RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Pete Carroll’s favorite memory of Paul Allen is an obvious one.
February 2014. In New Jersey. On the field of MetLife Stadium raising the Vince Lombardi trophy.
“He wanted to be a champion and to be up on the stage with him in the crowd and the confetti’s flying and all that, and to just be there with him, that’s my favorite moment with Paul,” Carroll said Tuesday. “Now, there was a great moment later on that night when he was on stage and he was playing (the guitar). He was hitting it and he thought he was Eddie Vedder or something up there. He was going.
“I think that was the great moment that we got to share. He got to have it because you can have all the money in the world, but it’s really hard to have that world championship and it meant everything to him. To be able to share that with him was amazing.”
The Seattle Seahawks coach was in a reflective mood Tuesday, a day after team owner Allen died at 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
It was Allen’s message and approach that lured Carroll away from college football and back to the NFL in 2010. Along with general manager John Schneider, Seattle’s power structure created a franchise that has reached the playoffs in six of Carroll’s eight seasons in charge, twice claiming NFC championships and winning the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Carroll described Allen as “shy,” but the pair communicated regularly. Until this season, Allen was a regular at home and road games for the Seahawks and typically had pregame conversations on the field with Carroll.
“He just wanted to know how much we were going to blitz or if we had any trick plays and stuff, basically,” Carroll said. “By that time, that close to game time, there would always be questions about guys who were hurt or healthy and all that kind of stuff. Always wanted to know about the quarterback and what we were hoping to do and how we were going to defend the other quarterback, so it was pretty basic fundamental stuff that a fan would want to know going into the game if they could ask the head coach.”
Carroll said the team is still figuring out plans to honor Allen for the remainder of the season. He believes the best way is by keeping Seattle competitive and in contention for a playoff spot in the NFC. The Seahawks are 3-3 entering their bye week after last weekend’s 27-3 win over Oakland in London.
“We’re going to battle for him. You’re either competing or you’re not. That’s kind of the way I think we can best give tribute to what he would want us to do,” Carroll said. “I’d love to live in his image of wanting to win championships and keep moving forward and do great things. I don’t see any reason why that’s not still out there, we’re going for it. I feel pretty good about telling you that that’s how we’re going about it.”