RENTON, WA—Just a day after Seattle became the first team with a losing record to make the playoffs, a jubilant and confident head coach Pete Carroll announced that the Seahawks were only three losses away from reaching the Super Bowl.
"Not only am I sure this team can lose the next three, but we're going to go to Arlington, lose to whatever team they put in front of us, and bring home a Super Bowl trophy to Seattle," Carroll told reporters during a press conference Monday. "The question isn't if we are going to lose, but how much we are going to lose by. I'm predicting 40 or 50 points."
"This is our year," he added.
Citing two early-season wins, Carroll, who gave his players the week off to prepare for the Jan. 8 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, admitted to previously having doubts that his team could lose enough games to make a playoff run.
"Sure, we got off to a rocky start there, and yes, I was concerned when we beat a division rival in the 49ers, but we never won more than two games in a row after that. And now here we are, just a handful of games away from playing to lose it all," Carroll said. "The turning point in our season was definitely being blown out by the Giants in week 9. That's when I knew this team was Super Bowl material."
"To be honest, I was worried when we won that last one," said Carroll, adding that he could only watch helplessly from the sidelines when, despite their best efforts, his players defeated St. Louis in the final game of the season. "But when I realized that New York and Tampa Bay had both won too many games to make the wild-card round and that we had slipped by, I went out of my mind. Just three more losses to go, and trust me, this team has what it takes to lose those games."
Carroll maintained that while the Seahawks did not rank dead last in the league in any statistical category, their poor overall team performance had earned them a spot in the league's postseason.
"Marshawn Lynch, our top rusher, only gained 573 yards this year, plus we only had one receiver go over 750 yards," Carroll said. "That was Mike Williams, who had 751. And people said he wouldn't work out for us."
"[Quarterback] Matt [Hasselbeck] did throw for 3,000 yards before becoming injured, it's true, but that's water under the bridge," Carroll said. "I still would have started him against St. Louis if he'd been healthy. Matt and Charlie [Whitehurst] both give you an equally good chance to lose the game."
The habitually upbeat Carroll became agitated, however, when reporters began to question whether he had a complete understanding of how the playoff system worked, and whether, by extension, he misunderstood the entire structure of the NFL.
"Listen, I know what you're trying to say here, and maybe 7-9 isn't the losingest record anyone's ever posted, but face it—we're still playing when other teams aren't," Carroll said. "So we must be doing something right. Remember, no matter what my college coaching record was, I lost plenty of games with the Jets. Plenty. Do I have to remind you that the Seahawks lost three of their last four games?"
Carroll went on to say that he was "beyond confident" his team could lose to the Saints on Sunday, citing the New Orleans' strong 6-2 road record as reason enough not to worry.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we were shut out three games in a row in this year's playoffs," Carroll added. "I know they say it's impossible, but trust me, if any team can do it, the Seahawks can."