Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the controversial call that led to a stunning, last-minute loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl isn't going to define his team.
“That one moment, that moment isn’t going to define this team and who we are,” Carroll told "Today's" Matt Lauer in an interview that aired Thursday. “This is a championship team, it’s a great team that plays great football.”
Carroll has been criticized for his decision to pass the ball only a yard from the goal line instead of giving it to star running back Marshawn Lynch. Russell Wilson’s pass with 26 seconds remaining in the game was intercepted by Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler to secure the 28-24 victory.
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“Immediately — I mean within the instant of the turnover — the gravity of what just happened, I understood.” Carroll said. "There was only a second or two before you stand up and start looking ahead and getting ready for what’s coming.”
Carroll said that his team knew they were going to throw the ball one time in that sequence somewhere “and all of a sudden [New England] had a goal-line group of defense on there that we could take advantage of if we threw it, and so we did, and it just didn’t turn out right.” He explained that he made the call that comes out of the process of preparation and practice during the season.
“It was the worst result of a call ever,” Carroll said. “The call would have been a great one if we catched it. It would have been just fine and no one would have thought twice about it.”
Carroll woke up on Tuesday at 4 a.m. and was able to grasp what had happened and allow the rush of it all to hit him. But that was it, he said. The moment was over and he’s looking toward the future.
“I’m not going to let things go very far before we start to figure it out about how we’re going to move forward and take the next step," he said.
The Seahawks held a weekly team meeting, called "Tell-the-Truth-Monday" where they discussed the call.
“By getting in there and talking about it and facing it up and everybody’s cleared their minds, okay this is what the truth is…. When you finally gather and you’re ready to take that next step, we’re going to go places that are extraordinary," Carroll said.