SB XLIX: Carroll, Belichick face off
"We got a great two weeks. It's been nothing but fun," Carroll said at the joint press conference. "The opportunity to play in this game is so special, so unique. Everybody's in good shape for us. About as healthy as we could be at this time of year,"
Carroll, dressed in a dark gray suit, was relaxed and his usual open mood Friday morning before a packed ballroom at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Carroll praised Belichick and called hiring the coach one of the greatest moves in NFL history owner Robert Kraft made in 2000, when he hired the man who became the winningest coach in postseason history two weeks ago.
"I've been fired a couple of times myself," he said. "Through it all there's always something to be learned. If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger."
"It does feel very similar," Carroll said. "What changes is the teams you play and the challenges they present, which are significant."
Both teams practice Friday and could move indoors with rain falling in the morning and in the forecast the next two days.
"Everything has been great," Belichick said. "I think everybody knows how much respect I have for Seattle and Pete. I don't know if fun is the word I would use. ... Our team is excited. We're excited for the opportunity."
Final preparations for Seattle include clarification on how officials will signal ineligible receivers who substitute into the game. Carroll said Thursday he was told a new signal would be used, but later in the day vice president of officiating Dean Blandino disagreed. Super Bowl XLIX referee Bill Vinovich was openly confused about whether he was to announce ineligible receivers.
"That's not my job," Belichick said of how officials would adjust to substitutions involving eligible receivers.
"What I'm always impressed with is sustained success over time," Carroll said of Belichick. "They've maintained the consistency of championship-level play. That's Bill, that's his leadership. Winning over a long period of time, showing that you've got it together."
Belichick said he would like to do a better job of coaching a team to play 60 minutes the way Carroll's team does.
"They play extremely hard, down after down, week after week, year after year," he said. "They compete relentlessly. It's from the opening kickoff to the final gun. They're just never going to let up in any phase of the game. Everybody just competes at such a high level for every second they are out there. That is a great credit to Pete and his staff."
Carroll said he stresses on finishing with his team and the ability to demonstrate focus and consistency.
"I try to personally prepare for all the situations that come up in the game and we instruct our team what to do when those situations come up," Belichick said. "The players have done it before. How to handle it."
NOTES: Seahawks CB Richard Sherman has recovered from a sprained elbow in the NFC Championship Game. Sherman's girlfriend is nearing full term pregnancy, and Sherman said he has a plan in place if his son arrives early. Pete Carroll said it would be "up to Richard" if his wife gives birth around game time. "Can't wait to see little Petey," Carroll joked.
--Carroll and coach Bill Belichick shared several laughs over their experiences being fired, including Carroll asking into the microphone if Patriots owner Robert Kraft fired him so he could spend a first-rounder to acquire Belichick from the New York Jets. "I was a free agent after Cleveland," quipped Belichick, who was fired by the Browns as a first-time head coach.
--Belichick said his two experiences playing in the International Series in London were very positive. Three regular-season games will be played in London next season. Carroll has not coached overseas with the Seahawks but has experience coaching games in Japan and Mexico City.
"There is an allure to our game. The league sees the opportunity to share our game," Carroll said.