Seahawks ready for title defense
Published on -2/4/2014, 8:54 AM
By HOWARD FENDRICH
NEW YORK -- Less than 12 hours after winning the Super Bowl, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll already was talking about getting started on next season.
"The first meeting that we'll have will be tomorrow. ... Our guys would be surprised if we didn't," Carroll said Monday morning. "We really have an eye on what's coming, and we don't dwell on what just happened. We'll take this in stride."
He appeared at a news conference at a Manhattan hotel with linebacker Malcolm Smith, the MVP of Seattle's 43-8 victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
Carroll oversees a team with the fourth-youngest roster for a Super Bowl champion, with an average age of 26 years, 175 days, according to STATS. The youngest champs ever were the Pittsburgh Steelers who won the 1975 Super Bowl, and they collected a second consecutive title the next year.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson just wrapped up his second season in the league, as did Jermaine Kearse, the receiver who caught one of the QB's two touchdown passes Sunday night. Doug Baldwin, who caught the other, is only three years into his pro career, as are star cornerback Richard Sherman and Smith, who at 24 is the fourth-youngest player to be the Super Bowl MVP.
"We've seen the effort that it takes to get to this point, and, obviously, we'll try to replicate that and do it again," Smith said. "We're looking forward to the next challenges and guys having a target on their back and people trying to come after us."
Smith became the third linebacker to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, thanks to a 69-yard touchdown return off an interception of regular-season MVP Manning in the first half and a fumble recovery in the second half.
He said that during the game, some of his teammates were telling him, "You might be the MVP."
"And I was like, 'No way. No way. Not me."'
Carroll said general manager John Schneider has positioned the Seahawks to be able to avoid the problems that can make it hard to repeat as NFL champions. Since Denver repeated in the 1999 game, only one team has won two Super Bowls in a row, the New England Patriots in 2004-05.
There's the need to replace players who leave via free agency. The need to pay other players with new, better-paying contracts.
"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," Carroll said. "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."
Carroll was reminded during Sunday's game of some of his blowout victories in college football bowl games when he was a championship-winning coach at Southern California.
"It felt like it. It looked like it. The score was like it," he said Monday.
"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,"' he said. "Bang, bang, bang, bang, and it's 22-0 at halftime."
Carroll described the lopsided nature of the game as "kind of like an avalanche," an interesting choice of words given the hubbub last week -- and, really, for months before that -- over whether the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site would be affected by snow.
Instead, the weather wasn't a factor Sunday at the stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where the temperature was 49 degrees at kickoff and only some light rain fell.
On Monday morning, meanwhile, driving snow hit the area and forecasts called for up to 8 inches.
"I don't know how (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) pulled it off, but he pulled off the weather in perfect fashion," Carroll joked. "The NFL is powerful."