Sid Hartman: Carroll, Seahawks are worthy NFL champions

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 3, 2014 - 12:56 AM

With its blowout victory, Seattle has the look of a team that can dominate the NFL for years to come.

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Seahawks players dumpd Gatorade on coach Pete Carroll at the conclusion of their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Photo: Mark Cornelison, Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT

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If a football fan showed the statistics of the two quarterbacks in Sunday’s Super Bowl, you wouldn’t believe how badly Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks outperformed Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Seattle’s 43-8 victory was one of the most one-sided games in Super Bowl history.

Manning has never struggled in a big game like he did in this one, trailing 22-0 at halftime and throwing two interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown.

The way they played, you can envision the Sea­hawks becoming one of those teams that is a force for years to come. The Vikings are lucky they don’t have to play them this year.

And former Vikings receiver Percy Harvin showed again that when he is healthy, he is among the greatest players in the NFL, returning a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown and carrying the ball twice for 45 yards. He also had two receptions.

Carroll builds winner

Seattle coach Pete Carroll struggled in his first attempt as an NFL head coach with the Jets in 1994, going 6-10. But in three seasons with the Patriots, from 1997 to 1999, he went 27-21 and reached the playoffs twice but was unjustly fired.

After his successful stint at Southern California, Carroll came back to the NFL in 2010 and, along with Seahawks General Manager and St. Thomas product John Schneider, put together a plan for building the Seahawks into immediate contenders.

NFL.com had an amazing statistic. Only four players on the Seahawks roster were there before Carroll arrived: defensive linemen Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane, center Max Unger and punter Jon Ryan.

So that dominating team that you saw Sunday is Carroll’s and Schenider’s creation.

Manning still great

Manning had one of his worst games Sunday, but there’s no question that his great MVP season proved that even if he retired now he would be rated with the best quarterbacks of all time.

It’s worth noting the years the great offensive coach Tom Moore worked with Manning to help make him the tremendous player he is.

Moore, an Owatonna native and former Gophers and Vikings assistant coach, was the Colts offensive coordinator when the team selected Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in 1998. The two spent 13 years together in Indianapolis, a period where the Colts won eight division titles, two AFC championships and Super Bowl XLI.

Moore and Manning both recognized the amazing relationship they had as player and coach, especially given their trust with one another when it came to Manning’s now famous ability to audible.

In a 2010 article in the New York Daily News, Manning said: “I’ll be indebted for the rest of my life for what [Moore] has done for my career. I don’t know if there will ever be an assistant coach in the Hall of Fame, but if there is, Tom Moore has got to be the first one.”

Moore said of Manning: “I know he trusts me and I’ve tried to earn his trust. He could do anything. I’ve got his back. Whatever he does is right. I tell him, ‘You see it, you go for it, and don’t worry about it.’ ”

Decker a great fit

A report surfaced right before the Super Bowl that Eric Decker will test free agency next year and the Broncos are worried that they may lose the former Gophers receiver, if he wouldn’t accept a discounted contract.

Decker, who is from Cold Spring and still has a lot of family in Minnesota, would be a great addition to the Vikings and add tremendous ability and depth to the receiver corps.

Still the Broncos have the option of putting a franchise tag on Decker, a move that would pay him in the range of $11 million in 2014.

Jottings

Tubby Smith, the former Gophers men’s basketball coach, has kept quiet about his firing, but this past week he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “For the first time in 22 years, you get fired for winning an NCAA tourney game — that’s fine,” he said. “They wanted a younger guy. That’s what it was. I mean, they couldn’t say that — it would have been a lawsuit waiting to happen. But it’s fine.”

• It wouldn’t be a surprise if the owners of Block E in Minneapolis and Timberwolves management announce this week a $20 million-plus facility that will house offices as well as a practice facility. Regarding Target Center remodeling, the Wolves have asked various architects to come up with bids on the project.

• A number of Eden Prairie High School football players have finalized their college plans. Tackle Robert Olson is going to Oregon State, tight end Zach Hovey is going to Miami (Ohio), quarterback Ryan Connelly will walk on at Wisconsin and running back Anthony Anderson is going to a junior college.

• Reports are out that the Vikings are planning to hire Robb Akey, the former coach at Idaho, to be on their defensive staff. Akey was a player under Mike Zimmer when Zimmer was at Weber State in the 1980s. … Longtime Vikings linebackers coach Fred Pagac joined the Buffalo Bills staff. Pagac had been with the Vikings since 2006.

• Former Gophers strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall was named the strength and conditioning coach at Rice. Yoxall was with the Gophers program for four years in the 1990s.

• GopherIllustrated noted that Tom Lemming, the noted recruiting analyst for ESPN, has Minneapolis Washburn running back Jeff Jones 70th among the top 300 he rated. J.C. Hassenauer, the East Ridge center headed for Alabama, is 167th, and Frank Ragnow of Chanhassen, who has decided to go to Arkansas, is 270th.

• New Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco on pitching in the American League: “One thing I’m not looking forward to is facing Miguel Cabrera. He was my teammate for three years and he’s just an awesome hitter. On the other hand, I won’t have to pitch against Joe Mauer. He’s really tough on pitchers. He has such a good idea of the strike zone that he won’t swing at bad pitches and the umpires know that and will almost never give you a break on a pitch he takes.”

• That was former Gophers guard Justin Cobbs who hit the winning jump shot over No. 1 Arizona for California on Saturday night. Cal won 60-58 and Cobbs was the only player to score for the Golden Bears over the final 10 minutes of regulation.

• Former Gophers guard Chip Armelin is averaging 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds for Southern Mississippi and scored 11 points in Saturday’s 78-47 victory over Tulane, which put the Golden Eagles at 19-3. Armelin, who sat out last season, has started four games.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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