EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with wide receiver Golden Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks after Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Pete Carroll became the third coach to win an NCAA championship and a Super Bowl. The list:
• Carroll (Seahawks, SB XLVIII;
USC, 2004-AP; 2005-BCS, vacated)
• Jimmy Johnson (Cowboys,
SB XXVII, XXVIII; Miami, 1987-AP)
• Barry Switzer (Cowboys, SB XXX; Oklahoma, 1974, 1975, 1985, all AP)
Updated: February 2, 2014 11:50PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The best-coached team won.
Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor & Co. were even better than advertised. Percy Harvin was magnificent, and Russell Wilson was the epitome of efficiency. But the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII in a 43-8 rout because Pete Carroll is the best coach in football.
From the first snap from scrimmage, the game was a matter of preparedness, focus and intensity. Carroll clearly won that battle against the Broncos’ John Fox, who obviously is capable but was overmatched on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
‘‘That’s the way we play,’’ Carroll said. ‘‘I’m thrilled that we came out like that — so clearly, so obviously — because that’s the way we put our stamp on a world championship. We prepared beautifully. The team was totally focused on getting this done, and it played out the way we wanted it to play out.’’
While the Broncos struggled from the start — they mitigated early disaster when Knowshon Moreno smothered a bad snap in the end zone for a safety 12 seconds into the game — the Seahawks were frothing from the start in all three phases.
On their second offensive play, the Seahawks ran Harvin on a ‘‘fly sweep’’ for a 30-yard gain. Harvin gained 15 yards on the same play later in the quarter and dealt the Broncos a lethal blow when he
returned the kickoff to start the second half 87 yards for a touchdown to give the Seahawks a 29-0 lead.
‘‘Just another wrinkle,’’ Harvin said of the sweeps. ‘‘I think that was one of my favorite plays at Florida. I don’t know if Coach looked at that and that’s why he put it in, [but] it worked out for us.’’
The Seahawks were stoked for this one. The Broncos ran screen plays and swing passes that normally gain significant yards. But the Seahawks were so fast and so prepared that their linemen and linebackers were catching running backs from behind.
The Seahawks won this game four years ago, when Carroll
arrived and brought with him the aggressive approach that made USC the best college program in America (83-19 overall, 7-1 in bowl games, two national championships).
At USC, Carroll had his players practice as fiercely as they played in games, often playing starters against starters and holding open practices to increase the competitiveness. He can’t quite do that in the NFL, but it’s that kind of approach that made the difference Sunday.
‘‘How Pete has us prepare is different from anybody in the NFL,’’ defensive tackle Brandon Mebane said. ‘‘We he first came, how he was preparing us for practices and games was really different. That helps us on Sunday.’’
It made the Super Bowl just
another game for the Seahawks.
‘‘That’s just us being normal,’’ Chancellor said. ‘‘Practice is just like a game to us. If you guys came out to practice, you’d be like, ‘Man, these guys are crazy.’
‘‘We practice just like a game — the intensity, the competitiveness, the energy. It carries over to the game, and that showed [Sunday].’’
It’s hard to say what happened to Carroll after he was fired by the New York Jets and New England Patriots in his previous NFL life. But since going to USC, he has
developed a knack for identifying athletes, building a rapport with young players — often tough kids from the inner city — and knowing which ones can be motivated and which ones can’t.
Coaches with personnel power often struggle; two hats often are one too many in the NFL. But Carroll bucks that trend and others. He’s a defensive coach in an offensive era who just won the Super Bowl 43-8. It’s not a coincidence. The players play, but their coach won this Super Bowl.