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February 3, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Pete Carroll: “We were really ready”

Here is what Seattle coach Pete Carroll had to say this morning in the official day-after press conference:

Pete Carroll Opening Statement

“I would just like to say to open up that this was an extraordinary week here in the area. We were treated perfectly throughout by the Giants organization, by New Jersey and New York and by the law enforcement that gave us the security and blanketed us during the time we were here. It was a great week. Everything went exactly as we had hoped. Of course, the game did as well. We were thrilled about that. It was truly special to play the game here. I don’t know how the Commissioner pulled it off, but he pulled off the weather in perfect fashion. The NFL is powerful now. It made for a fantastic event. Of course, not so much for the Denver fans, but I think for a lot of people. Whenever you get to do something of this magnitude, you like to do it here in this area. We feel very fortunate to be able to play a part in that. We’re really thrilled about the outcome.”

(on the margin of victory)

“I think as we have seen in the past, sometimes games go, and sometimes it can be kind of like an avalanche. The scores start happening. Field position just tilts and everything goes your way. We were really ready. We were really ready for the opportunities. The first score, we had nothing to do with that one. (The safety) was just unfortunate for them on the snap and all. From that point on, we really seized the night. Whenever you play turnover football like that, it’s the formula that we try to live by. You get four turnovers and they get none; the game is going to go that way. We had great kicking game play as well. We really were able to put the whole formula together, and that was the outcome that came out of it.”

(on the expectations for next season)

“The first meeting that we’ll have will be tomorrow. That starts tomorrow. Our guys would be surprised if we didn’t. We really have an eye on what’s coming, and that we don’t dwell on what just happened. We’ll take this in stride, and we’ll have a big celebration on Wednesday in town and enjoy the heck out of it. Everybody will enjoy the heck out of it. We won’t miss the fun part of it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t set our sights on how this is going to go. They would be surprised if it was anything other than that. I think we are in a very fortunate situation. (General Manager) John Schneider has done an extraordinary job of structuring this roster contractually and with the vision of looking ahead so that we can keep our guys together. One of the things that happens every so often is teams have a big fallout after they win the Super Bowl. We’re not in that situation. We’ll be battling and competing. We don’t need to be in that situation. We’ve done that with foresight with looking ahead so that we would be prepared, and we’ll go back to work eventually. I guess it’s in the springtime when we kick it back in high gear, but the guys will start a lot sooner than that. We’ll get going (with the) next challenge.”

(on the legacy of the defense among the best of all-time)

“Thanks for that thought. Just so my guys hear this; I don’t want to take any shots at our guys that we’re this or we’re that or whatever, or we’re not this or that. I don’t know how to answer that question. I think you look back years down the road, and you access what you accomplished with a group. You can take account of it then. I think when you’re in the middle of it, it’s not time to talk that way. We don’t know. We put together a couple of good seasons, back-to-back really big-time seasons in scoring and playing good, solid defense in a similar fashion. That’s pretty cool. When the names of the teams and the years of (the all-time best defenses) come up, you have many big-time defenses that have played. We’ll see. You have to look back, I think, and evaluate rather than call it right now. You won’t get me doing that.”

(on the team’s postgame celebration)

“We had a great party that was thrown at our place. How good is it when you have your owner up on stage playing his guitar with his own band? (Seahawks owner) Paul (Allen) was hot last night. He was tearing it up, big licks. He had a lot of notable artists playing with him. He’s got a good roster also. They sounded great. Everybody is so excited about this accomplishment and you can just feel the extension of it all the way through the ‘12s’ that are out there and all the way back home. There’s a great celebration going on back there. It kind of got connected through Paul, a Seattle-born guy. We follow-up with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis coming on stage. He’s been with us for over a year now and hanging with us. They really connected us, and made it a great party. I think Paul picked up the bill, too, which is fun. Sleep wasn’t in order last night. There wasn’t much of it around our building. We can sleep some other time. Everybody is enjoying the heck out of it.”

