How embarrassing it must have been for Chan Gailey. Pete Carroll calls a fake punt while holding a 30 point lead in the fourth quarter. In his postgame press conference, the Seahawks head coach acknowledged he was in the wrong.
"I feel bad about this," Carroll told NFL.com. "It was part of our game plan, it was something I could have called off, and I didn't. It's unfortunate that it comes across like there's something wrong there. That's my fault, totally, for not stopping it from happening ... in the sense that it looked bad."
Does anyone actually believe Carroll feels badly about this? Last week, he faced similar criticism after scoring 58 points against the Arizona Cardinals. That included a score with 2:32 remaining in the game. Is it his problem that his team is up by so much? No. But somewhere, class has to play a role. And history does not look upon him kindly in that regard.
The year was 1998. Carroll, then the coach of the New England Patriots, led his team to an emotional last second win against the Bills on a late November Sunday in New England. The Bills were flagged on a Patriots' "Hail Mary" attempt, giving the Pats an un-timed down at the Bills' one yard line. Drew Bledsoe hit tight end Ben Coates in the back of the end zone for a game ending score.
Amid the confusion of the last play, and frustration over being flagged on the previous play, Wade Phillips and the Bills headed off the field. They were far down the tunnel by the time the officiating crew began to waive them back on the field for the extra point. Ultimately, Carroll's Patriots lined up without an opposing defense. From the sideline, Carroll held up two fingers - signaling his players to run the ball in for the two point conversion. The final score was 25-21.
I still remember what one of Buffalo's most popular radio hosts said the next morning.
"What a class-less move by Pete Carroll, who gave the Bills the 'choke' sign a few years ago. I hope he chokes."
The popular morning DJ pointed out that classy coaches, such as Marv Levy, would have simply kicked the extra point and gotten out of there. I think the same point can be made this time around, 14 years later.
For Gailey, it showed just how much further Carroll's Seahwaks are than his Bills. They both took over three years ago.
Carroll has an offense with a clear identity: the read option custom tailored for rookie QB Russell Wilson. He ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns. Keep in mind that he didn't have a single rushing touchdown coming into the game. His play, along with Marshawn Lynch's 113 yard day wiped out any good thoughts we had about the Bills defensive improvements over the past few weeks.
On the flip side, the Bills offensive unit turned the ball over when they reached the most pivotal point of the game. And it was turnovers on their first three possessions of the first half: two interceptions and a fumble for Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was a sampling of the reason that the Seahawks are 9-5, and the Bills 5-9.