The Seattle Seahawks had never won a Super Bowl before Sunday night, but their 43-8 romp of the Denver Broncos felt familiar to head coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll, 62, failed in his previous two stints in the NFL, getting the early heave-ho after just one season with the New York Jets and getting canned after three so-so seasons with the New England Patriots. However, before completely overhauling the Seahawks’ organization for the better, he enjoyed a pretty incredible nine-year run at USC.
During his time at the helm with the Trojans, Carroll won six BCS bowl games and two national championships while basically owning all of college football. So, while the Seahawks were turning the rout on against the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, Carroll couldn’t help but think back to some of the good old days in Southern California.
“This game was very similar to the Oklahoma game,” Carroll said of USC’s 55-19 blowout against the Sooners in the 2005 Orange Bowl. “This game was similar to the multiple Rose Bowl championship games. It was just like those games. It felt like it. It looked like it. The score was like it. The offense, the defense, the special teams.
“So something was going on, but I can’t tell you exactly what it is,” Carroll continued during his Monday morning press conference. “Something’s going on because I sat back there at the end of the first quarter, and [thought], ‘Oh shoot, here it goes.’ And the score — bang, bang, bang, it was 22-0 at halftime.”
The Seahawks held a 22-0 lead at the half, but they actually extended it all the way out 36-0 before Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ record-setting offense were finally able to ring some points up on the scoreboard. The effort might have reminded Carroll of more than a few of the big-game blowouts he enjoyed at USC, and he was hopeful that Trojans fans might even take some pride in the similar victory.
“So there’s a lot to it. We’re very proud of it. I’m thrilled that we’ve seen it one area and we’ve been able to bring it to the NFL and recreate it. And for the fans that have watched us over the years in Southern California, I would think they took great pride in what happened last night because they understand what they just watched.”
Carroll is still held in very high esteem at USC, even after leaving the program with some stiff penalties following his departure in 2009. The Trojans have been searching for a suitable replacement ever since, hoping to recreate the same magic with some Carroll disciples, including Lane Kiffin (2010-2013) and newly named head coach Steve Sarkisian.
While Carroll has clearly moved on from USC, and apparently for the better, the Trojans can at least take solace in the fact that he still reminisces about his time in L.A.