By Jason Keidel
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If you’ve listened to WFAN host Mike Francesa or feasted on the buffet of sports shows since the Super Bowl, you’re hearing excuses for the inexcusable.

Pete Carroll didn’t want Marshawn Lynch to win Super Bowl MVP.

Pete Carroll wanted Russell Wilson to win Super Bowl MVP.

Pete Carroll was using inverted logic to confuse Bill Belichick.

And there’s the cadre of conspiracy theorists, the grassy-knoll gang who think Roger Goodell was somehow piped into Carroll’s headset, making the dreadful, legacy-losing call from his luxury suite.

And then we have Carroll’s excuses or explanations, each exponentially worse.

He wanted to waste a down.

He wanted to play for third and fourth downs.

He knew the pass play would either result in a score or an incompletion.

With 30 seconds left in the Super Bowl, you want to waste plays? You have a long-term approach to an immediate chance to win?

Patriots were bouncing off Lynch like flies off a tank, but the smart play is to pass the ball from the 1-yard line? Just the play before, Lynch was mauling the Patriots, dragging them down to the 1-yard line. He’d carried the ball 24 times for 102 yards and, as often happens, he was getting stronger as the defense slowly surrendered.

But the move was passing the ball to a part-time receiver who had one catch for six yards against Carolina, and two catches for 25 yards against Green Bay. In 16 regular-season games, Ricardo Lockette had 11 receptions for 195 yards — basically one game for Calvin Johnson. But he’s the go-to guy with the world championship on the line.

While you can admire Carroll for owning the result, his hubris in defending the call is dizzying. This is common among successful people, of course. The more power we gain, the smaller the impulse for honesty. If we tell the lie often enough, either he or we will believe it.

But it’s a shame that Carroll, who has shown himself to be more malleable than most football coaches, feels so tethered to the mirage. Carroll has had to reinvent himself several times throughout his career.

After being fired by the Patriots, Carroll was something of a gypsy, basically banned from NFL head-coaching gigs. So he went to USC and built an empire. Then he came to Seattle and built another. When few coaches get two shots to wear the headset, Carroll stuck around long enough for a third, grinding and evolving up every rung until he reached the top.

Over the last two decades, Carroll morphed from his adolescent choke gesture from the Jets’ sidelines to one of the more elegant elders of the NFL. But his preteen insistence that he still did the right thing by passing the ball is absurd.

It has a Rex Ryan tone to it. Deny the obvious and hope the masses will merely forget. Overwhelm us with your campy candor and corporate platitudes about teamwork and hard work and we’ll just get ’em next time.

Ask Dan Marino about next time. Football has taught us that it’s quite hard to get there once, harder to get there twice and almost impossible to find your way back a third time. Especially with Wilson about to skip into the office and ask for $100 million, sucking cash from the coffers and taking the luxury of epic depth from the Seahawks.

Carroll was three feet from a repeat. With Beast Mode in the backfield. And he blew it.

And It’s OK to say so.

Failure teaches us infinitely more than success does. And if Carroll wants more of the latter, he has to admit the former.

Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonKeidel

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