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Patriots Quotes 1/30: Bill Belichick & Pete Carroll

Posted Jan 30, 2015

Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll addressed the media in a joint Super Bowl XLIX press conference on Friday, January 30, 2015.

(on how game prep went for both coaches)

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll: “We’ve had a great two weeks. It’s been nothing but fun. The opportunity that presents itself playing in this game is so special and so unique. Everybody is tuned in and we’re grateful for being here. Thrilled to have the matchup that we have with a great organization in Bill (Belichick) and New England. They do things and they’ve done them so well for so long. It presents just as high class a matchup for us as we can expect. Everyone is in great shape for us. We’re ready to go. Fortunately we made it through without anybody getting nicked and are about as healthy as we can hope to be at this time of the year. We’re ready for it. It’s really getting close and we can feel it. We’re ready for game time.”

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick: “We’ve had a great week down through. Our hotel setup, the Cardinals facility and the accommodations, everything’s been great. We’ve gotten a lot done. Certainly it’s a huge challenge to prepare for the Seattle Seahawks. They’re a great football organization and they have a great team. They’re strong in every area. I think everyone knows how much respect I have for Seattle and Pete and the job that they do. I don’t think fun is the word that I’d use. It’s been a huge challenge. It’s a tough team to prepare for, but I certainly have all the respect in the world for them. I could see why they were champions last year and why they are here again this year. They do so many things well on so many levels and we’re going to have to try to match that performance on Sunday. With that being said, our teams excited. They’ve worked very hard to get to this point. We’re excited for the opportunity and it will be a great matchup.”

(on the plan for Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman’s if his girlfriend goes into labor on Super Bowl Sunday)

Carroll: “Well that’s up to Richard. He knows that he has an opportunity to face a great decision. Whenever our players have a personal family issue that comes up, it’s always about the family first and they have to decide what’s best for them, and I support that. However he goes with that- if he’s faced with that decision- we’ll support that. We’ll see how that goes. Wish him luck. Can’t wait to see little Petey.”

(on the job that Founder and Chairman Paul Allen has done to allow Executive Vice President/General Manager John Schneider and Carroll build a winning foundation)

Carroll: “We couldn’t have been blessed with a better situation. Right from the first word about this opportunity, they wanted to present this in a way that would allow us to really coach this thing up the way a coach wants to do it. We had tremendous freedom. The opportunity to work with John Schneider, who’s been extraordinary, we have kind of married together to do this thing in concert. Paul has done nothing but support us, clear the path for us and give us the opportunity to not just do the job, but also to feel the support of how it’s going. He stays with us on a regular basis. He knows what’s going on all the time. He’s been a great resource for us. Not everybody knows, but he’s a great fan and he loves the game. He loves to see the community feel the connection with our team. It’s been rewarding for us too, for John and I, to be in a situation that we love so much but also to be in a situation where we give back a championship for him and the opportunity to enjoy the relationship that he has with the fans. He has done so much for the Northwest. He’s such a tremendous philanthropist. For him to feel really the good and fun of this is a great reward for us. We’re very grateful.”

(on how Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll has changed since his time as New England’s head coach, and the ‘Do Your Job’ philosophy and how it applies to both teams)

Carroll: “I did spend three really good years in New England. I had a great time while I was there. Probably the thing I take away from it the most is the spirit of the fans and the following, and how sincere they are and how much they want to do well and how much they let you know when you don’t. Bill hasn’t had to feel much of that because they’ve done so well through the years, but I got to feel both ends of it pretty quickly in my three years. Things have changed a tremendous amount since that time. I had a great opportunity to kind of find a way to do this job. Really great years at SC (University of Southern California) that were so much fun, and then to take the approach to the NFL and see it how it goes if you treat people and you help them feel like you really do care for them and you do care that you bring them to the best of their capabilities. It’s been a really exciting and fun time to do that. It’s way different now. Things look different than they did back in the day. I got pounded a couple times and got fired a couple times in the league. Everybody likes to have fun with that. My therapist tells me I should always talk about it and that I shouldn’t hide from it. It’s really been fantastic really and a fantastic place to start from. My years there were very beneficial. My relationship with (Patriots Chairman and CEO) Robert (Kraft) and his family will always be special. They supported me in a tremendous way until they couldn’t anymore. Then they made one of the great moves in the history of the NFL by hiring Bill Belichick and all that he’s done. They’ve done famous things together. It’s been fun to watch that. I’ve enjoyed that a lot. I have a tremendous respect for Bill and the job that Robert has done. I’ve watched Robert grow as an owner and Bill take over the organization and do all this great stuff that we see.”

