The Seahawks are leaving Phoenix this afternoon after one of the most thrilling and ultimately excruciating and regrettable endings in Super Bowl history.
And there's been 49 of them.
Pete Carroll talked informally on a patio outside the team's Arizona Grand Resort hotel, before the Seahawks left on buses to nearby Sky Harbor Airport for their charter flight that was due to land around 3 p.m. at SeaTac Airport.
"It's pretty hard right now for all of us; I think you can all understand," Carroll said of the 28-24 loss to New England sealed by his and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's decision to throw on second down from the 1-yard line with a time out and 20 seconds left -- plus the NFL's leading touchdown maker, Marshawn Lynch left idled in the backfield instead of running the ball for the winning score.
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"In the long run, it will make us grow stronger."
Carroll said he believes Richard Sherman will need "Tommy John," ligament-replacement surgery in his left elbow, a leftover of teammate Kam Chancellor slamming into the All-Pro cornerback trying to make a tackle in the fourth quarter of the NFC championship game two weeks ago.
"As long as he doesn't try to come back as a late-inning reliever, coming in from the left side, he should be all right," Carroll said.
Sherman played with torn ligaments in the elbow yesterday. Carroll also said Chancellor was "super-human" in playing the Super Bowl with an unspecified but apparently long-standing injury. The coach said Chancellor and Earl Thomas, the All-Pro safety who played yesterday after dislocating his left shoulder and tearing labrum tissue in that NFC title game, may both need offseason surgeries.
"Guys played through unbelievable issues," Carroll said. "That was a heroic things for those guys to be able to play. And all three of those guys might end up getting fixed up here. And they all knew it. And they wanted to play for their teammates. And they did that. And they did it in great fashion.
Carroll said Jeremy Lane will need a procedure to set and heal "a real difficult break" of his left arm. He fractured that while bracing his fall at the end of his interception return in the first quarter of Super Bowl 49.
Now, as for why the Seahawks lost instead of won their second consecutive Super Bowl...
Carroll reiterated it was his decision upon seeing New England bring in heavier, goal-line defenders inside before the decisive play to counter with three wide receivers to the right side of the formation and two tight ends. Bevell called for a quick pass by Russell Wilson to either the left side, to Doug Baldwin who had gone in motion that way, or to either Jermaine Kearse or Ricardo Lockette remaining on the right.
Wilson chose the inside-slanting Lockette, who was cutting behind an attempt by Kearse to plow into two defenders. Patriots undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler didn't wait for Kearse to pick him off or for Lockette to run to the ball. Butler decisively sprinted back at Wilson's throw, cut off Lockette from the ball with his outside shoulder and secured the interception we'll be talking about around Seattle for, oh, a century or two.
"We were very confident in the sequence," Carroll said. "Let me say this, too: I never call a play, I don't coach these guys one time, thinking we are going to throw an interception or we're going to fumble the ball. ... So when we make these decision, just like we make the decision with 6 seconds to go in the half (Wilson's second-quarter touchdown throw to Chris Matthews that tied the game at 14), we are trusting our guys, we are trusting the process, going with what we know and what we've learned and how we compete. That's why we do what we do.That's why sometimes we get scrutinized for stuff -- 'Why did you do this? Why did you do that?' -- it's because we believe in ourselves. And believe things are going to happen. 'Why did you call the fake field goal (in the NFC title game)?' Because we believed in it that it was going to work. It may be difficult on the outside to understand that, but that's how it goes.
"There was not a thought in my mind that we would make a mistake on that play -- and really, the mistake was a tremendous play by the guy on the other side. Just a tremendous decision and play that changed the game and won them their championship."
As for one report Bevell had initially called a run, but Carroll changed it to the fateful pass: "First off, Darrell Bevell is an incredible play caller. He did it again, put us right down in position to win the game. We are so lucky to have him. ... There's is no reservation in that thought, and don't make it out that there is. ... He's crucial-important to our future here, as well.
"We were going with 'extra' personnel, which is three wide receivers in the game. We thought about throwing the ball. That was part of the reason we sent that group in. We could have easily gone otherwise (and called a run by Lynch, the lone running back in the formation). But we knew against that goal-line personnel we had the advantage in the passing game. So let's throw. We knew one of those downs we were likely to throw the ball, and maybe two of those downs we were going to throw the ball, depending on how we would need to save the clock.
"It wasn't about 'just run the ball.' That wasn't the thought. There wasn't a thought of, 'Do we run the ball or pass the ball.' That did not happen."
Carroll all but conceded the Seahawks are losing defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as he becomes the head coach of the awaiting Atlanta Falcons -- and then a couple hours later the Falcons made it official:
Carroll said he didn't want to talk about that now, or what the domino moves might be within his staff.
Here is most of what the coach said today:
Here is Wilson from after the game last night: