the two best plays of super bowl xlix

i have had several conversations in classes this week about the unbelievable finish to super bowl xlix between the new england patriots and the seattle seahawks, which included this amazing catch by jermaine kearse…..

….and this game-saving interception by malcolm butler.

the announcers on the videos are al michaels and former cincinnati bengal cris collinsworth. it’s common to say they called the game and their commentary is referred to as the call.

michaels & collinsworth
al micheals & cris collinsworth (

michaels uses the phrasal verb break up (deflect, knock away) at :08 on the first vid

wilson to kearse & it’s broken up again. 

and again at :40

so [butler] breaks up the play, but at the end of the day, look at that!

a play is an act or move inside of a game. the super bowl is a game, NOT a play.  at the end of the day is a fashionable, but overused expression that refers to the conclusion or most important point.

it looked like butler had broken up this play,
kearse catch ii super bowl xlix ratings
but kearse wound up with the ball (getty images/mike ehrman)

there was some confusion as to whether kearse had made the catch. at :10 michaels asks

and is it? but somehow…did he wind up with the football?

then michaels and collinsworth, while watching the replay, make sure that the ball didn’t hit the ground (earth, grass). if the ball touches the ground before the player has possession it isn’t a catch.

jerome lane pick
seattle’s jeremy lane picked off patriots quarterback and super bowl mvp tom brady in the first half but was injured on the play and didn’t return. (kathy willens/associated press)

the title of the second youtube video is

malcolm butler picks off russell wilson to seal super bowl xlix victory

the phrasal verb pick off is not actually used in the video, but it is a synonym for intercept. seal means clinch, guarantee.

butler on the goal line
butler’s unforgettable goal line interception (

at :04 on the second video, michaels shouts

…pass is intercepted at the goal line by malcolm butler. unreal. butler, who almost made the phenomenal play that wound up in kearse’s arms.

wound up is the past tense of wind up which is also used in the first video (see above). it means conclude or finish after a process and is similar to end up.

goal line
the goal line (

goal line is the line that must be crossed for a player to score a touchdown.

at :40, collinsworth comments three times

i can’t believe the call

this is another application of the word call:a football coach telling his players what play to run.

fun english practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

michaels demonstrates that he has the same opinion when he says….

me neither

…which could also be said me either and is used to show agreement with a negative statement the same way too and also show agreement with an affirmative statement.

carroll brynn anderson
pete carroll has taken a lot of criticism for his goal line call. (brynn anderson/associated press)

cris and al’s doubts about the play seattle seahawks head coach pete carroll called (that were shared by an overwhelming majority of fans) are an obvious opportunity to second-guess or present hypothetical alternatives, e.g.

  • seattle head coach pete carroll should have called a play for marshawn lynch. beast mode would have scored the winning touchdown.
  • seahawks quarterback russell wilson shouldn’t have thrown the ball that was intercepted.

what do u think? should coach carroll have called a play for marshawn lynch when they had the ball inside the one-yard line? or do u respect his judgment in attempting to deceive the patriots defense? was super bowl xlix the most exciting super bowl ever? share your opinions under leave a reply


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