Seahawks sustaining success with Carroll

( - You can't spell compete without Pete.

Pete Carroll has a competitive edge, one that many wondered would translate successfully to the NFL from the college ranks.

When Carroll, who failed in previous NFL coaching attempts, couldn't pass up another opportunity to lay a cohesive foundation at the professional level, the Seattle Seahawks didn't know what to expect from this rah-rah coach.

The enthusiastic and energetic Carroll never passes up a challenge and is at the doorstep of winning back-to-back Super Bowls.

It's a rare feat to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive years, let alone once, and Carroll has achieved that distinction. How does Carroll do it? How can he make millionaires play together as one and buy into his philosophy? Carroll is known for his laid-back persona and allowing his players to be themselves.

But what is it that makes Carroll's players trust in the plan?

That question was answered after a 24-20 loss at Kansas City on Nov. 16 left the Seahawks with doubts on defending their title. A defensive breakdown in the fourth quarter dropped the Seahawks to 6-4 on the season and something had to be done, or said. Carroll did both. He rounded up the team leaders for a private discussion, and what followed has Seattle in the biggest game.

There were 12 players in that meeting and Carroll wanted them to express his message to the rest of the team.

"I told them I will do our best to keep us on topic, but you guys are going to have to embed the thoughts that are going to give us a chance to adjust at this point and they did a remarkable job," Carroll said. "There's no doubt that our team has changed and we've grown."

Seattle never lost after the jaw session, winning eight games in a row, and recaptured what it understood earlier. Sometimes people go off track and need a little guidance or reassurance to believe again. Carroll said the team lost contact with how important it is to sacrifice for each other and how crucial it is to support the players on the team.

"It's the essence of playing with the team. That it's not about you, it's about the people around you and you give yourself to them," Carroll continued. "That's really what has taken place."

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin said the meeting made a huge impact and thought it was crucial for the development of the team to be reminded of what led them to victory the year before.

"It was very important for us to get things off our chest. Guys in that room ... we clash at times, but I think being able to get everything off the table, it brought us closer," Baldwin explained. "Being able to spread that out throughout the team it brought the whole team closer."

Carroll was faced with a difficult decision involving wide receiver Percy Harvin. Apparently Harvin wasn't dedicated to Carroll's team-first ideology and was introduced to the exit door. The Seahawks never missed a beat when Harvin was ditched and are in their current state because they believed in Carroll's system.

"As it turned out, we just thought it was better for our team to move on where we had come from in a sense. We went back to more of the format that had gotten us here and it just seemed like the right idea and the right thought. It was a very difficult choice," Carroll said of cutting ties with Harvin.

Carroll has a melting pot of players he must keep tempered, including running back Marshawn Lynch and his obligatory antics and cornerback Richard Sherman with his confidence and no fear of tongue usage. It's a chess match for Carroll and right now he's the king.

The Seahawks are trying to become kings of the NFL in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the New England Patriots accomplished the rare feat in 2003-04. Carroll, of course, coached the Patriots from 1997-1999 (27-21) and was replaced by Bill Belichick, whose been under heavy scrutiny over the last few weeks regarding air pressure in footballs. The Seahawks should be happy, and maybe even relieved, all the attention has been on "Deflategate" leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

Seattle is still going about its business as usual. Carroll was asked if he plans on changing any aspect of the Super Bowl week routine from last season.

"No. Really, we have our way that we do things and for us, it's the discipline of staying the same is what the challenge is ... it's to not change," Carroll said. "What we've done in the past in leading up to this game has gotten us here, so we're not going to adjust now."

Who could blame him, right? The Seahawks have sustained tremendous success the past two seasons, and with so much parity in the NFL, it's amazing. Having arguably the best defense, a quarterback who stares adversity in the eye and a coach who doesn't need a choke chain for his players helps.

Carroll can deliver a tremendous jab to the New England organization for giving up on him with a win Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona. Who wouldn't want to stick it to a former boss (or even a current one)? They say the best revenge is good health and happiness. So far Carroll has both.

He also has a locker room full of men who will put their heart, mind and body at risk for the betterment of the team. That's what gauges sustained success.

Murmurs of the Seahawks becoming a dynasty will come to a roar if they can send the Patriots to a third consecutive loss in Super Bowl appearances. New England has already established itself as a dynamic organization and Seattle wants to be the next model teams emulate.

The personnel is in place, so the next task is to go out and win.

"It's a tremendous accomplishment for the club to be able to get a chance to go back to the Super Bowl," Carroll said. "It's extraordinarily fun for us and I hope for everybody else, too. We're going to do everything we can to go get it done."