GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Seahawks and Patriots engaged in a fight at the end of the game when emotions ran high following Malcolm Butler’s interception at the goal line of Russell Wilson’s pass.
It resulted in Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin being ejected.
“I was protecting a teammate,” Irvin said. “Emotions flew. I saw somebody hit Mike Bennett, so I went and backed up my brother. I went about it wrong. Emotions were flying high and I apologize. But if it happened again, I would protect my teammate. That’s just how it is.”
Rob Gronkowski was one of the Patriots who knocked a Seahawk player from behind. Irwin seemed to take offense.
Richard Sherman said he wasn’t involved in the skirmish.
“I’m not sure, I wasn’t in it,” Sherman said.
“I was standing there waiting for the next play. Obviously, tempers flared and guys went to go separate.”
Sherman wasn’t surprised to see the game end with a scuffle. “Not really. This is an emotional game. Emotions got out of hand on both sides and guys went after one another. But you know, it’s football.”
Lynch makes mark
Marshawn Lynch couldn’t help himself.
Just two weeks ago, the NFL threatened to ban him from the NFC Championship game if he stepped on the field in a pair of all-gold cleats he was flirting with wearing.
Lynch couldn’t waste an opportunity to antagonize the league on its biggest stage.
He came out for warmups about 45 minutes before Super Bowl XLIX in full uniform with those very cleats completing the outfit.
He had reason to be a little more carefree with news of the Seahawks working on a long-term contract extension for their workhorse running back.
According to NFL.com, the new deal would pay him as much as $10 million in the first year. Lynch has one year left on the four-year, $31 million contract he signed in 2012.
Last offseason, Lynch held out, unhappy with his contract status. The Seahawks refused to rework the agreement, but did end up guaranteeing Lynch $1.5 million that would have otherwise been relegated to bonuses and incentives.
Lynch has been one of the best running backs in the NFL, rushing for at 1,200 yards each of the last four seasons. He led the league with 17 touchdowns — 13 rushing — and was fifth in rushing with 1,306 yards.
He’s been a franchise player on the field, and a lightning rod off it.
All week — and really all season — Lynch’s reluctance to participate in the league’s obligated media sessions have drawn increased scrutiny.
Lynch has been fined a combined $100,000 for failing to speak to the media this season, along with more than $30,000 in additional fines for obscene gestures during his touchdown celebrations.
When he gave his annual address on Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he hadn’t decided if or when he would punish Lynch for his media silence during the run up to the Super Bowl.
“Our staff will probably look at that following the Super Bowl and make a determination, as they have in the past,” Goodell said.
“I’ve been very clear that when you’re in the NFL, you have an obligation to the fans. It is part of your job. There are things that we all have to do in our jobs that we may not necessarily want to do.’’
The NFL was so concerned about Lynch’s string of obscene gestures that it warned the Seahawks that punishments for any unsportsmanlike conduct would be even harsher.
As it turned out, Lynch wasn’t the player they had to worry about.
Doug Baldwin actually ended up taking the baton from Lynch, squatting and miming a vulgar act after his 3-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
After the game, he refused to explain whom it was directed toward.
“That’s between me and the guy it was directed at,” he said.
Lane, Avril injured
The Seahawk defense suffered two major injuries during the game. Jeremy Lane, who had picked off Tom Brady earlier, broke his arm, and defensive end Cliff Avril left the game with a concussion.
“Those were two big injuries to core guys for us,” Sherman said. “When you lose two starters it’s going to be tough for your defense, but we were able to overcome some of those things and give ourselves a chance.
“I think we had a chance to win the game.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.