It was all over, including the shouting.
The Seahawks’ magical 2013 season had come to its official end with a parade through more than 700,000 cheering fans and a championship celebration before 50,000 going-bonkers 12th Man fans at CenturyLink Field and 27,000 more at Safeco Field across the street. It was a sendoff befitting a Super Bowl champion, which the Seahawks became with their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
Before he left the stadium Wednesday, coach Pete Carroll held one more Q&A session with the media – in the same room where he had addressed them after each of the Seahawks’ 10 home games during the regular season and postseason.
But this one was different, because this season was different. For starters, it ended later than all but one of the Seahawks’ previous 37 seasons – with the exception being 2005, when the Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super XL on Feb. 5, 2006.
So coach, are you behind already in the quest to not only defend, but extend, the Seahawks’ reign as Super Bowl champs?
“No,” Carroll said. “John (Schneider, the general manger) is all over it. So no, not at all.”
As has been the case since Carroll and Schneider arrived in 2010, their first priority is retaining their own players who are scheduled to become free agents – a list that includes defensive lineman
“We want this team together, we want to see if we can keep this team together,” Carroll said. “Every decision is difficult that we have to face. And guys that are at the end of their contracts, those are big issues for us. We love the guys; we love what they do and what they bring. And we’d like to keep it together as best we can.
“John will be faced with some really challenging discussions and things to get that done, but we’ll be very much in concert on it and what we want to get done and then we’ll go set about it one step at a time. And it’ll take us a good while, always with our eye on what’s going on with the draft and all that, and we’ll see if we put it together just right.”
As for free agency, the Seahawks will be choosey, as they have been in the past, because they can afford to be after what Schneider and Carroll have done the past four offseasons.
“We have what we need,” Carroll said. “We just need to get back to work, when the time comes, with the right attitude and the right focus. That’s all I’m concerned about. We’ll have an opportunity to add some players to our team through the draft and all. We’ll take a good look at free agency.
“I don’t see anything that we need to add. We just need to get better.”
The players will be around Virginia Mason Athletic Center in the coming weeks and months, but the offseason program does not start until April 21.
“It seems like forever,” Carroll said. “I think we walk out of here totally arm in arm with the fact that we’re going to have a great offseason. That means that the guys have to be totally committed to having a great offseason, because they’re going to have a lot of distractions and a lot of people pulling them in different directions.”
“Quite frankly, each guy’s got to set his plan in motion and not let the distractions get in the way of the hard work that it takes to put this thing back together again,” Carroll said.
“It’s an extraordinary opportunity, because it’s so difficult for teams to come back and play well after winning the Super Bowl. We take that challenge on now, nose to nose. We’re going to go after it and see what we can do about it.”
And Carroll doesn’t care for talk of a repeat – as no team has repeated as Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004, and they were the first to do it since the Broncos in 1997 and 1998. Or even the Super Bowl, for that matter. He’s all about improving each day, which allows you to improve each week, which allows you to improve each season.
“Let me say it even more specifically, it’s not about repeating to me,” he said. “That isn’t it. We’re trying to do something really good for a really long time. And we want to see how far we can go, and someday we can look back and see what we accomplished. In the middle of it, I don’t think it’s time to assess it.
“In this year, I never talked about the Super Bowl. I talked about trying to help these guys be the best they possibly can be.”
And in 2013, the Seahawks were the best in team in all of football.