Russell Wilson watched the film of Super Bowl 49 about a dozen times in the first 18 hours after Sunday’s game.
And he still believes in the decision coach Pete Carroll and play caller Darrell Bevell made: Throw the fateful pass intended for Ricardo Lockett from the 1-yard line on second down with 25 seconds to go and their Seattle Seahawks trailing New England, 28-24.
“When I threw it, it was ‘Touchdown. Second Super Bowl ring. Here we go!’ ” Wilson said Tuesday as he and hushed teammates somberly cleaned out their lockers at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center — instead of preparing for their second Super Bowl championship parade through downtown Seattle in as many Februarys.
“I had no doubt in the play call,” Wilson said. “Still don’t.”
It’s not that the Seahawks’ quarterback loves horror flicks. To those in the Northwest, that is what film of the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler sprinting immediately to the pass before Lockette had a chance to reach the ball at the goal line will forever be. Butler intercepted the pass. The first and only interception in 335 plays from the 1-yard line in the NFL’s 2014 regular season and this postseason ended the Seahawks’ drive to win consecutive Super Bowls. They ended up one yard short of becoming the eighth franchise to repeat, and first in a decade.
Asked if he saw Butler’s gigantic break as Wilson starting his throwing motion toward him and Lockette, Wilson said: “No. … He made a phenomenal play. One of those bang-bang plays.”
Instead, Wilson is watching and re-watching to gain full understanding of what caused Seattle to blow its 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter. He’s searching also for what the offense did right — and to where he and it should go next.
Wilson did take one break from sleep and re-living the deadly Super Bowl ending over and over: He went to a barber Monday to cut off almost all the unruly, dark-and-curly hair he hadn’t trimmed since the beginning of the regular season.
Renewal of the head. That is what Carroll told his players to get during a noon meeting Tuesday. He wants most to get away from the game for a month or so.
For Wilson, true renewal won’t come until more than half a calendar year from now. The NFL’s 2015 regular season doesn’t begin until Sept. 10-14.
“The part I hate is that I have to wait seven months to play another game,” said the only quarterback to start two Super Bowls in his first three seasons in the league. “My focus is still on being a Super Bowl-type winning quarterback for this football team, obviously. And getting back there. But not just getting back. Getting back is not good enough.
“That’s what’s great about this football team — and the fans, too. Being in that (University of Phoenix) stadium and feeling that disappointment, feeling that disappointment in general, that’s the amazing part about our fans, our organization, our players, is that we now all expect to win it all, you know. When you think about that, that’s different than it was before.”
Last year, in the same moment he was on a field stage in the New Jersey Meadowlands hoisting the Lombardi Trophy minutes after beating Denver in Super Bowl 48, Wilson thought of the work needed to get to Super Bowl 49.
On Sunday, after his interception ended Seattle’s dream of back to back, Wilson was already thinking of how to get to Super Bowl 50.
“Our focus is on what can we do for the next opportunity that we have so whenever that next practice is, April, April 20th, whatever it is, we will be ready to go,” he said. “And when the games come around the goal will still be to be 1-0. It’s never different. Win, lose or draw it’s never going to change with me. Maybe I’m boring. Maybe I am sick in the mind in that way. But that’s just how I think.
“I think that’s why we’ve been in two Super Bowls the last three years and we’ve been in the playoffs every time: We don’t change our mindset. I know the guys in that locker room don’t change that mindset on anything else.”
Wilson will likely be doing something else before that April minicamp: Discussing with his agent, Mark Rodgers, the new contract offers Seahawks’ general manager John Schneider and his staff are likely to be negotiating soon.
Wilson’s rookie contract as Seattle’s third-round draft choice in 2012 — the deal that paid him the absurdly bargain salary of $662,000 this past season and is scheduled to pay him $799,000 — ends after next season. Wilson, 26, could get $100 million or more for five seasons with perhaps as much as two-third of that, north of $66 million, guaranteed. That would make him the highest-paid quarterback in the league.
He says that’s not his goal.
“No,” said the guy with 42 NFL wins, the most by a QB in the first three seasons of a career, “for me, I just want to keep winning. I don’t worry about all that stuff.”
He does have a goal to remain with the Seahawks far beyond 2015. Contract talks can begin immediately, now that the season is finally over.
Wilson’s unequivocal support Tuesday for Bevell — he called the criticized offensive coordinator the key reason he’s been to three postseasons and two Super Bowls so far in three seasons — is an indicator the passer is on the same page with Carroll and Schneider on the franchise’s future. Those two team architects are Bevell’s biggest supporters, with Carroll on Monday calling Bevell “crucially important” to the team’s future.
“I obviously want to play in Seattle forever,” Wilson said. “That’s my goal, and I want to be with this organization. I love this organization. I love this city. I love these fans, and I love winning here.
“But still — I’m still thinking I’ve got a game on Sunday. That’s what I’m still feeling like.”