NEW YORK – The Seahawks had barely been crowned Super Bowl champions when Pete Carroll was asked to christen his defense among the best in NFL history.
The question, which came during Carroll’s morning-after-the-night-before press conference at a Manhattan hotel on Monday, was understandable. After all, the Seahawks’ defense was dominating in Sunday night’s 43-8 dismantling of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium – and an offense that was the highest-scoring in NFL history.
And that was after the Seahawks led the league in average points, yards and passing yards allowed during the regular season, as well as turnovers and interceptions, and then holding the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers to 15 and 17 points in the playoffs.
So coach, should your defense be mentioned in the same breath with the 1985 Chicago Bears and 2000 Baltimore Ravens as the best ever?
To think the Seahawks’ fourth-year coach was going to go there showed that many still don’t understand the way Carroll does things.
“Thanks for that thought,” Carroll said. “Just so my guys hear this, I don’t take any shots at our guys that we’re this or we’re that, 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 assess what you accomplished with the group and 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. And 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. And that’s pretty cool.”
“But the names of the teams and the years come up, and you bring out the big-time defenses that have played, we’ll see,” Carroll said. “We’ll see. You’ve’ got to look back, I think, and evaluate that.
“I wouldn’t try to call it right now. You won’t get me doing that.”
Carroll is not a look-back guy, anyway. He’s all about looking ahead. And he was already doing that Monday, when he shared the post-Super Bowl spotlight with linebacker
First up for the forward-thinking Carroll is Tuesday, when the team will have its final meeting of a 2013 season that went from special to Super on Sunday night – or also known as the first meeting of the 2014 season.
“That starts tomorrow, really,” Carroll said when asked about the expectations of repeating. “Our guys would be surprised if we didn’t. We really have an eye on what’s coming. We don’t dwell on what just happened. So we’ll take this in stride.
“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’m thrilled about what’s coming up, and I feel so humbled by the fact that we get to bring this championship back to them,” Carroll said. “And it’s their championship.”
From the earliest stage of the 12th Man fan base.
“In my mind, it goes to the kids,” Carroll said. “The adults, they’ll take it in in a big way. But for the kids that started a memory, a memory of what this is all about, about being connected to your team.”
A team that featured a defense that accomplished something no other defense ever has: bringing the Seahawks and their city and their fans the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.