(on LB Malcolm Smith’s style of play)

“We’ve been coaching him since he was 11 years old, I think. We recruited his brother, Steve, and he was kind of always hanging around and coming into the program. It just seems like we’ve had him in the system for so long. We’ve appreciated Malcolm’s athleticism, his smarts and his toughness for a long time. His college career kind of got knocked around because he was playing behind one of the most amazing linebacker crews of all-time in college football. He got banged up a little bit. We knew that he was an extraordinary athlete and we fortunately had the shot to take him and (General Manager) John (Schneider) figured out where he would go. He didn’t like it, but he had to go in the seventh round. He’s proven otherwise, just like a lot of other guys in our program. I think it was extraordinary last night to see Jermaine Kearse score a touchdown and Doug Baldwin score a touchdown, and Malcolm gets in the end zone and scoops up another fumble. Guys that are not the heralded guys coming in competed in our program and found a way to contribute in enormous ways. Just through the stretch of the season, I think Malcolm had four interceptions in just the last five or six games or whatever it was. He scored a couple of times, put us on the 5-yard line another time. He’s has a huge impact. It’s because he’s such a well-rounded athlete, and he knows our system so well. He does. He’s a great asset to us. He plays all kinds of positions, and he’s a fantastic special teams player as well.”

(on whether or not the Super Bowl spotlight was different in New York/New Jersey)

“Well, first of all, I think it is unique that it’s here in New York/New Jersey. I’ll give you that little love there. I think it’s very, very special. I was here for a long time – five years – and I felt very, very proud to be coaching in New York and to be representing, because of all the great history that’s here. So, to be able to play a game of this magnitude here is about as good as it can get. I know there was concern about the weather and all, but that wasn’t an issue so it just wound up being a great event. It’s thrilling to be part of it.”

(on his secondary being good because of coaching, technique and players who fit)

“I think the answer to that is yes. We’ve been coaching in this style and formula for a long time. (Defensive Backs Coach) Kris Richard and (Defensive Passing Game Coordinator) Rocky Seto are really deeply engaged in how we do this. This goes way, way back. It’s 20 or 30 years back in the making of how we do stuff. They have to convey the message and get the players to play right, but (General Manager) John Schneider has been the one who’s been out, chasing down the guys who can fit into our program. We’ve always wanted big guys and physical guys, but if you can’t run, you can’t play for us, so we’ve fortunately found guys who are big and fast. More importantly than that, this group is about competitiveness. Earl Thomas is as competitive a football player as you’ll ever see, and Richard Sherman has shown you the warrior he is and how he competes and where he goes to find the passion he plays his game with. And nobody plays tougher or more physical or is better suited to the game than Kam Chancellor. They put their arm around Byron Maxwell and pulled him into the fold when Brandon Brown was no longer available to us and just showed how that kind of chemistry can elevate the play of the whole group. So, I think it’s all of those elements. Yeah, they’re big and they’re long and they’re strong – ain’t nothing wrong with that, that works just right and we’ve always been trying to find guys like that – but Earl might just be the most aggressive, competitive guy you’ll ever want to see, so I think the cool thing is that they’re growing up together. We’re going to try to keep these guys together as best we can, so that we can keep playing with them and run along with them as we go. It is interesting though, that there have been so many interchangeable parts. Jeremy Lane had a great season for us, as did Walter Thurmond when he could play. All those guys we’ve started and we feel like they could play. We don’t have any hesitation playing them. It’s a fantastic group, and they’ve really bought into the approach and the system, and on top of that they’ve brought this marvelous competitiveness that makes us what we are.”

(on Smith not having a podium at this week’s media session and having the whole stage now)

“I guess you should all feel sorry for Mal right now, but he can handle it fine. I think it’s a really cool statement about our defensive group, that one of the guys gets elevated. You said, there have only been nine guys in the history that are defensive players chosen in this position, so he’s very fortunate to be one of those. I think it’s a statement – and Mal will tell you too – about the whole group and the way that we play. You say somebody on the defense should be the MVP, and he had a great night. It could have been other guys as well, and he knows that, too. But I think it’s a very fitting statement for the kind of style our guys play and the togetherness that they represent. Any one of those guys could have been our MVP on this night.”

