The Seahawks were wowed by the tens of thousands of fans who lined the streets of the City of SeaTac on a January Sunday morning to send the team off to the Super Bowl.
“Oh, it was an amazing turnout,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The 12s, as usual, they weren’t just good. They were great. They were hanging off the overpasses.”
It was a college-like, carnival atmosphere. Carroll said it was better than any send-off he ever had while leading USC.
Defensive end Michael Bennett loved it, too.
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“It was like instead of having the game in the stadium it was in the street today,” he said. “It was over 60,000 people, maybe even more, all over the place. Kids were throwing Skittles at the bus (hoping to get the attention of in-game candy man Marshawn Lynch, no doubt). They had all kind of stuff going on.”
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse called it "unbelievable."
“It just shows that we have the best fans in the world. Just the amount of people out there, all the cheering," Kearse said. "Words can’t describe what that sendoff was like. It was something that you have to be there to really grasp the whole concept of it.”
Safety Earl Thomas said Carroll told the Seahawks before they went through the huge send-off: “Keep being humble for what we are about to go through. You don't want that energy to be in the wrong place.”
Super Bowl XLIX – Sunday, January 25, 2015
HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
(on if he thinks the controversy surrounding the Patriots will make them a more motivated team that may be harder to beat) “I think it’s common when you feel like you’re under attack that it draws you closer. I think that’s pretty common. I would expect those guys, they’ve been around a long time, and I would think that they would rally together like you would expect.”
(on if he can empathize with what the Patriots are going through given what happened around Richard Sherman’s postgame interview last year) “Well, I don’t think that has anything to do with it. But, yeah, we understand that they’re dealing with a distraction that they don’t want, but I’m sure that they’re doing it really well and they’re handling it in the best way possible and that’s all you can do right now.”
(on there being a third-round and a sixth-round NFL Draft quarterback in the Super Bowl) “I think it’s just a great statement about how competitive the league is and just because guys come in heralded doesn’t mean that’s a forever statement. I think it’s an opportunity for guys in our league, and our team in particular, to compete to show who they are and what they are, regardless of how they arrived. We’ve been real proud of that format and Russell (Wilson) is a great statement about that as well as Tom (Brady).”
(on Seahawks CB Richard Sherman and FS Earl Thomas’ current status) “Richard practiced in all the practices, and he looks to be fine. He still has an elbow to take care of, but he’s practiced well. Earl practiced yesterday, the day before and got the last day of practice in and looked fine. Both those guys are scheduled to play and should be ok. They have to deal with their issues, but they’ll be playing in the football game.”
(on winning two NCAA championships and possibly two Super Bowls) “There are a lot of similarities. It’s really difficult to get there the first time and then if you’ve done it like you like to, you kind of pave the way for the next time. The kind of issues, the distractions, the conversations, kind of the dialogue, is very similar in coming back around. As far as coming back and to compare how it feels and all that stuff, I’m thrilled about the opportunity. This is very difficult to get to this position and of course we want to make the very most of it, but we had been planning to do this for some time in hopes that we could. We’re trying to take it in stride, so we can do it well and handle it well. We’ll find out how the game turns out, but to this point, to rally like our team did during the early part of the year and then hang on and in the middle of the year kind of take off, I think it’s a real statement that we had a bunch of guys that were determined to get this done and they made the adjustments that we needed to make to stay on track so that we could put together a season that would put us in this position. So, we’re real excited about that and thrilled to be in the middle of all that.”
(on his relationship with Defensive Back/Cornerbacks Coach Kris Richard and how instrumental he has been in the development of the secondary) “Kris, we go way back to his playing days at USC, as well as here. Kris has done an extraordinary job. He’s an excellent secondary coach. Everything you can look at to evaluate that jumps out at you, the way these guys have achieved, the camaraderie that they have, the high level of play that they’ve maintained for a long time, the stats and all that kind of stuff. Kris does a fantastic job. He’s a real product of our system. He’s obviously a guy that we raised up in the system and we’re proud of the job that he does. He has gone beyond maybe what normal expectations for such a young career for him. We rely on him heavily. He’s done a fantastic job for us.'
(on him calling Robert Kraft after the Patriots AFC Championship win and their relationship) “It’s been ongoing. We’ve had an ongoing relationship. I think, I wouldn’t say the first couple weeks were real heated up and fun and all that, but Robert has been very gracious throughout the time. I’ve tried to return that to him. I think we’ve remained in a good relationship and it’s been very consistent. Whenever we bump into each other, whenever there is a time for us to cross paths, we always check in and that’s just been the way that it has been. So, in calling him, it was just a matter of just checking in with him and saying, ‘Hey, didn’t know if we would bump into each other here but I wanted to make sure to say hello and all that.’ So, it’s been fine.”
