INDIANAPOLIS – A few days after the Patriots epic win on Malcolm Butler's interception to essentially close out Super Bowl XLIX., Bill Belichick defended Pete Carroll's decision to throw the ball on the goal line with the game on the line rather than hand it off to Marshawn Lynch.
Belichick said such criticism wasn't "anywhere close to being deserved or founded."
"I think the criticism they've gotten for the game is totally out of line and by a lot of people who I don't think are anywhere near even qualified to be commenting on it," Belichick told WEEI radio in Boston.
Friday afternoon Carroll was asked during his NFL Scouting Combine press conference at Lucas Oil Stadium what those comments meant to him.
"It is important. I care. We all care about that," Carroll said. "Bill is an extraordinary coach and anything he says people should listen to. In this case, he's just respecting coaching. He understands the game. He knows what was going on exactly."
Carroll actually referenced a Patriots previous fourth-quarter possession in the Super Bowl in which New England ran the ball with LeGarrette Blount for 2 yards from the 5 before Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for the go-ahead touchdown.
"They ran their sequence on the -yard line, when they scored. They ran it on first down, made a few yards. They threw the ball for a touchdown on second down. And it was a great play, great concept, got them ahead and all that. We were kind of in a similar kind of mode. He gets it," Carroll said. "So I have always respected the work that Bill has done and the accomplishments and the achievements. For him to take the moment to do that is very gracious of him. As well all, we care a lot about coaches. We care a lot about the game. And I think he made statement just to let people know, if they're curious, what he feels about it. And I appreciate it.