Pete already is thinking repeat.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll did not shy away from questions about the bright future of his team on the morning after it won the Super Bowl for the first time in the franchise's 38-year history. Given that the Seahawks are one of the youngest teams to ever win a championship and have a roster that faces little turnover, expectations are that the Seahawks could become a dominant force in the NFL not just for one night, as they were against the Broncos, but for years.
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"We really have an eye on what's coming," Carroll said Monday, noting that meetings to begin planning for the 2014 season will take place .
No team has won back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. One of the reasons they were able to do that: Their starting quarterback, Tom Brady, was an underpaid late-round draft pick. That allowed them to spend more money elsewhere. Because of the rookie salary structure of the NFL's current collective-bargaining agreement, the Seahawks find themselves in a similar situation.
And not just with Russell Wilson, a third-round pick who will earn a base salary of $662,434 in 2014 and whose salary-cap number will be less than $1 million (as opposed to the Giants, say, for whom Eli Manning will count more than $20 million against the cap in 2014).
The Seahawks have other star players such as Richard Sherman who still are playing as cheap labor under rookie contracts.
"John Schneider has done an extraordinary job of structuring this roster contractually and with vision of looking ahead to keep our guys together," Carroll said of Seattle's general manager. "One of the things that happens so often is teams have a big fallout when you win the Super Bowl. We're not in that situation. We'll be battling and competing, but we don't need to be in that situation. We've done that with foresight."
They've also done it with a defense that should get better and an offense that should get healthier. Remember, the Seahawks were the top seed in the NFC, and Percy Harvin, the most exciting player on the field Sunday night, played fewer than 40 snaps before the Super Bowl. They'll also get receiver Sidney Rice back from an ACL injury that cut his season short.
The Seahawks' defense will be put up against some other dominant units such as the 1985 Bears, the 2000 Ravens and the 1972 Dolphins. Those teams each won a single championship, though. They had the "D," but not the "ynasty."
Only Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain of the 1970s was able to win multiple titles with a suffocating defense. Seattle has a chance to join them.
"The cool thing is that they're growing up together and we're going to try to keep these guys together the best we can so that we can keep playing with them, run along with them as they develop," Carroll said.
This may have been Carroll's first Super Bowl win, but it's not his first title. He won two national championships with USC (one of which was vacated), played in a third title game and is only the third coach to win NCAA and NFL titles.
Those USC teams were a college football dynasty, and Carroll made some allusions to it Monday, saying he had feelings on the sideline at MetLife Stadium that were similar to those he used to have with Southern California.
"Something's going on," he said. "I can't really tell you exactly what it is, I don't know, but something's going on . . . We've done this before and we'll see how we do."