Belichick: “I think in terms of our players and our team, each of us has a job to do. The only thing that we can do is do the best that we can. Let’s improve on a daily basis, work hard, pay attention to the little details and put the team first. Whether it’s myself, a player or an assistant coach, it doesn’t matter who it is, they only thing we can do is what we can do and we try to do that in team context, try to work as hard as we can and improve on a daily basis. We all make mistakes, we all have weaknesses, but I think we can try to address those and improve on that or possibly make them strengths. That’s kind of the backbone of our program. Each one of us does that on a regular basis, the cumulative, we can improve as a football team and as an organization. That’s what it’s really about. I echo a lot of Pete’s comments as well. I’ve been fired a couple times myself. I’ve had a couple ups and downs there, but through it all there is always something to be gained and learned from those experiences. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

(on how officials will signal which receivers are eligible and which ones are not, how has the rule been officiated and if the NFL needs to do a better job with clarifying the rule)

Belichick: “Well, I’ll start and say that’s not my job. Whatever the officials do, that’s their protocol and their mechanics. Whatever that is, you should direct that, as far as I’m concerned, to the league.”

Carroll: “I don’t have any problem with the way we expect it to be handled. They’ll do a great job and we’re very tuned into it. Bill’s done a job of challenging me with some really unique and innovative ideas in how to move people around. They do have to be on their toes, but they’re ready to do that and they’ll do a great job. I don’t think there’s going to be any issue with that in terms of this game at all.”

(on what it signifies when a team is able to reach the Super Bowl in consecutive seasons and who from their immediate family will be at the game on Sunday)

Belichick: “With all due respect, for us, whatever we have or haven’t done in the past – the Super Bowls we’ve won, the ones we didn’t win, championships and so forth – really, it’s not about that right now. This is about an opportunity for this team at this time to be special this year. Again, whatever did or didn’t happen, we don’t really care now at this point; we care about what happens on Sunday and what we’ll leave as the legacy and what the mark of this team is. That’s the passion that this group of players and coaches have for each other. So it’s really not about anything that has happened. It’s about what’s going to happen Sunday. That’s where we’re at. And all my family will be there and my personal family, too.”

Carroll: “These are opportunities that come up that you guys kind of put together to see the storyline to it. This is really this game, and this opportunity is rare in itself and unique in itself. If there’s reason to look back and say, ‘We did this,’ and, ‘We did that,’ and make connections and storylines for all that, that’s really for you guys to do that. That has nothing to do with what’s going on and it’s not really our focus at all – it’s this great matchup that we have. We have family in, it’s a great time to be together, it’s a great celebration for everyone, and it’s fun for it to be shared so I enjoy them here.”

Belichick: “I have one correction on that. My 84-year-old mom won’t be here. She’s in Annapolis. I know she’ll be yelling at the TV set all game. But I do miss that she won’t be here.”

(on who the one person is that taught them the most about coaching)

Belichick: “For me, I’d have to say my dad. I’ve had the opportunity to be around a lot of great coaches as an assistant coach, other assistants and, obviously, for a number of great head coaches, and interacted with many others. But, in the end, my dad had a big influence on me.”

Carroll: “I’ve had tremendous influence from so many people. I think probably, I guess it goes way back, is my high school coach, Bob Troppmann, who has since passed away. But he was an extraordinary kind of mentor for me and a guy that I loved. I coached with him for eight years. I had one of my longest stints ever with him. I owe a lot to that. I’m very grateful for that.”