(on what he thinks the most important things are to manage in the first 24 to 48 hours once the team arrives) “I think this is a challenge. I told the guys today this is a challenge to maintain the humility that is necessary. There’s so much pomp and circumstance and following and praise and everybody is patting you on the back and all that kind of stuff. We just need to stay balanced and stay in the middle and make sure that we don’t sway from where we normally are and hold on to the mentality and the focus that helps us get to these kinds of situations. I think that’s the big deal. We’ve been through the playoffs and the matchups and those kinds of things and that kind of conversation, but it’s more about how this whole media thing elevates the focus and the attention. We want to do it really well and handle it really well and make sure that we’re ready and capable of playing like we’re capable come game time.”
(on if it is full circle to be in the Super Bowl coaching against the Patriots and what he learned from his time in New England that has helped him win a Super Bowl and play in a second one) “Well, I don’t think I have that answer for you. What we’ve tried to do is maintain consistency and maintained an approach with an uncommon consistency that the players can relate to and continue to make sense of, regardless of what the options of the games are, the matchups or the distractions of these kinds of opportunities. What we did in college is very similar. I haven’t changed the approach at all. The dialogue is the same. The expectations and the standards are basically the same. I think that’s comforting to the players and they feel like they’re worthy of this opportunity and they can play like they’re capable and it’s not too big for them. I think that mentality is really important so that you can sustain consistency in the playoff kind of atmosphere and season-ending situations and all. I don’t know if that’s what you’re thinking, but it’s been a very consistent approach and these guys have embraced it and they’ve taken to the approach and the philosophy and they’ve been able to carry out and meet up to the expectations that we’ve set out for them.”
(on the expectations for Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch this week in regards to the media and touchdown celebrations) “First off, let’s not miss that he is a very unique individual and he has a way that we have embraced, that we understand Marshawn and we support him every way that we can. But, he is a very unique guy and he’s got his own way of looking at things and he’s also a very private person too. That’s why the media thing is as it is. It’s not something that he is going to express a whole lot to you. I’ve said this before, at this time, that there’s a great deal spoken in his silence as well. I haven’t talked to him about the thing that just came up from the league and the things about the game and all that yet, but that will be addressed and I expect him to have a great Super Bowl week. I think he’s going to have a great time doing this and playing in this game come game day. It’s something that he really cherishes and he cherishes playing for his teammates and we love him in the program. But, he is unique and we’ve always celebrated the uniqueness of our players in the way that allows them to play at their best. That’s what it’s designed to do and so to have the same expectations for every single person is to miss it, and so we don’t.”
(on if the team has come down from the emotional ending to the NFC Championship game) “I hope they haven’t. If you remember a year ago, we had a fairly rousing game against the San Francisco 49ers to finish off last year and everything worked out just fine. We have a way of dealing with the ups and downs and a way that we approach it that I’m hopeful we’ve put it into place already where it should be. Between that game and the next two weeks, I don’t think that there’s going to be any factor at all that you might be addressing that maybe we’re going to be worn down from it or something. That’s not going to be the case at all. This was a tremendous game that we came off of. We had a blast in that game and really there is not enough time to enjoy it, really to tell you the truth. So, we move on and get to our business. I think we’ll be fine. I don’t expect any problems.”
(on if Russell Wilson is as elite of a mental athlete as he is a physical athlete) “Oh, I think he is. I think he’s very, very special. I’m glad you pointed it out. I don’t know how he could play at the level that he plays at and have the expectations and be able to live up to those expectations in the most challenging of times without a tremendous mind. He’s got a tremendous competitive mindset and he knows how it stems from the confidence that he feels based on the preparation that he puts in. And so he builds towards each game to the point where he trusts what’s going on to get him to that point, knowing that he’s ready for whatever comes up. And you saw a tremendous illustration of that. That’s exactly what he was conveying in the moment. I don’t think you could hope an athlete at this level could have a more clear mindset of what it takes to come through and get it done more so than what Russell has. I’m glad you pointed that out.”
(on if he has a message for fans expressing that the integrity of the game and those who play it is still intact) “Yeah, I think that the league has a certain standard and expectation to live up to. We have so many people that follow us and expect messaging from us, expect leadership from us in a way that we all are held accountable for it in a very good, positive way. But it also illustrates that we’re human and that we fall prey to the same thing that people do in normal life, and what we have to do is recover from those occurrences and come back and do the right thing, and make sure that we come to the clarity that it takes to make the right choices and move ahead in a really positive direction, like everybody does. I think we’ve watched this whole season with the league and you’ve seen so many things happen, just as it’s happening in our culture as well. We’re learning so much and we’re thrust into the situation to make clear decisions and choices as we move forward. I think that’s what everybody should expect. Nobody is going to do it perfectly. Nobody is going to do it just right. But that when you are faced with an issue that you need to fix or adjust, that you do the right thing and we can. I think from the Commissioner right on down, everybody’s realizing that more so than ever. We’re proud to have the accountability on our shoulders, but also with that we have to make the right decisions and do the right things. Hopefully, we’re doing that and we can be a symbol in that regard for everyone that’s paying attention.”
