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Best of Super Bowl 2015: Bill Belichick’s sneaky move, Malcolm Butler’s journey and the ‘worst play-call’ in history

With Super Bowl XLIX in the books we’ve got breakdowns of all the drama from the desert, plus halftime shows, commercial reviews, national anthem antics and more. This one-stop-shot for Super Bowl coverage will serve up the best Super Bowl content The Washington Post has to offer.

The Game | The Spectacle: Halftime and Puppy Bowl
Commercial Reviews

The Game

Malcolm Butler: From Popeyes cashier to Super Bowl star

The Patriots’ defensive back who stole the ball on the goal line came a long way to reach the spotlight:

Shennelle Parker, the manager of the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Vicksburg, Miss., could always count on Malcolm Butler. Parker hired Butler as a cashier, and before long Butler began to “cross train,” which meant he could perform every task in the store. Butler showed up on time, washed dishes, took orders up front and graduated to the batter station, where he would drop chicken into sizzling oil.
“He was a good employee,” Parker said Monday morning in a phone conversation. “He kept the customers happy and pleased. I was always pleased. He was a hard worker. Everybody in here really liked working with him.”
— Adam Kilgore (Read More)

The ‘worst play-call in Super Bowl history’ 

Seattle’s mind-boggling decision to throw the ball from the one-yard line will go down in infamy, and forever alter the NFL’s historical perception of both the Seahawks and Patriots:

The Seattle Seahawks forgot who they are.
And from that momentary lapse in identity came the worst play-call in Super Bowl history and a defeat that leaves the Seahawks historically irrelevant, further boosts the complicated legacy of Coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and ups the stakes for Deflategate even more.
— Mark Maske (Read More)

Belichick’s sneaky, smart move

Did the Patriots’ coach help force the Seahawks’ final mistake?:

With 1 minute, 6 seconds seconds left and the Seahawks down by four points, Marshawn Lynch rumbled to the 1-yard line on first down. The Patriots possessed two timeouts, and the Seahawks had one left. The clock ticked down, and at first it appeared odd for Belichick not to exhaust his final timeout. With the Seahawks on the doorstep, New England needed to conserve seconds for a desperation drive in response.
Belichick’s choice to not use a timeout, though, made life more difficult for the Seahawks by complicating their play-calling options. It may have even convinced them to throw their ill-fated pass on second down.
— Adam Kilgore (Read More)

Patriots capture a classic

Mark Maske recaps one of the wildest Super Bowl wins ever:

A 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and one of the most imposing defenses in recent NFL memory stood in the way of a fourth Super Bowl triumph for the New England Patriots with Bill Belichick as their coach and Tom Brady as their quarterback.
That, apparently, was no big deal to the Patriots. Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes in the game’s final eight minutes, giving him four for the game. New England rallied and then held on, although just barely, to defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24, Sunday evening in a memorably competitive Super Bowl.
— Mark Maske (Read More)

Seahawks hand Super Bowl to Patriots with poor play-call

With the game in the balance and the best running back in the NFL standing behind Russell Wilson, the Seahawks elected to pass. And they paid the price:

From the 1-yard line, with the Super Bowl on the line and a one-man demolition derby named Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, the Seahawks passed the ball. And that is why they lost.
— Adam Kilgore (Read More)

This game was won in crunchtime

After weeks of questioning, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made just enough great plays at critical moments to cap a historic win:

The collision between these two teams was a meeting of contrasting elements, hot and cold. The Seahawks were all primal energy, their amped coach Pete Carroll chawing on his gum and jumping around on the sideline, a 63-year-old man moving like he was 16, and the Seahawks’ trampoline-legged defensive backs Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman hurtling through the air with their ball-hawking muscularity and closing speed. The Patriots were their dead-eyed opposites, Coach Bill Belichick standing expressionless and stock-still in his hoodie, while Brady read the defenses with that super-coolant stare of his, looking for any opening to make an incursion.
– Sally Jenkins (Read More)

Patriots now face offseason questions on DeflateGate, Revis

The Super Bowl celebration has muted the controversy, but the NFL’s investigation will only be the start of a complex offseason for New England:

With a wild Super Bowl win in their wake, the New England Patriots are on to the offseason — one that will mean facing a series of tough questions as they craft their roster for the 2015 season, including the contract situation of star cornerback Darrelle Revis.
The questions will likely start with answers, however, namely in regard to the controversy that has hounded them since their victory in the AFC Championship Game.
— Mark Maske (Read More)

Patriots win a Super Bowl classic

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Matthew Slater #18 and Shane Vereen #34 of the New England Patriots celebrate after defeating the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Seahawks could be back in Super Bowl soon

It was a gut-wrenching loss, but Seattle’s roster is built to keep them an NFL title contender:

The Seahawks ended the Super Bowl one yard away from establishing a dynasty, or at least what passes for one by the standards of the modern NFL.  They could have become the first team in 10 years to win consecutive Super Bowls, and the shame of it for them is, they may have missed their chance to become the first team ever to win three straight.
— Adam Kilgore (Read More)

Goal line interception caps crazy Super Bowl finish

It was looking like the Seahawks could ice the game with a go-ahead touchdown in the Super Bowl’s waning seconds, but an interception by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler snatched the Super Bowl for New England:

The Seattle Seahawks had the New England Patriots right where they wanted them. And then Russell Wilson threw an interception which all but sealed their fate.
The Patriots’ win probability went from 72 percent with less than two minutes to play, to 27 percent with a minute left until finally reaching 99 percent after the interception.
— Neil Greenberg

Idina Menzel anthem goes ‘over’ well

After a sports betting site took a national anthem prop bet off the board after a surge of suspicious money landed on the “over” of two minutes and one second, Idina Menzel did indeed go over with her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Super Bowl Sunday version came in at two-minutes and four seconds. (Read More)

Bill Belichick booed during national anthem

How much do non-Patriots fans loathe New England’s head coach? About this much:

There was an ugly moment during Idina Menzel’s lovely rendition of the national anthem before the Super Bowl and it involved Bill Belichick, through no fault of his.
As Menzel sang, the JumboTron at University of Phoenix Stadium suddenly cut to an image of the New England Patriots coach on the sideline and a highly-partisan Seattle Seahawks crowd let him have it with a chorus of boos.
— Cindy Boren (Read More)

President Obama weighs in on Super Bowl

President Barack Obama apparently took a break from craft brewing to speak with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. With his beloved Chicago Bears already enjoying their offseason, he declined to pick a favorite in Sunday’s matchup.

“Since my Bears are not in it, I think it’s only wise for me not to choose a team because then I just alienate one big city, but I will say it’s going to be close and the question I have is whether Seattle’s secondary is healthy enough,” he said. “That’s the heart and soul of their team and they’ve got three guys back there who are hurt. I don’t know how that’s going to affect the game.” (Read More)

The Spectacle: Halftime

Katy Perry steals show with halftime lion ride

From the moment the pop star entered the stadium, Katy Perry left a lasting impression:

Super Bowl XLIX will have an MVP, but it unfortunately won’t be Katy Perry, who put on one heck of a halftime show on Sunday. The program, which covered a montage of not just her hits but also of one of he “surprise” guests, blew people away. For instance, have you ever seen a woman not named Katniss Everdeen dress as fire and ride into a stadium on a robot tiger? No? Well, now you have thanks to Perry.
— Marissa Payne (Read More)

The Spectacle: Puppy Bowl

Bryan Adams makes history in Puppy Bowl

No, that’s not the Canadian rocker of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” ballad fame. That’s a pooch who penned his name into the record books Sunday.

Bryan Adams isn’t just the name of a singer of epic ’90s ballads. No, Bryan Adams is also a puppy in this year’s Puppy Bowl XI on Animal Planet, and if you aren’t watching, boy, are you missing out. Adams, a Labrador Retriever on Team Ruff, made history in the second quarter on Sunday by becoming only the second puppy ever to score by kicking a field goal.
— Marissa Payne (Read More)


Reviews: Super Bowl Ads sassy, classy in 2015

Which ads wowed and which fell flat? The Post’s Style section breaks it down:

Over here in the Style section, we only watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. And this year’s crop had something for everyone: bro humor, celebrity athlete cameos, nostalgia, sentimentality and plenty of cute animals.
Refreshingly, advertisers didn’t lean as heavily on the sexism that has become a trope of Super Bowl commercials over the years (hamburger chain Carl’s Jr., which made a commercial that consisted entirely of a naked lady eating a burger, did not seem to get that memo). Commercials celebrating women and dads made their mark this year, and favorite brands, like the ones below, delivered sure-fire viral hits.
— Maura Judkis (Read More)

10 best Super Bowl ads

From silly to sappy to serious, here are the commercials that everyone was talking about after the game ended. (Read More)

5 worst Super Bowl ads

Whether they bummed us out or grossed us out, these brands failed to strike the right tone in their Super Bowl advertising. (Read More)

Nationwide sucks joy from first half with sad ad

Remember when people were lamenting the repetitive Peyton Manning Nationwide commercials? Those were the days … On Super Bowl Sunday, the insurance company took a different approach.

Nationwide alluded to a child’s death in a scary commercial warning parents of the dangers of household accidents. It did not go over well, although #MakeSafeHappen did trend on Twitter, just probably not for the reasons the company wanted.
— Marissa Payne (Read More)


Watch: 2015 Super Bowl commercials

What would the NFL’s biggest game be without the commercials? We gathered the ads airing during this year’s Super Bowl for your repeated viewing (and sharing) pleasure. Watch the Super Bowl ads now.

Related: Watch 2014 Super Bowl ads2013 Super Bowl ads


Super Bowl ads: Big winners of the big game

Former Pittsburgh Stealers star and NFL Hall of Fame member "Mean" Joe Greene and child actor Tommy Okon appear in this still pHOto from a 1979 Coca-Cola television commercial. Coca-Cola will celebrate the commercial's 20th anniversary on June 26, 1999 at the World of Coca-Cola. Greene, now an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals, is scheduled to attend the event. (AP PHOto/Coca-Cola Company)