Though Luke Willson isn’t over Super Bowl XLIX, he stands by Darrell Bevell
Seahawks tight end Luke Willson took some time out of his (very chilly) day in Minneapolis to chat with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore on Thursday, joining the show the day after his now-viral interview with Barstool Sports, during which he recapped – in detail – the final play and aftermath of the Seahawks’ heartbreaking Super Bowl XLIX loss.
With Danny, Dave and Moore, the soon-to-be free agent Willson expanded on his thoughts on that Super Bowl loss, talked about the Seahawks’ decision to move on from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and was asked whether he’ll return to Seattle for another run in 2018.
“I don’t think you do (get over it),” Willson said of that final play in Super Bowl XLIX – an interception of a Russell Wilson pass at the goal line to seal the win for the New England Patriots. “You don’t get over it. It’s one of those things where it just is was it is. That was kind of the point I was saying on Barstool yesterday. And to be honest with you, I am a bit surprised it’s gotten (the attention) it has. I’m like, dude, what did I say that was that shocking? We lost the game on the last play of the Super Bowl. Did we not watch that three years ago? I don’t get it.
“Don’t get me wrong, it definitely was the worst most moment of my life. But, as far as terrible moments in people’s lives, I feel like I’ve had a pretty good life. At the end of the day, it’s just a game (and) there are probably worse things than that. I didn’t mean it to be insensitive; it genuinely is the worst moment of my life, but it’s something that I don’t have a problem talking about. I mean, (do people think) you’re going to get over it? I don’t know if you ever get over losing a Super Bowl, especially the way that we lost it. Fortunately for me, I also have won a Super Bowl, which is kind of cool, and in my opinion I think I’ve still got a few good years left of some football. And I don’t know if I’ll be back (with the Seahawks in 2018) – hopefully I am, and we’ll give this thing another go.”
Willson clarified a few of his statements (the interview on Twitter was shortened, so “19 Force” was not the final play call) and said that ultimately, New England cornerback Malcolm Butler made a great play on the ball.
“That play Malcolm Butler made is really taken for granted in a way. Not only to break it up, but to intercept the ball. It’s a very impressive play. It sucks. If you’re a Seahawks fan or a player, I don’t have much better words to describe it other than: it sucks.”
Regarding the Seahawks’ decision in January to dismiss offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who had been with Seattle for seven seasons and oversaw Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII team and consecutive postseason appearances from 2012-16, Willson stood up for his former coach.
“I don’t think many guys on the team are really that upset about the play-call. Maybe in the moment of. And I said this a few times this weekend, I would say that 95 percent of the offensive players are really going to miss Darrell Bevell,” Willson said. “I thought personally – this is me personally talking now – I thought he was a phenomenal play caller and I thought that this year we let him down. That’s just the bottom line. I’m going to miss Bev. And you look at some of the things he was able to accomplish here, I mean, he did an unbelievable job and we were just inconsistent. It always happens, where some guys get the blame and I guess they’re looking for some fresh faces, I don’t know. But I do feel personally responsible, as a player on that offense, that Darrell Bevell is no longer here. And I think that whoever gets Darrell Bevell is going to get a great coach, and I think if you talk to anybody on our offense they would agree with that statement.”
Willson also credited Bevell and head coach Pete Carroll with some extraordinary play calling – including plays from that same Super Bowl loss, like a fade pass for a touchdown to Chris Matthews right before halftime.
“Yes, that was the final play of the game and that’s the one everyone remembers. But let’s go back and talk about the end of the first half. How many people there take the three points and leave? Probably every coach in America, except for Pete Carroll. And then Bev dials up a great call. Who thinks really at that time – you think Matt Patricia thought we were going to throw a fade, or whatever you want to call it, a go route to Chris Matthews? Why can’t we say that’s one of the best calls in Super Bowl history? Even that last drive: the first play of that last drive was a Marshawn (Lynch) catch for about 30 or so yards. That is a play Darrell Bevell designed for that exact moment in that game. That’s not something we have in our base game plan. That’s, ‘Hey, we’re gonna get this look and at some point in this game we’re gonna have Marshawn do this, he’s going to get this matchup, and Russ is going to throw it here.’ That’s a huge play. Again, I get the last play of the game and everyone wants to talk about it – I mean, trust me, I was on the field – and I don’t want this to sound insensitive to any fans like ‘Get over it,’ because I’m not over it, but it happened. The chances of Malcolm Butler making that play, if we were to run that with that look, I’d say it’s one in 1,000, that he makes the play and gets the interception.”
Willson, 28, will be an unrestricted free agent once the new league year starts next month. Last year, he signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal with the Seahawks following the close of his rookie contract. Willson has voiced his desire to stay with Seattle; asked if he will, he said it would be up to the Seahawks’ general manager.
“That’s a question for John Schneider.”
Willson explained why the last play of the game was like roulette, continued to debate the merits of dogs with Jim Moore, and told Danny O’Neil about one photo from Super Bowl XLIX that could bring him a laugh. Listen to the entire interview here.