Pete Carroll: Seahawks' big challenge was getting over Super Bowl sting

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks will open the playoffs in five days against the Minnesota Vikings, but Pete Carroll spent some time Monday reflecting on the team's journey to reach 10-6.

The Seahawks started the season at 2-4 and were 4-5 after nine games. But they won six of their last seven and are now well-positioned to go on a run with the hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the third consecutive year.

Carroll was asked what the team's biggest challenge has been.

"We had to get through last year," he said. "We had to get through the finish to the season. There was no question it had a big impact. And we did. We made it. It was, as we said when we first realized what we were into, that it was probably going to be different for everybody. Everybody’s going to have to deal with it on their own, and we were going to try to be extraordinarily patient and understanding and caring as we worked our way through it. But it had an impact. There was a lot of stuff that happened in this offseason that had an impact."

Last year ended in heartbreaking fashion with the interception in the end zone against the New England Patriots. But Carroll made the argument that the process of moving on to a new season was no different than what the Seahawks went through after they won the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos in 2014.

"When we won the whole thing, and we had all of the stuff that went on and all the hullabaloo and the parades and everything, which were great, we had a blast doing it," Carroll said. "And they’re raising the flag for the opening game, I didn’t want to raise the flag for the opening game. That was already done, it was over with. We had similar issues. Every season it’s something. It could be personnel losses, coaches, players, quarterbacks leave, whatever, things happen. You have to deal with it. That’s just a microcosm of life. You have to deal with stuff, and then you move ahead. You have to deal with it properly and put it in the right place and then get on.

"It just took us some time. I think we had some hangover from it. Look at the history of the teams coming out of the Super Bowl. How well are they doing the next year? It’s a most challenging event to endure for a program and staff and players and fans and all of that. I’m proud to say we’re still fighting, and here we go again. We’ll see what happens."

Depending on how the next couple of weeks go, the Seahawks could once again get peppered with questions about how last season ended. Most within the organization seem to have grown tired of looking back.

But as Carroll pointed out, the impact of that loss clearly carried over into this season.