene excelled at multiple roles on offense and can translate that experience to the NFL.

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In high school he was a quarterback, I mean he did a little bit of everything so we knew there was some versatility when he came. But I think his natural spot when he showed up was kind of that hybrid guy for us between tight end and kind of back. And so, playing him in the backfield quite a bit in the run game, blocking, kicking out edges, getting on the perimeter, those were the ways we kind of used him initially. Certainly the prototypical guy that you can split out that can line up at slot ... great hands, great concentration, doesn't hardly drop anything ...

The swiss army knife. He can do it all and has done it all for us. It didn't surprise me when I saw the team that drafted him, just the reputation that the Patriots have for really placing such a huge value on tough, smart football players.

Obviously, Keene's primary responsibility to begin his NFL career will be to develop as a tight end. But Perry brings up the interesting scenario of Keene teaming up with Danny Vitale at the fullback position.

I look at the San Francisco 49ers and their usage of [Kyle] Juszczyk, an athletic fullback, and then I look at the two athletic the Patriots have at fullback themselves now in Vitale and Keene, and I wonder if we won't see something similar in New England in 2020. I would say of Vitale and Keene, both very different types of players from James Develin. James Develin was a sledgehammer ... I wouldn't look at Vitale or Keene as someone who's necessarily going to come right away and fill that same type of role ...  I think that these two guys that they have now, they're both a little bit lighter ... I would say both are more explosive athletes and both are probably more dynamic in terms of what they can provide a passing game as receivers themselves.

Also discussed on the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast are how Keene got the nickname "Rambo," how having an athletic fullback could help quarterback Jarrett Stidham, and much more.

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