(on if this Super Bowl feels the same as last year)

Carroll: “It does feel very similar. The process that we go through is really very much the same. What changes is the team that you’re playing and the challenges that they present, which are extraordinary. But we really do have a process and a way that we like to go through the mentality and feel like we’ve come through it now and just wrapping it up and it’s gone the way we’d like to and it gives us the chance to play with the confidence. The background and the prep is big and more. Everything has gone fine in that regard.”

(on the tangibles both teams’ owners, Paul Allen for Seattle and Robert Kraft for New England, bring that make them successful)

Carroll: “Well, I’ll take this one first. Really, Paul has such a connection with our community growing up there and just feeling the responsibility that he has demonstrated so many times and the gestures that he has done for the area. He brings a real sense of the community, and with that, he really helped us connect with our followers, the 12s. Such an extraordinary and a remarkably spirited group; they love their team so much. I think his love for the area, his connection with the Northwest and his willingness to make that all come to light – come together – is really the intangible that makes it so you can be an organization. I don’t know if he’s the one that’s got them so loud when they come to gameday at CenturyLink (Field), but I know that his respect for the people and respect for the area and willingness to make it as special as possible has really come through and we try to stand up to that. He really has done a great job year-in and year-out.”

Belichick: I think the intangible that Robert brings to the New England Patriots is his passion. The passion that he has for the football team, the football team’s relationship with the community as it extends to the entire New England area. It’s a local team, it’s a regional team, and we have great support from all the New England states as well as great national support. But the passion that he brings, he’s there on a pretty regular basis with the team, with the players, with the coaches, with the staff. He’s an integral part of everything that we do. We have a great relationship. I have a great relationship with Robert. We talk about the direction of the team, the vision for the team, the things that we need to do to improve and stay competitive and find ways to get better. But I think that all just goes back to the passion that he has for football, the New England Patriots, the community, the different philanthropic things that he supports and the team (is an) extension of him and he’s shown us the way to work with some of the underprivileged and needier groups in our area. And again, that’s been great for all of us. I think that it gives us strength to be the giver and we see how fortunate we are to be able to have the opportunity to do the things that we do.”

(on if there is one attribute that the opposing coach has that they wish they had)

Carroll: “What I’m always impressed by is the consistency the performer or team can have over a long period of time and sustain. The fact that these guys – some of the numbers that you throw out, like having the first round bye 10 times in your time at one club, all the championship opportunities and all of the Super Bowls. The ability to continue to show, regardless of the personnel and regardless of the coaching staff – who some have gone on to do great things – and players that have come and gone too, they’ve maintained the consistency of championship-level play, and that’s Bill; that’s Bill’s direction and the leadership and I think that that’s something that anybody in our world would like to be able to share and understand, and that’s winning over a long period of time, showing you got it, you got it together, and you’ve kind of done something really special with special areas. So I think he’s done a fantastic job in that regard and that’s something that I would like to be able to demonstrate someday.”

Belichick: Well, I think when I’ve watched Pete’s teams play through the years – most particularly with Seattle – the thing that impresses me the most and the thing that I guess I would like to do a better job of is just the way that his teams play for 60 minutes. They play from the opening kickoff to the final whistle or the final gun. They play from the snap of the ball until the whistle blows at the end of the play. They play extremely hard down after down after down, week after week, year after year. They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’ve ever observed. They just compete relentlessly on, not even 60 minutes – it’s even longer, like last week against Green Bay. But it’s from the opening kickoff to the final gun and they’re just never going to let up in any phase of the game: offense, defense, special teams, the receivers, the defensive backs, the linemen, the quarterback. Everybody just competes at such a high level for every single second that they’re out there, and I think that’s a great credit and attribute to Pete and his staff. The players they brought in there, they’re just relentless in the way that they play. And so I think that any coach wants his team to play that way and I think that Seattle and Pete really are the model for that. They do a better job than anybody. And I’m not saying that there aren’t other teams that are in that category or very close to them, but I put them at the top.”

