By Danny O’Neil
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The Seahawks left Seattle on Sunday morning, fans lining the streets along the way to the airport and pressing close enough to slap the sides of the team buses.
The team landed in New Jersey on a cold winter night to the question of whether they feel like they’ve arrived just making it this far.
That’s something coach Pete Carroll said he’ll have to guard against when asked if his young team – which doesn’t include a single player who has played in a Super Bowl – might be inclined to feel a sense of accomplishment just getting to this point, this game.
“It’s a good question,” Carroll said. “That is an issue that you deal with (if) they feel like, ‘OK, we’ve got here and that’s all we’ve needed to get done.’ Or just the sense of relief that you’ve arrived here.”
But while Carroll said he’s conscious of that possibility, there’s nothing he has seen from his team that would indicate that’s a potential problem.
“This team, even though we’re young, I think they’ve got a mature perspective of what it takes to perform really well,” Carroll said. “That’s what we’re relying on. We’ve never talked like all we wanted to do is get here. We’ve never talked about getting the ring or getting to the Super Bowl. That has never been our conversation.
“We never even talked about the Super Bowl, to tell you the truth. We just talk about playing really well week in and week out, and I think there’s a mentality that goes along with that that should keep us on track.”
That approach is going to be tested by not just the Denver Broncos, but the scrutiny that gets focused on this game, which is unlike any other.
That was clear before the Seahawks even arrived at their team hotel, more than a dozen television cameras camped out around cornerback Richard Sherman’s table an hour before he arrived, waiting on the possibility he might say something shocking. He didn’t.
Not much in the way of surprises with the Seahawks’ arrival, unless you count the fact quarterback Russell Wilson wore a pocket square that matched his purple tie.
Safety Earl Thomas was told he had thousands of fans in Mexico, to which he responded, “Do I?”, while center Max Unger was asked if there was a specific length he was shooting for on his beard, which has not been shaved since the season began. OK, I asked that question.
“We’re going to go less than ZZ Top,” Unger said. “Just by a little bit, though. Don’t want to upstage them.”
That beard will be coming off after the game, Unger said.
“Good question, though,” he said. “I really appreciate it.”
That’s just the appetizer for the week that’s going to follow as Seattle prepares for its second chance to win the franchise’s first league championship in the fish bowl that is Super Bowl week.
“We’re not going to try to live up to the moment,” Carroll said. “We’re not going to try to elevate to this wonderful setting that we’re in. We’re going to try to do the things that we know how to do and count on that to get the job done.”