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Pete Carroll: "There is a lot more to be done"
"We don’t want to just get a ring."
Just get a ring? That not-so-easy task had eluded the Seahawks organization and 12s everywhere for 37 years until this past season's 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Since the inception of the club in 1976, "just get a ring" had been penned in permanent marker atop every Seahawks fans' football-season wish list.
But as Pete Carroll noted Friday when a new three-year deal was announced for the Seahawks head coach, "just get a ring" represents just the start of what Carroll, general manager John Schneider, and their staff are looking to score in Seattle.
"There is a lot more to be done," Carroll continued. "It was a wonderful accomplishment and all, but there is so much more ahead of us."
That's a thought that should sit well with Seahawks fans that waited so long to see their club hoist its first Lombardi Trophy. It stems from a mentality and coaching philosophy that Carroll brought to the Seahawks four seasons ago from his time at the University of Southern California - to do things better than they have ever been done before.
With Schneider, Carroll had hopes of establishing one of the more unique head coach-general manager relationships in the NFL. In four seasons together in Seattle, the pair has found – and continues to harness – that competitive edge.
They've plucked All-Pro talent in the later rounds of the NFL Draft (Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor), upturned Pro Bowlers from the Canadian Football League (Brandon Browner), established team leaders in undrafted rookie free agents (Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse), swung deals for players that fit their system (Marshawn Lynch), and gone against all conventional wisdom by taking a chance on an undersized and under-appreciated third-round draft pick (Russell Wilson).
"It's not like either one of us believes that we have all the answers," Schneider told reporters Friday of his connection with coach Carroll. "We're just trying to continually learn and figure things out, treat people appropriately in the organization, and try to give the players every avenue they have to take care of their bodies and their minds. Pete has a very unique ability to instill confidence in people and I think it's just a special deal."
That confidence Carroll and his staff instill has been highly-apparent the past four seasons. The poise, determination, and pure physicality the Seahawks employ has not gone unnoticed around the League, as evidenced by the number of free agents the club has lost to other teams this offseason.
But make no mistake about it, despite the free-agent departures this team was built entirely in Carroll and Schneider's image. Just two players remain on the Seahawks roster who pre-date Carroll and Schneider's arrival in the Emerald City - center Max Unger (drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft) and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (selected in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft).
So with a newly-minted contract to Carroll's name and a Super Bowl title under their belts, don't even begin to think that the Seahawks coach and general manager are ones to rest on their laurels.
And what exactly is next for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks? Carroll says that's a task that starts with players, coaches, and staff having the best offseason of their lives.
"There is a tremendous challenge to maintain the consistency and the commitment that it takes to do this," Carroll said. "I've said that the most important thing that happens is that we rediscover every year - not just this year because it was a Super Bowl year - every year we rediscover the work ethic that makes us who we are.”
With Carroll now under contract through the 2016 season, he and his club look to operate as they have all along, win or lose, with an eye turned toward “What’s next?”
"One time's cool and we're excited and all that," Carroll said of his team's Super Bowl exploits. "But to come back and figure out a way to show that you can do it again is another tremendous challenge that we're faced with now.
“Russell [Wilson] and the fellas are ready to go. They can't wait to get back here and get working to make this thing happen."