How Seahawks’ Darrell Bevell stays even-keeled through ups and downs
RENTON – Long before Darrell Bevell became an NFL offensive coordinator, he played quarterback for the University of Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers win a Rose Bowl and set the school’s all-time passing record during his four years as a starter. Before that, he played for a high school coach who was especially critical of him being that it was also his father.
Those experiences, Bevell said, have helped him develop the thick skin and even-keeled approach that it takes to handle the ups and downs that come with one of football’s most scrutinized jobs.
“He was always on me,” Bevell said of his father, James, who coached him at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., “and he was going to be harder on me than anyone else who was going to be out there. The one thing he always said was, ‘Never let them see you sweat.’ I think because I had that demeanor, some people think it doesn’t bother me or whatever. You’ve got to let it go and you have to keep it inside. I internalize a lot of things, then I just keep moving forward. I think it’s because I was brought up that way.
“Then I played the position of quarterback. You get more credit than you deserve, you get more blame than you deserve a lot of times as a quarterback as well. So you learn those things as I (did) growing up. It’s helped me today.”
If a football season in general and being an offensive coordinator in particular are like a roller-coaster ride, Bevell’s cart is on an ascent. He’s in charge of an offense that suddenly can’t seem to be stopped, averaging 459 yards over the last three games while going 9 of 11 in the red zone and converting 60 percent (24 of 40) of its third-down opportunities. On top of that, Bevell was recently linked to the head-coaching vacancy at Brigham Young University, which he said he won’t pursue.
While the praise is usually dispersed elsewhere when an offense is performing, the play-caller is public enemy No. 1 when it isn’t. That was true of Bevell well before the end of last season’s Super Bowl and, because of the controversial nature of that play that decided the game, it has been especially true since then.
“I know how I feel about it, and I know the feelings that it conjures up inside of me when I think about it,” Bevell said of the goal-line interception that sealed New England’s victory. “But it’s one play, and I have to look at it that way. I was able to put it behind me. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have a reaction to it. But it’s one play, and got to continue to move on and keep moving forward. If we live in the past, then we’ll never get to where we want to be today.”
Bevell was asked what he learned about himself through the post-Super Bowl ordeal.
“I learned that I’m strong. I learned that I can take a lot of weight on my shoulders. I learned that I have a lot of support, there’s a lot of people that were there for me as well,” he said.
Bevell has never expressed any regret about the play he called with Seattle at the 1-yard line, a pass to Ricardo Lockette that was picked off by New England’s Malcolm Butler. He only regrets that it didn’t work.
Earlier this season, Indianapolis ran the same play from the same spot on the field for a touchdown. Asked what came to his mind when he saw the replay, Bevell smiled and said: “It’s a great play.”