PITTSBURGH -- Pete Carroll was noticeably drenched during his postgame press conference following the Seattle Seahawks 28-26 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Seahawks had ample reason to rejoice – they’re now 2-0 for the first time since 2013 and won a game in one of the NFL’s most challenging venues for visiting teams. Beyond that, Carroll celebrated his 68th birthday on Sunday and the win marked his 100th as Seattle’s head coach.
Carroll, without offering many details, hinted that he was the focal point of some locker room festivities.
“It’s a proud statement to make that we’re able to do that here,” Carroll said of the 100 win milestone. “I love it so much that we’re doing it for the people and the fans that love us so much. I’m thrilled about it.”
Bobby Wagner was kind enough to add color to what transpired following Seattle’s big road win.
Wagner and Bradley McDougald discussed how to honor Carroll. Tackle him? No, Wagner thought, that option was too aggressive, even though Carroll is spry for 68. McDougald suggested dumping a full bucket of water on Carroll. That, too, was deemed a bit much. Instead, the team emptied the cooler in the locker room and doused their head coach with bottles of water.
“It was everything – his birthday, 100th win has a coach, his energy,” Wagner said. “We just wanted him to know how much we were thinking about him, and we understand how much work he puts in to help us get where we want to be.”
Carroll built the culture in Seattle with his exuberance, optimism and leadership. Those qualities continue to be the engine that propels the Seahawks now in Carroll’s 10th season as head coach.
“He’s very positive, and you feed off positivity,” Wagner said. “No matter how high or how low you are, he remains the same.”
Games like Sunday’s narrow win highlight Carroll’s impact on the entire roster. The Seahawks lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter while up two scores. Pittsburgh found the end zone on the very next play to make it a two-point game with 5:34 remaining.
The Seahawks responded with a clutch drive without ever having to punt it back to Pittsburgh. Chris Carson iced the game with a 2-yard run to convert on 4th-and-1, and Russell Wilson was able to take three knees from there.
Seattle’s resolve stems from Carroll’s optimism. A team without the Seahawks mental toughness could have very easily folded and blown a game like that – especially on the road.
“He introduces the culture,” Tyler Lockett said. “People who come from other teams see it, and they’ll do anything to be able to stay. They realize how different it is. They’re able to have fun. They’re able to compete. They’re able to love football again. Some people lose that love when they go to other teams.
Added Wagner: "We have a lot of grit. Our mindset is not like any other team."
Wilson, who played a dazzling game with 300 yards and three touchdowns, presented Carroll with the game ball amid the locker room hoopla.
“I have a lot of respect for who he is as a person, who he is as a coach and what he’s meant for this city and this football team,” Wilson said.