(Eds: With AP Photos.)By BARRY WILNERAP Pro Football Writer
The more they claimed they didn’t want to talk about it, the more they had to say.
A return trip to the Meadowlands for the Super Bowl hardly was a taboo subject after the Seahawks manhandled the New York Giants 23-0 on Sunday. With the way other contenders are betraying their weaknesses – and with the NFC road to East Rutherford almost certainly running through Seattle – Pete Carroll and crew should embrace the topic.
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No team has more of a Super look than the Seahawks.
”Obviously, getting a huge win here is a great thing for us,” Russell Wilson said. ”You get good vibes when you come back. That’s a positive thing. New York City, Jersey, wherever we want to call it, is a great place to play. So, if we can get there, that’ll be great.”
Few NFL teams would openly address such a scenario. But the Seahawks hardly were reticent about it, just another example of the way Carroll runs his program.
Yes, program, as in a college team. The success Carroll had at Southern California has carried into the pros in great part because he never lets the enthusiasm meter dip. After his players speak at a podium to the media, they punctuate their comments with ”Go Hawks.”
These Hawks very easily could go to the Super Bowl. The defense is deep, versatile, aggressive and smart. The offense – built around Wilson’s adaptability and playmaking at quarterback, the bruising ”Beast Mode” runs of Marshawn Lynch, and receivers who deserve more credit than they get – is championship caliber.
So let them talk about it, if at first reservedly, and then more fervently.
”It’s important to come to New York, knowing it’s snowing out here,” said cornerback Byron Maxwell, who had two of the five interceptions off Eli Manning. ”You know what it is. It happened in the game, we were talking, and we said, `You know, the Super Bowl’s here.’
”But then you get focused.”
Yet their thoughts wandered back to the first Sunday in February.
”Any time you get comfortable at a stadium, get a chance to play there, see the locker room, get the chance to see the city, feel the time zone change, the weather, it’s advantageous to your team,” star cornerback Richard Sherman, who also had two interceptions, said of this trip to MetLife Stadium.
”That’s why playing at home for a lot of teams is so comfortable. You get a routine. You get a rapport with the place you’re at. You get to sit down at the same locker, same spot. … If we have the chance to be blessed and come back here, guys will have a routine.”
What’s become routine for the Seahawks is winning at home. Wilson has never lost in CenturyLink Field, and this season’s routs there of the 49ers and Saints display just how difficult it will be for anyone to prevent Seattle from taking the NFC title.
Still, the Seahawks don’t want to get ahead of themselves, although Carroll sees the benefits in at least acknowledging what could be on the team’s itinerary in late January and early February.
”Just being human about it, of course we know it’s here,” Carroll said. ”It’s something we want to talk about, but we’re not at that point right now. When the time comes, if we put ourselves in position to do that, then we will utilize the fact that we have been here.”
And done pretty well.
”I did like the stadium,” Sherman said with a huge smile. ”It’s a beautiful place. We’d love to be back.”