(on going through one of his worst moments as a coach and his best in New York City)

“I’ve had some pretty bad times and that wasn’t the only bad one, just one of them. Coaching in New York is extraordinary. I loved it. I had the greatest opportunity in the world to coach and be a head coach in the New York City area. We all understand why that’s so powerful. It was really disappointing I didn’t have a chance to see it through, but that moment in time was just a moment in time. It didn’t dampen my spirits. It didn’t slow me down. If anything, it kicked me in the butt in a better way. Then I got kicked a little harder in New England. I had to learn the hard way, but sometimes that’s what had to happen. That’s it. I don’t have any ill feelings about it at all. I would have love to have killed it here. How much better of a place could you do it than here, but it didn’t work out that way, so that’s the way it goes. I know you want to tie this thing together, so okay, yeah, it’s pretty cool for everyone to ask the questions and I’m thrilled that I knew what this environment was like. I’ve learned to appreciate what a great place this is, to be involved in major league sports. So, to get back here? Yeah, I knew my way around a little bit, and what was really fun for me and my family was how nice everyone was to us. They welcomed us back, really through the cops. That’s the messaging. We were around those guys the most, and those guys were marvelous. They were always giving me a high five and saying, ‘It’s good to have you back.’ I don’t know why they’re doing that. I don’t even know that they can remember that far back, but that was conveyed very openly and clearly, so it was pretty cool to come back here and get a win.”

(on cancelling schools for the party in Seattle on Wednesday)

“Heck yeah they should. There’s a big education happening on that Wednesday. They should all show up. I’m thrilled about what’s coming up. I feel so humbled by the fact that we get to bring this championship back to them, and it’s their championship. In my mind it goes to the kids. I know the adults will take it in in a big way, but for the kids that started a memory of what this is all about and being connected to your team (is big). Really, it started for me last night when Macklemore was singing his song about the Mariners as a kid growing up in the area and how much he followed his sports in the moment when they won the pennant and all that stuff. In the back of my mind that song rings out because I feel there’s a bunch of other kids that might have felt that last night as well. The way that everybody had begun the celebration, to make a big statement about it is really cool. There’s no fan base that deserves this more. Nobody has worked harder at supporting their team with more passion and love and spirit than ours. Yeah, let’s shut down the darn schools. Let’s have a darn celebration – peacefully and rightfully and in great fashion – but with great music and fun and great enjoyment and creating the memory that everybody deserves. I’m really looking forward to it.”

(on what he learned at USC about making a young team ready for this kind of play)

“That’s a big answer to me, because we developed a mentality from the first day we start talking about these kinds of moments, because this is exactly what we envisioned from day one. We were going to be right here and win this football game – and it just happened to be in New York which makes it even more special – in the fashion that we were able. We deserved it and we earned it because this is exactly what we’ve been preparing for, and we expected it. That may sound cocky. That may sound arrogant. But it’s a mentality you can’t get in one week. Y’all were right. How can a young team handle this if we just started talking about this two weeks ago? You’re right. We wouldn’t have had any foundation, but this team has a foundation. They have the understanding, and they came in here knowing that this could likely happen, knowing that it could be a game just like it was, and with that kind of result and that kind of outcome, there’s not one of those guys that’s surprised by it. We knew what it takes to get there. They’ve understood that. That’s a long process, to bring guys into that mentality. It comes from a very strict, disciplined approach. That’s how they’ve learned it. This game was very similar to the Oklahoma game. This game was very similar to the multiple Rose Bowl championship games. It was just like those games. It felt like it. It looked like it. The score was like it. The offense, the defense, the special teams. So, something’s going on. I really can’t tell you exactly what it is but something’s going on because I sat back there at the end of the first quarter and said, ‘Shoot, here it goes.’ The score. Bang, bang, bang, bang and it’s 22-0 at halftime. There’s a lot to it and we’re very proud of it and I’m thrilled that we’ve seen it in one area and we’ve been able to bring it to the NFL and recreate it. For the fans that have watched us over the years in Southern California, I would think they took great pride in what happened last night because they understand what they’ve just watched. There’s something about that. There’s something pretty powerful about that understanding. Hopefully we’ll start stepping into the next one. We’ve done this before. We’ll see how we do.”

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