Dave Zirin, THE NATION
(The Nation)—Conspiracy theories abound in US history, a way to explain the unexplainable in a nation with massive gaps in wealth and power. How could a lone gunman kill the president of the United States? Who put a drifter like James Earl Ray in position to kill Dr. Martin Luther King? Or the conspiracy theory of our century, one that has been entertained by the person at the heart of this article, Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll, how did the Towers fall? (Please save the e-mails. I am not passing judgment on any of the above theories. Only that they all have found purchase.)
Sports, where antitrust exemptions, a compliant media and authoritarian structures don’t exactly encourage open discussion, conspiracy theories have always been nourished. Well, one is certainly emerging after last night’s shocking end to Super Bowl 49, as the Seahawks gave away a game that looked comfortably in their grasp. With the outcome in their hands in the closing seconds, on second down from the one yard line and trailing by four points against the New England Patriots, Seattle coach Pete Carroll chose to throw a three-foot slant over the middle instead of handing it to their power runner extraordinaire Marshawn Lynch. It was, of course, intercepted, the first time a pass from the one-yard line had been intercepted all season in any game.
In the stunning aftermath, after that unfathomable decision, conspiracy theories sprouted like Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. I’m not talking about Twitter-theories from deep-thinking eggs, or any cris de coeur from devastated Seahawks fans. I’m talking about people inside Seattle’s own locker room. I’m talking about texts I received from mainstream writers who don’t want to write it up.