You could say that this is the moment Pete Carroll has been waiting for his entire coaching career, but that wouldn't describe just how long he's been thinking about reaching the Super Bowl.
"It goes way back, and it's deep and it goes back to Vince Lombardi, all the way back to the guy whose name's on the trophy and all."
Carroll's Seahawks have reached the pinnacle of their profession, advancing to Super Bowl XLVIII with a win over San Francisco in Sunday's NFC title game. For the team, it's a chance to deliver Seattle its first major sports championship since the Sonics won the NBA Finals in 1979. For Carroll, it's a chance to redefine his coaching legacy and join some rare company in the process. Only two coaches – Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer – have won both an NCAA national championship and a Super Bowl.
Back in Week 15, after Seattle soundly beat the Giants, Carroll allowed himself a moment to envision the Seahawks returning to MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl. He realized that daydream was now a reality once Malcolm Smith came down with an interception on San Francisco's final play, sealing the Seahawks' win.
"It never really hit me until that moment," Carroll said Sunday. "All I can tell you is it's quite a magical moment. You can't quite grasp the reality of it. Is this really happening? Did we really do this? And it's very, very special."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.