(on if he has thought about the company he would join by winning two Super Bowls in a row) “Not really, no. That’s not something – I’m aware there’s some numbers and all of that, but specifically, no. I don’t care about that. It’s not a big deal to me.”
(on if he was sending a message by blitzing Dan Marino three times early in a game in 1995 after being turned down for a position with the Miami Dolphins) “That’s crazy. That’s a great question, man. No, there is nothing to that at all. If I can control the game that much, I would have done that every time we go out. There’s no way. No, that’s nuts. So many times we played against Marino, I would have sacked him the first three times every time if I could. I didn’t know how to do it. I love sacking him. That was fun. But no, that’s an interesting question.”
(on how he has grown as a coach from his time in New England to today) “A tremendous amount of growth. I’ve been through so many experiences since then, so many challenges and it’s really just about evolving as a coach and as a man. There’s a lot of things that we go through. That has nothing to do with that incident that you’re talking about, but I just think that there’s been so many experiences that have come along and so many opportunities to expand your thinking and the way you do things and the way you handle situations and people and all of that. I like to think I’m a beneficiary of a lot of really good experiences that have really helped, so that I’m doing things better than I’ve ever done before. But you know, there were a lot of days back in those years when, man, I was just winging it and trying to do the best I could in figuring it out. As everybody does when you get your first job opportunities and your first challenges, you can only go with what you got, and sometimes you do the right thing and sometimes you don’t. Like we were saying earlier, hopefully you make the good choices and turns in your direction so that you make better choices and demonstrate more closely the person that you’d like to be. It’s been a lot happened since then.”
(on his initial thoughts on the Patriots’ football inflation issue and if he is familiar with the process of choosing and preparing footballs) “I’m much better versed today than I was a week or so ago. Like the situations we … Things come up and we have to face things sometimes for the first time, a first-time realization, that maybe everybody would think you should have seen it before. But I never checked on the whole process of how our footballs were handled until this week. I can empathize with Coach Belichick in that same way. I never have, so I can understand that he never has either. It’s something that just is part of the equipment standards that are carried out by our people in the organization. That’s one that has not been looked at maybe as intently as it is now, but I know every step of it now. So my awareness is up and I’m sure theirs is and everybody else that’s around our game in particular will never be the same because of what just happened. I think other than that, it’s an unfortunate situation that they have to deal with right now and they’re doing, I’m sure, everything they can to deal with it properly. And it’s not an issue for us, it’s not a problem for us other than our awareness has been elevated. I say it again, that’s happened in so many areas – social areas that have come to the league as issues for us. This is just another opportunity for us to grow and to see that we don’t have everything nailed yet, but we will eventually. We’ll get it done when the time comes.”
(on if he considers momentum swings when installing a play like the fake field goal run in the NFC Championship Game or if he considered taking the field goal to put points on the board) “That’s a good question, because there’s a lot that goes into those kind of choices. You’re faced with decisions that are molded through the course of the week. As you know, a game could be a tight game. It’s a crucial opportunity that you want to win, at home, knowing that you could get a big boost out of your crowd when you come through and those kind of things happen. There’s a lot that goes into it, a lot more than just, ‘Oh, let’s go for it.’ It’s not like that. It isn’t like that for me. There was a tremendous amount that went into that. It had to do with the planning, it had to do with the people we were calling on to execute the play, really careful study of what they were doing and the opportunity, if the play wouldn’t work, of course. And then there’s the risk-reward thing, too, that goes in. At that time, we were struggling. We hadn’t scored any points yet and we didn’t know if we were going to score any at that time. It made it may be easier to take that chance, if you will. But there are a lot of really interesting steps that goes on to get to the point to make those kinds of choices, that happen well before the moment when you go, ‘OK, let’s go for it,’ or not.”
(on if New England’s secondary’s strength is their raw talent or ability to move around and disguise formations and on how Patriots CB Brandon Browner has played) “Coach Belichick for years has been a guy that really varies his gameplans as he sees fit for the opponent – more so now than I recall them playing. They play a lot more man-to-man than they used to, and I’m sure that has come about because of his confidence in the corners. So that stands out as something that they have focused and Brandon has really added to that. Brandon Browner is a tremendous football player with great savvy and instinct. They’ve played him and they’ve spotted him in different places in gameplans in a very unique fashion, sometimes to play the tight end and to move him around, very much using his special talents. We have great respect for him. We don’t know how they’re going to play us; we have to wait and see. But we do know the range of their capabilities I think even more so than we have in the past with their kind of tendency to play more man-to-man. And so we’ll see how that works out in this game.”
(on if playing the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium once a year gives the Seahawks a competitive advantage) “It does feel familiar to us and our players have commented about that as well – that we feel comfortable coming here. We know what it feels like. We know what the sound is like; I don’t know what the Super Bowl crowd will be like, but the fans down here have supported the Cardinals very well and we’ve always had to deal with that. It will be interesting. You never know what the stadium is going to be like in this kind of setting, but there is a sense of comfort that is more so to our favor than maybe some other places that we haven’t been a lot. So we’re happy coming here to play.”