Pete Carroll’s Super Bowl reaction shows why he’s no average coach

Feb 3, 2015, 6:37 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm
Pete Carroll called the Seahawks’ Super Bowl loss “as unique a slap in the face as you ...
Pete Carroll called the Seahawks' Super Bowl loss "as unique a slap in the face as you could ever get." (AP)

Pro football has long been a domain for no-nonsense, hard-nosed coaches. Winning is everything. Losing is a problem that must be solved.

That is perhaps no more evident than in the ways coaches react to the end of their seasons. They’re typically resigned to shorter answers, maybe in a more defensive manner than usual, and they can’t get away from the prying questions soon enough.

And if there’s one way to point out how the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll is unlike any other coach, it’s in his reaction to Seattle’s agonizing Super Bowl loss and the last-minute interception at the 1-yard line that ended it.

Carroll joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” for his weekly “Pete Carroll Show” appearance on Tuesday, and he wasn’t short with his answers, didn’t dwell on mistakes made, and hardly even seemed down. Instead, for lack of a better explanation, he was Pete Carroll. He took on the loss like every other challenge he’s faced in Seattle, keeping it in perspective of everything else in front of the organization.

“I woke up thinking this morning of all the people saying ‘Why did this happen to me?’ ” Carroll said. “It’s a football game, but it’s way bigger than that. And I understand that so many people wanna know why and how and ‘give me some reasons.’ The whys are something we just have to process through, the how is about moving ahead, and the moment has already passed and what are we going to do about it, and how are we gonna grow from it and how are we gonna make sense of it?”

Yes, somehow that is a coach that not only lost the Super Bowl, but lost in a profound way – 1 yard away from winning, only to turn the ball over in a complete 180 degree swing of emotion.

Another coach in his situation might be looking to affix blame for why things didn’t go their way. But that’s not Pete Carroll. In his world, now is a time for therapy and healing. Not just for himself, but the entire Seahawks fan base.

“We’re so fortunate that we’ve been world champs, that we’ve been through this … it’s been as real as it could get,” he said. “And it continues to be real, and we just faced something that is as unique a slap in the face as you could ever get. The reality of sometimes things just don’t go the right way, the way you want them to. But it reminds me so clearly of how it is about the journey, a path that you walk and how you do it. And then when you’re faced with your challenges – to win everything is a challenge, to lose everything is a challenge – and then what are you going to do with the next step that you take?”

Maybe the strangest part of Carroll’s words is how they aren’t about the state of his team or the game, but about the fans and his relationship with them.

He is Pete Carroll, after all. He’s the closest thing to a therapist you’ll find in the head football coaching ranks.

“My life has been equipped to deal with these moments, and that’s what I’ve been made to do. I need to help if I can.

“We’re here for you.”

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Pete Carroll’s Super Bowl reaction shows why he’s no average coach