Now that the dust has settled after Super Bowl XLIX, the game should be remembered as one of the greatest match-ups in recent memory. It had everything and more that you could wish for in the most prestigious game in American Football.
Seattle’s last offensive play has come under intense criticism and scrutiny ever since Russell Wilson threw that infamous pass to Ricardo Lockette that was intercepted by undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Hindsight obviously suggests that the Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll should have left the ball to Marshawn Lynch to bulldoze his way into the end zone in his customary style – but the ultimate credit must go to the Patriots for defending that crucial final play, under the most intense pressure.
Issues to be addressed
So what happens now for these teams? Plenty of rest and recuperation is on the agenda for both rosters until training camps return later in the year. The real question is, can these two franchises return to the Super Bowl in 2016? New England and Seattle both have key elements for future success – fantastic quarterback play along with the finest coaching staffs within their organisations that will give them excellent opportunities to return to biggest game of all once again. There are issues within the Seahawks’ and Patriots’ franchises that do need addressing in the offseason for both teams to maintain their positions at the head of their conferences, which we will highlight here.
Key contract discussions
This particular offseason is very crucial for the Seattle Seahawks – with the impending contract negotiations regarding Russell Wilson, who is to be offered a new deal that will likely make the 26 year-old the highest paid quarterback in the National Football League. Wilson, undeniably deserves his bumper pay-day, but another major concern for the Seahawks is to tie Marshawn Lynch down to a new multi-year contract. Lynch briefly held out of training camp before last season began, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see a similar stand-off again this summer. Defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn has left Seattle for pastures new in Atlanta as their new head coach. While the Seahawks have an incredibly strong defensive unit, the new coaching incumbent must continue the excellent work of Quinn to continue Seattle’s reign of the National Football Conference.
Seattle have an excellent recruitment policy, and the Seahawks should be looking at finding some extra speed at the wide receiver position at this years’ draft to complement their current core of players. Percy Harvin was cast aside by Seattle last season, and it looks to be one of the priority positions that the Seahawks will be looking to strengthen up this offseason.
New England have their own issues to overcome – most notably of what comes after the league review into the ‘deflate-gate’ scandal. If found guilty, the Patriots could potentially lose draft picks, and / or a severe fine. From their current roster perspective, retaining cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Devin McCourty will be the ultimate priority in New England. The Patriots have salary cap issues in 2015 that means they will offload some of their roster, but these two players are key to further success in New England. Patriots’ legendary defensive tackle, Vince Wilfork, could be a casualty of the reshuffle in the offseason as Head Coach Bill Belichick will only look at what is best for the franchise – without sentiment towards his long-serving stalwart.
Wide receiving talent is also likely to be high on the priority list in the draft meetings of the Patriots hierarchy in the offseason. New England quarterback Tom Brady has managed to win another Super Bowl with mediocre talent on the outside, and an upgrade at the position would give extra options for Brady, and further headaches for the opposition.