And now, a pregame word from Pete Carroll
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's speech before Sunday's opener against the 49ers could go something like this.
Seattle Times staff columnist
SAN FRANCISCO — Moments before the Seahawks take the field for Sunday's season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, coach Pete Carroll gathers his players in the cramped, Spartan locker room underneath Candlestick Park and lights their fuses for the fight ahead.
Talking in one long, run-on sentence, he sounds like the pitchman at a carnival. His words come in oral blasts that have the force of a water cannon.
As he begins, Carroll flashes back to some of the road games from last season and the anger starts to build. You can almost hear him above the roar of the jet engines in Burlingame.
He angrily unfolds a piece of notebook paper and frowns.
"I want to read you some football scores," Carroll says. "See if they sound familiar — 31-14, 20-3, 33-3, 38-15. That's what it was like for us on the road last year. Those were the kind of drubbings we took. Oh, here's one more: 40-21.
"Your last coach got fired because of losses like that. But that's not going to happen to me. The owners brought me in because they wanted to win and as you all know, I WIN FOREVER!
"Watching those games last year I felt as if I were tied down somewhere in the Hollywood Hills, with honey poured all over me and ants attacking me like blitzing cornerbacks. You get my drift? I felt like I was getting eaten alive.
"In case you've forgotten, I don't like to lose. You know what my real name is? Compete Carroll. Parents named me that after they found me organizing three-legged races in the hospital nursery before they brought me home.
"You don't have to believe that, but it's the truth. I've never told anybody that story before, but it will be in my next book. I'm proud of my first name. And I live up to it.
"We lost down here 40-21 last year. And in case you don't remember, the 49ers were awful. Mike Singletary had them so confused they never knew if they were punting on third down or fourth.
"But we turned them into the Niners of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott. I swear I looked across the field at one point and saw the ghost of Bill Walsh prowling the sideline. I didn't like the vision. Frankly, it scared me.
"Where was I? The point is, I want to win championships, and to win championships you have to win road games. We have to go out there in front of these wine-and-cheese Niners fans and show them what real football is about. We've got to turn their wine and cheese into beer and brats. Then make 'em choke on it.
"I probably shouldn't tell you this, but these 49ers are a mess. I mean, they're bad. Their quarterback? Alex Smith? He's so confused by the new system I wouldn't be surprised if he petitions the league to allow him to bring the playbook into the huddle.
"Then he can get 'em all huddled around him and call something like, 'Page 3. Paragraph 4.'
"But forget the 49ers. This game is about us. I don't read the papers or the blogs, but I know what they're saying about us and I don't like it.
"Russell Okung. They're saying you can't stay healthy. That we can't depend on you to last 16 weeks. Are you going to take that?
"And James Carpenter. They're saying that instead of weights and wind sprints, you were doing burgers and fries during the lockout.
"Tarvaris Jackson. You're just supposed to be like one of those guys who sits in for the celebrities at the Oscars. You know, just a placeholder quarterback. You going to accept that? This might be your last, best chance to prove that you're a legitimate NFL starter. But like I told you when we signed you, you have to EARN EVERYTHING!
"And Golden Tate. No more babysitting this year. I'm tired of coddling you and waiting for you to come around. I challenged you last week in the final exhibition game against Oakland and you were marvelous, beautiful. I expect that every week. Did I mention you were marvelous?
"Last year people said we were the worst division winner in the history of sports. Who cares? We won the West, didn't we? AND WE EARNED IT! WE EARN EVERYTHING!
"Don't forget, we're going to be hoisting a championship banner in Qwest, er, Century Town, or whatever the heck our stadium's named now. And that's just for starters.
"Now let's go out there today and act like this is our house, although to be honest, I'm glad it's not. Let's swipe the brie off their plates. We're going to beat these Niners. And we're going to WIN FOREVER!
"Or my name's not Compete Carroll."
About Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley covers all sports, putting his spin on matters involving both the home team and the nation.
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