Pete Carroll was up all night at his team hotel in Jersey City where he was literally serenaded by his billionaire boss. And when he returns home he will be paraded through Seattle on Wednesday, when they may even close the city’s schools.
So yeah, the easy-going, fun-loving Carroll intends to enjoy every moment of the high point of his long career after the Seahawks obliterated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. But the celebration won’t last forever.
Pretty soon he’ll be back to work, trying to do it all again.
“That starts tomorrow really,” Carroll said on Monday morning at the downtown Sheraton that served as the Super Bowl Media Center all week. “Our guys would be surprised if we didn’t. We really have an eye on what’s coming and we don’t dwell on what just happened.
“And I think we are in a very fortunate situation. (GM) John Schneider has done an extraordinary job of structuring this roster contractually with the vision to look ahead so we can keep our guys together. 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.”
Or to put it another way, as safety Earl Thomas did: “We’re going to stay here for a long, long time.”
Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News
Pete Carroll (c.) and Seattle GM John Schneider (r.) have put together a team with staying power.
Yes, almost every Super Bowl champion has felt exactly the same way over the last 48 years, but very few have been positioned as well as the Seahawks for a repeat performance. It’s been a decade since the last repeat champion – the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots – and it’s become clear that building a dynasty in an era of free agency is nearly impossible.
But the short-term outlook for the Seahawks just feels different. They appear built to last.
For one thing, they have the NFL’s version of the Golden Ticket – a talented, young, and now Super Bowl-winning quarterback at an unbelievable price. Russell Wilson is scheduled to make just $662,000 in 2014 with a salary cap number of less than $1 million (or nearly $20 million less than that of Giants quarterback Eli Manning). And thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, he can’t renegotiate his current contract until 2015.
So with an unbelievable bargain – and a fixed price — at the NFL’s most expensive position, the Seahawks should have the financial flexibility to either keep some of their few key free agents – like defensive end Michael Bennett or receiver Golden Tate – or replace them. They also have an uber-rich owner in Paul Allen who’s not afraid to spend money, and a coach in Carroll who’s earning reputation as fun to play for among players around the league.
That makes the Seahawks, who were already the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the new “it” destination. There’s money to be earned in Seattle, a relaxed (relatively) coach, and a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. The ‘Hawks could have free agents knocking down their door.
Robert Sabo/New York Daily News
Seattle has a bona fide champion in Russell Wilson for a fraction of the price of most NFL QBs.
Even without an influx of talent, though, they are young and they are good and next year they could be even better. Receiver Percy Harvin, who might have been the best player on the field in the Super Bowl, played only a handful of snaps all season before Sunday night due to injuries. And they should get 6-4 receiver Sidney Rice back after he missed most of the season with a torn ACL.
They went 16-3 this season, but to them it feels like only the beginning.
“I sure hope so,” Schneider said. Obviously we feel like we have a very strong foundation. We’re very excited about our future. We talk about being a consistent championship caliber football team and for our fans that mean you have hope every year that your team is going to be in it.”
They have more than hope. They have a belief and a confidence. And even after winning the first championship in franchise history, they’re convinced they still have the drive, too.
“If we stay together – we’re young, we’re talented – we feel like we can keep doing this and doing this and doing this,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner. “To be a dynasty you’ve got to win more than one.”
“We have a chip on our shoulder,” Bennett added, “and that chip is going to continue to be on this team forever.”