Here are some highlights of Seattle coach Pete Carroll’s session with the media at the NFL League Meetings on Wednesday in Phoenix.
PHOENIX — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sat down Wednesday morning to face the media at the NFL League Meetings and braced himself for what he knew would come next — a flurry of questions about the Super Bowl and where the team goes from here.
Asked almost immediately if it felt weird being back in metro Phoenix — the game was played in nearby Glendale, Ariz. — Carroll shook his head.
“No,’’ he said during a mandatory hour-long session on the day the league meetings concluded. “I’ve been to Phoenix a lot.’’
From that point on, though, it might be more accurate to say that Carroll embraced the questions that came his way, as he put on display for the world to see his well-crafted theme for this offseason: The best way to move on is not to treat the Super Bowl loss as a momentous obstacle to overcome but simply another challenge to be met.
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A challenge no different, he said, than the one the Seahawks were presented with last season in trying to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
“It’s the same (challenge),’’ he said, repeating what has become something of a mantra as the 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots on Feb. 1 has begun to recede into the past and bullet points for the 2015 season have begun to crystallize. “It’s exactly the same. The very next step you take — you have to get focused on it and maximize it. It’s exactly the same.
“And that’s why I’m confident that this team is going to come back and fricking roar. We are going to roar back into this offseason. These guys are working hard for it.’’
And the idea that the Seahawks forever will feel a searing pain from being mere feet from two consecutive Super Bowl victories?
Carroll instead presented it as Seattle’s players understanding what an achievement it was to be that close in the first place.
“They know the margin of what just happened. They understand that. They know that,’’ he said. “What are you going to be like the next step? We should be good. We should be stronger. We should be better in a lot of areas. We are growing. We are still a young team that’s maturing. It couldn’t be more exciting, really. And yeah there’s this story (about the Super Bowl), but that’s already done.’’
At the end of that answer, he referred to doubts about the team’s ability last year to get back to the Super Bowl, let alone repeat.
“Hopefully we can surprise you again,’’ he said.
What he also knew were coming were questions about the final offensive play.
To one question about Russell Wilson’s ill-fated pass from the Patriots’ 1-yard-line (which was intercepted by Malcolm Buter, preventing the Seahawks from taking the lead), Carroll delivered a 376-word answer in which he reiterated the same themes as after the game.
Specifically, he said the call came out of a plan that was long in the making and dictated by the fact that the Seahawks had just one timeout remaining.
“I wish the play would have turned out differently, and there are other choices we could have called,’’ he said. “And next time it probably won’t be that exact same play. But it’s all part of the process, that’s why my thinking is clear.
“I knew going into the situation, we knew we were going to throw the ball down there. If we assume it’s going to take all four plays to score, we knew we were going to throw the ball down there, and that’s because of the clock situation, and we had prepared for that for years. So it was not a difficult situation. The fact that all of the focus goes toward it, it is what it is. I can live with that.’’
At another point, asked how long it took him to get over the loss, Carroll said: “I’m over it. I’m way over that. But I’m still answering questions about it, and we have to be prepared to do that. And as we revisit the memory, we have to go there, put our toe in the water and get going. And that’s what we’ll do.’’
To Carroll, it’s all part of the story that is this era of Seattle football, of which the Super Bowl loss was just one chapter.
“We will look back at this time period someday, and that game will be a marker, just like the game a year ago was a marker,’’ he said. “And we’ll see what it all means when we add it up.’’
He made it clear Wednesday that he still expects the Seahawks to come out ahead.
Here is some video of the first few minutes: