The most surprising part about Richard Sherman going off on Seattle Seahawks coaches for passing from the 1-yard line against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night was that he referenced Super Bowl XLIX.
"I was letting [Pete Carroll] know. We've already seen how that goes," Sherman said afterwards at his locker. "I'm sure you guys have seen that play enough times."
Carroll admitted late in 2015 that the biggest challenge facing the Seahawks last season was getting over the devastating Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
It has now been nearly two years since Russell Wilson was picked off by Malcolm Butler, depriving the Seahawks of back-to-back titles. But Sherman's outburst made it clear that as the Seahawks prepare to try to go on a run this postseason, the loss to the Patriots is never far from their minds.
"In our conversation, in particular, and I'm not sharing much with you, we don't feel any different about what happened," Carroll said. "We shared that. That's never going away, that's just one of those things."
Before the Seahawks played the Patriots in November, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell admitted that the scar from the Super Bowl loss would never go away. Wilson downplayed it a bit, saying that game was just a page in his story.
Offensively, the Seahawks have only five players who were a part of that game. Defensively, though, there are 10.
"It's where you put it, and how you deal with it and how it manifests," Carroll said. "In [Sherman], it came blasting back up. For the most part, for those of us that felt that really deeply -- and some did, some didn't, most everybody felt it to some extent -- it's not going away. If you really care, it's not going away. There isn't anything wrong with that. It's how you deal with it, how you move forward with that and how you let it affect you."
The Seahawks' defense has allowed 16.79 points per game this season, second in the NFL. If Seattle is able to overtake the Patriots (16.64), it would be the fifth straight season Carroll's squad wins the points title.
Sherman and his defensive teammates want to be known as an all-time great unit. They know that the Seahawks let one slip away in Super Bowl XLIX. And they seem to want to make sure the offense, which has been inconsistent all season, does its part to give them another shot.
"It keeps me on track, it keeps me on edge, I don't want to back off," Carroll said. "I'm not slowing down. I'm not going to let up and get soft about stuff because I can brush stuff off. That stuff sticks in me as deep as it can go. I don't want it to get in the way of the next thing that’s coming up. That was something that we were talking about today."
Carroll's approach should serve the Seahawks well. The questions about Super Bowl XLIX will become more common when the postseason begins in a couple weeks. There's no reason for Carroll to pretend the Seahawks have somehow completely put that game in their rearview mirror.
At the same time, if Seattle's season ends because of struggles on offense, it will be interesting to see how the defensive players react.