They said the Seahawks had no chance against the Saints. They made Seattle a double-digit underdog on its home turf. They used every disrespectful name in the book to label the Seahawks a joke. Then, all the Seahawks did was knock out the reigning Super Bowl champs with a 41-36 shocker.
The win over the Saints gives Carroll NFL credibility. His rah-rah college approach can play in the NFL. The league may not have been ready for “Pom Pom Pete” in his first two stints as a head coach with the Jets (1994) and Patriots (1997-99), but after turning USC into a dynasty, he has perfected his style.
He has made a 7-9 team believe — believe it could get to the playoffs, believe it belonged on the same field as the 11-5 world champs, believe it could beat the Saints after falling behind by 10 points (twice) and believe it can win Super Bowl XLV.
Of course, the Seahawks are the darkest of dark horses and the longest of long shots, but as long as the Seahawks have a ticket to the dance, they can play Cinderella. Two more wins, and they will be representing the NFC in Dallas. Three more wins, and they are kings of the world.
Is it probable that the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl? No. They have to win one game (maybe two) on the road, where they have gone 2-6, just to get to Texas. But is it possible that a heavy underdog could stage a big upset?
Ask the 2007 New England Patriots or 1968 Baltimore Colts.
The Seahawks are one of eight teams still standing. That gives Carroll all the ammunition he needs to work his magic.
He is changing the stereotype of an NFL coach one life-affirming, motivational aphorism at a time.
Carroll has his own website. Want a “Win Forever” T-shirt? That’s the place to go.
Carroll has his own Twitter account. Want to see a shout-out to Snoop Dogg or learn the Song of the Day is a Jimi Hendrix-Jay-Z mashup? That’s the spot.
Carroll gives animated locker-room speeches and bounces around the sideline like a kid who’s had too much sugar. It’s refreshing to see someone having fun in the high-pressure business of the NFL.
But don’t mistake Carroll’s carefree attitude for weakness. He is as serious about winning the Lombardi Trophy as Bill Belichick.
The two men also have another thing in common with Vince Lombardi: players who will do anything for their coach in the pursuit of winning.
Carroll’s players, like Belichick’s, will run through walls for him. Watch the Saints game again if you have any doubts.
The Seahawks bought into Carroll’s system a long time ago. They are leaving everything on the field for their coach this January. They believe.
If the Seahawks keep winning, everyone else will start believing, too.
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