PHOENIX – A recap of the Seahawks' activities for Jan. 29, when the players had their final media session of the week and then held their "Turnover Thursday" practice as they continued to prepare for Sunday's matchup against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium:
WORDS OF THE DAY: OH, BABY
Richard Sherman is about to experience a life-changing event, and we're not talking about Sunday's Super Bowl game against the New England Patriots.
Ashley Moss, the girlfriend of the Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback, is expecting their first child – any day now. So of course Sherman was asked about the situation on Thursday during the team's final media session of the week.
Inquiring minds want to know: What if their son arrives on Super Bowl Sunday?
"I'm focused on the game right now," Sherman said. "He's not supposed to come on Sunday. Obviously that changes things. But I think he's going to be a disciplined young man and stay in there until after the game. He's going to do his father his first favor and stay in there for another week or two.
"But I've thought about the possibility of him coming during the game and coming before the game. We have things in place in case that happens and we'll cross that bridge when we get there. I would not like to miss the birth of my first son, first kid. But thankfully and hopefully and God willing, we won't have to cross that bridge."
The follow-up question, of course, concerned those things that are in place in case Little Richard does make a Super Sunday appearance.
"I do, I can't let you know," Sherman said. "I guess we'll find out if he comes on Sunday, won't we."
And the follow-up to that was whether Sherman will allow his son to play the sport that is his profession in light of the growing concerns about concussions.
Thursday is the last day for player availability to the media, and there was plenty of media there to ask questions.
"Oh, 100 percent," Sherman said. "Football will probably be one of the first sports he plays, along with baseball and soccer and all the other sports. A lot of people talk about the negative aspects of football, and there are many.
"But there are also a lot of positives that you learn as a kid. I don't know too many Pop Warner (players) – you know, 6- and 7- and 8-year olds – that are full-speed running into each other and getting concussions, honestly. The kids aren't brave enough, obviously, at that point. They're still scared of running into each other and the kid being 10 pounds bigger than him, or three inches taller than him."
As for those positive aspects of the sport that has come under so much scrutiny, Sherman offered, "Football teaches you discipline. And helps you develop a sense of leadership and courage and comradery amongst your friends and teammates. It also shows you how to work with a group – how to depend on one another, how to trust someone to do their job and how to be depended on to do your job.
"There are a lot of aspects of football that people don't talk about. And these are things you learn that are essential towards life. I don't know how social I would have been without football. I wasn't the coolest kid around, but I always had 20 or 30 friends who were teammates and we spent so much time together.
|YOU DON'T SAY|
"This is as good a unit as we've faced, in years. We've got a tremendous, tremendous challenge ahead of us."
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the Seahawks' defense
"We never focus on the good things."
But back to Sherman's son and his possible Sunday arrival, in 2003 Shaun Alexander missed the start of a game when his first child, Heaven, was born. A police escort from the hospital got Alexander to the stadium in time to contribute a game-high 58 rushing yards to the Seahawks' one-point victory over the St. Louis Rams.
Ashley is in Phoenix for the Super Bowl, so a game-day birth would not be the Seahawks' first.
"That would be a special birthday," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "If Richard's son is born on Sunday, I would be so happy for him. I know he would have a great game. I know if I'm Tom (Brady), I'm not throwing his way if Richard's son is born on the same day. Richard will want to make some extra plays for him. But I'm excited for him. Richard will be a great father."
|STAT DU JOUR: TAKING MORE THAN THEY GIVE|
Since it is "Turnover Thursday," here's a look at just how good the Seahawks and Patriots have been in turnover differential over the past three seasons:
The official report, as issued by the team:
OT Justin Britt (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
CB Richard Sherman (elbow)
OG J.R. Sweezy (ankle)
FS Earl Thomas (shoulder)
For the Patriots:
Limited in practiceLB Akeem Ayers (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
DT Chris Jones (elbow)
DL Sealver Siliga (foot)
C Bryan Stork (knee)
QB Tom Brady (ankle)
ON THE FIELD: RAIN MOVES SEAHAWKS' PRACTICE INDOORS
Yes, it does rain in the Valley of the Sun, and the Seahawks' moved the final 60 minutes of their 90-minute practice to the Sun Devils' bubble at Arizona State University because of it.
And of course coach Pete Carroll found the silver lining in the clouds overhead.
"It only enhances the day to come inside," he told pool reporter Peter King of SI.com after the session in Tempe. "We could make it a little louder. The facilities are good."
The "Turnover Thursday" practiced ended with nickel back Jeremy Lane knocking a deep pass away from wide receiver Bryan Walters. And right on cue, his defensive teammates sprinted onto the field to mob Lane.
"We had a great day today," Carroll said. "The whole season came down to that last play at the end – that's the way we play – and Jeremey Lane comes out of nowhere to make the play. The guy catches it, the offense wins. Lane makes the play, the defense wins. It came down to that – the last snap. Really happy with effort today."
OPPONENT WATCH: TOM BRADY, BUT ALSO PEYTON MANNING
In their back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, the Seahawks will have faced two of the most productive quarterbacks to ever play the game – the Denver Broncos' Manning last February and the Patriots' Brady on Sunday.
Which is the most difficult to prepare for?
"That's a tough question to answer, honestly, because they're both incredibly tough to prepare for," Sherman said, before his time at the main podium in the media tent at the resort where team is staying turned to baby talk. "And they both present different issues.
"But they're also similar in the respect that they get the ball out fast and make great decisions. They're extremely accurate with the football. They rarely make mistakes. They have great supporting casts. The Patriots are very dynamic in their offensive approach and have great variety. So I'd say it's kind of a wash in that regard. I think if you're facing either one of them you're in for a tough day."
UP NEXT: PETE AND BILL, AND "NO REPEAT FRIDAY"
The contrasting styles in how the Seahawks' Pete Carroll and the Patriots' Bill Belichick deal with interview sessions will be on display Friday morning when the opposing coaches hold their joint press conference at the Phoenix Convention Center. The Seahawks will then hold their "No Repeat Friday" practice at Arizona State University in Tempe.
Dave Matthews raised the 12 flag on top of the Space Needle Thursday before #SB49 in Phoenix.