(on how Robert Kraft contributed to their growth as head coaches and on comparing quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Tom Brady)

Belichick: “Certainly, starting with Robert (Kraft), that’s an easy one. Obviously, I wouldn’t be here without his support. He gave up a number one draft choice, actually a little bit more, in order to bring me to the Patriots in 2000. I’ll be forever grateful for that. Without him, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I would say that’s really a no-brainer. It’s meant everything. Again, I can’t really speak for Russell Wilson. I haven’t coached him. I just watch him play. He obviously plays very well. Like Tom (Brady), he’s had a lot of success early in his career. The thing I would say about Tom is that Tom didn’t come into the league as the first pick in the draft or the highest quarterback that was rated out of college, but he worked extremely hard and he’s very smart. He does a great job with his preparation, has improved on his weakness, he has been able to improve on his strengths, he has a great understanding of the game of football and he can accurately throw the ball. Those are his strengths. I wouldn’t say that they were all in place in 2000. I think each year they’ve gotten better. I’d say that his success as a quarterback is due, in large part, to his hard work, his diligence and his intelligence to be able to take things that he didn’t do well and be able to improve on them to a very high level, so that now his game is pretty strong across the board.”

Carroll: “I’m going to start with the quarterbacks. I think this is such an extraordinary contrast in athletes. It demonstrates that there’s not just a perfect model for how quarterbacks come together. Tom is a classic. He’s been an extraordinary competitor forever and has great leadership, great command and great playmaking ability with the come-throughs, the comebacks and all of that kind of stuff. He’s such a great leader and has demonstrated that so clearly. As a sixth-rounder, he has shown that it isn’t where you start, it’s how you finish and he’s finishing in famous fashion. Then, Russell is such an extraordinary player in his own right. He has an entirely different makeup in size, shape and formula that he presents to the game. I think it’s a tremendous contrast. It’ll be a tremendous contrast to watch them perform in this game on Sunday and to see the results that come from just totally different styles. I think they are both just great statements in character and leadership and competitiveness. Those are the elements that make for the great players. It isn’t about where you come from or your size, shape, where they picked you or any of that kind of stuff. I would say, about Robert (Kraft), I had a wonderful experience with Robert. He was one that showed great interest in his people and I’m sure he and Bill, as Bill said, have a great relationship and communicate on a regular basis. I think that was the reason that I was hired in New England. I’ll forever be grateful for that. The character that he’s demonstrated, the class that he’s demonstrated in the years that followed to support me and my career as I went on – the best thing that has ever happened is that he sent me to USC. He didn’t realize that at the time, but I’ll always be grateful for the time we spent together and will always take pride in watching the great success that these guys have had together in historic fashion for the New England franchise.”

(on how they feel about regular season NFL games being played overseas and the international growth of the game)

Belichick: “Well, again, that’s not really my call. Wherever they schedule them, we play them, but we’ve had two really great experiences over in London. The fans were very enthusiastic about the game. It was a great venue. Logistically, it worked. For those of us who were involved with that – coaches, players, two different teams – I think it was a really good experience. It was good to play in a different venue, with a different type of crowd and in a different setting to be a part of spreading the game across the world. It’s a great game. We all know that it’s such a part of what our lives are in America. For me, it’s great to be involved in it and, from a worldwide standpoint, see if all the people embrace the game anywhere close to the way that it is in this country. It’s great to be able to go over there and show it to them and let them see what this country sees.”

