He’s no saint, but for Pete’s sake he’s not the heavy in this coaching battle.
The Seahawks’ Pete Carroll usually draws the most microphones and writers to his press conferences, especially during Super Bowl week.
But as he prepares Seattle to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49 on Sunday, Carroll is singing a backup role.
“The game plan for us is to play like we always play,’’ Carroll said.
Same goes for the Patriots, but their run-up to the Super Bowl has been anything but calm.
“Deflategate” threatened to consume the pre-game hype. The controversy had New England Coach Bill Belichick answering questions he didn’t want to entertain and spend time on an issue he has little use for.
“We’re focused on Seattle,’’ Belichick said, like a robot.
But while the players will draw the most eyeballs on Sunday, don’t overlook the two gentlemen under their direction.
Carroll has stains on his resume — hello, USC and numerous Seahawks were suspended for drug use on his watch.
But it’s clear, Belichick is the villain in this good-guy, bad-guy dance.
“Home Alone,’’ Belichick said when asked his favorite movie.
But one wonders if that would be his preferred place, instead of thousands of curious media members asking about pounds per square inch.
By any measure, the connection between Carroll and Belichick is seldom seen in the NFL. One in which a coach replaced another, and then 15 years later, they are vying for the game’s biggest title.
Carroll, after directing the Jets in 1994, spent three years barking orders in New England.
But Carroll was let go after the 1999 season by some new guy who had little success in his previous stop, Cleveland.
That new guy was Belichick and how do you like him so far?
What’s clear is Belichick digs Carroll and so do most spending time with him.
“Not a coach in the NFL that I respect more than Pete Carroll,’’ Belichick said. “He is a tremendous head coach…it’s how good of a fundamental teacher he is, the way his teams play.”
The closer one looks, the more the pair resembles each other.
“We’ve both been defensive coordinators, we’ve both been head coaches,’’ Belichick said. “He and I have kind of come up together in roughly the same era.’’
It’s an era in which each can make a significant mark.
Carroll is attempting to win consecutive Super Bowls for the first time since, yep, that other guy did it in 2004.
Belichick is aiming for his fourth Super Bowl championship and his 21st postseason win with the Pats.
But good luck getting Belichick to reflect on his success.
“I’m totally focused on Seattle,’’ he said. “That’s it.’’
That’s Belichick and it’s not Carroll.
He’ll expand on any subject, football-related or not.
But what’s grown is Carroll’s status as a top-shelf coach. One doesn’t win two NCAA titles at USC and be four quarters from his second NFL crown without being keen.
Although Carroll, who oozes with enthusiasm, said he’s not the same cat the Jets ran off.
“I’ve been through so many experiences since then, so many challenges, and it’s really just about evolving as a coach and a man,’’ he said. “There are a lot of things we go through.’’
Although Carroll had one less thing this week as Belichick tried to stiff-arm “Deflategate.”
“I can empathize with Coach Belichick,’’ Carroll said.
And he can beat Belichick come Sunday.
If Pete Carroll claims his second Super Bowl, he might be a saint in the eyes of the rabid Seahawks fans.
For the No. 12s, No. 2 would be heaven-sent.