Carroll: “In recent years, we haven’t had much experience with being overseas. At the Patriots, we played in Mexico City and played before 110,000 people in the preseason and it was a great event. It was really extraordinary to be a part of that. With the 49ers, we played in Japan and got the opportunity to witness what it’s like to go into other countries. We know that there is a big following. I don’t know how great it is. I’m not aware of all of that, but I know that there is a big following for our league. There’s such an allure to the excitement to the allure that our country presents. There’s so much follow-up and so much interaction with our population. Other countries see that and I think that they’d like to share in that and enjoy that. I think that the league sees that. They see the opportunity to share our game with the world. The world is as small as it has ever been and it’s so easy to connect now that, if our game can be part of that and be somewhat of an ambassador around the world, what a great thing it could be for the league. It continues to extend how impacting the NFL is and how much spread that it has. As long as we keep doing it, I think it’s great. I know we’ve had the opportunity to follow the Birmingham Lions over the years and it’s been exciting to see that there is this connection with people understanding it.”

(on how they deal with fourth-quarter situations)

Carroll: “I really have spent a lot of time, a lot of focus on finishing and trying to get to what that’s all about, knowing that any great performer or any great team really takes pride in the way that they can finish. I think there’s a lot to it, but I really think the solution or really the essence of it isn’t some special place you go or some special thing you do. I think it’s about doing the things that you always do, regardless of what the circumstances are around you. You don’t let those factors of the clock running down, the team you’re playing, the matchup, the weather, the conditions or whatever it is enter into the way you perform. I think the ability to have that kind of focus and demonstrate that kind of consistency in those opportunities is something that all performers and all coaches wish that they could be a part of. I really think it is being just like you always are in those situations. What happens is, a lot of times, teams give you opportunities and they present themselves and you’re there ready for the opportunity to take place in your favor. It’s an area of great focus and it’s an area I like to see people chill out as much as possible and really show who they are.”

Belichick: “First of all, I’d say I don’t think anybody plays situational football any better than the Seattle Seahawks do. They do a great job. In studying them this year, last year and even going back to our game in 2012, week after week after week they do a great job of managing in-game situations. From our standpoint, I try to personally prepare for all of the situations that come in the game and we try to instruct our team of what we want to do in those situations, when they come up. For us, it’s all about practice. Practice execution becomes game reality. If we can do it in practice, executing plays properly in practice in the right situation, then we have a chance to do that in the game. The players have done that before. They know what is expected. They know what the purpose of the play is and what the goal of the situation is, how to handle and what we’re looking for as an end result. We try to execute the play properly in that way. If we’re prepared for those and we have an opportunity, hopefully we’ll be able to execute them at a high level. The key issue comes up when the team is not prepared for that and if I hadn’t done a good job in preparing a team for a situation like that, as rare or random as it might be, then the execution becomes a problem and it comes back on me.”

(on one thing they want to establish early in the game)

Belichick: “What I’d like to establish is the lead.”

Carroll: “In particular, in this game, it is really important for us to be focused and tuned in to what’s happening because there’s a lot of information that finally comes to you. You go through the preparation of the game, in hopes that you have an idea; however, until the game unfolds, the true essence of what you need to learn and understand about the game comes to you. We need to have really good focus early on, to not just get caught up in the game starting or being excited about it, but be able to take in the information so that you can move ahead with the adjustments that you have to make to give your team the best chance to win. We have to focus really well on what’s going on.”

(on what will be their final points of emphasis for their teams)

Belichick: “I think just piggy-backing on Pete’s last answer, I think that pretty much sums it up. We’ve talked about a million different things over the course of the last couple weeks. You know, ‘Here’s all these plays and if these 50 things happen, we do this, they do that, we do this, they do that.’ I think now it comes back to boiling it down to what are the most important things that we need to do going into the game. Let’s make sure that we have a specific target that we’re focused on. There’s a ton of information, but it’s not all equally important. There’s three or four or five things that are really important and then there’s a dozen things that fall below that list. I’m not saying that they’re not important, but they just don’t have the same level as the key things. Hopefully, we’ll be able to identify those targets properly and we’ll be able to hit on them to give us the best chance to play competitively on Sunday.”

Carroll: “For us now, as we wind down, we want to trust in the preparation and the hard work that we’ve put in to get to this point. Then, when it comes time to get our guys really ready to play football, we’ll get them mentally right so they can turn up and let loose.”

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