RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks’ last trip to Glendale, Arizona, is not a popular conversation topic inside the locker room.
Understandably so considering the outcome.
For the first time since the heartbreak of the Super Bowl in February, the Seahawks will return to University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday to take on the Arizona Cardinals. But the Seahawks are downplaying any flashbacks or thoughts of February’s loss to New England.
“That’s in the past. I don’t think anybody on the team thinks about that,” said cornerback DeShawn Shead. “We’re playing a whole different team, it’s a whole other atmosphere. This is what is right here in front of us and this is the next opportunity”
Quarterback Russell Wilson, who made the fateful throw from the 1-yard line that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler in the closing seconds and clinched the Patriots’ victory, is the only one who has been open about looking forward to being back there this week. In the midst of his postgame availability after losing to St. Louis last Sunday, Wilson dropped a little nugget regarding the season finale against the Cardinals.
“Going to Arizona, the last time we were there, it didn’t work out our way. I know for me, I’m looking forward to being on that turf again,” Wilson said.
Asked about that comment on Thursday, Wilson again brought up the challenge of getting past a difficult moment in his career.
“I think it builds you up. I think it helps you understand the ball doesn’t always bounce your way. We’ve had it bounce our way a lot and hopefully we can keep that going,” Wilson said. “But I think this game is so much bigger than just a game. Winning is what it’s all about. We all come here to win. …. But when it doesn’t work out, how can you use that? How can you use that for encouragement for others? How can you use that for yourself? How can you continue to build and evolve and progress? It’s been a constant progression, this journey.”
During training camp and leading into the season, how Seattle would get past the Super Bowl disappointment was the main topic of conversation. But as the season progressed, there were other issues that surfaced so any Super Bowl hangover took a backseat. Whether it was Kam Chancellor’s holdout to begin the regular season, to starting 2-4, to the injury problems of Marshawn Lynch, it’s been a newsy enough season for Seattle that the Super Bowl was somewhat forgotten.
It’s been brought up on various occasions. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell - who called the famous slant pass that went horribly wrong for Seattle - spoke earlier in December about still having that play in the back of his mind but understanding the team had to move on.
“There’s really not time that doesn’t go by where you still think about it. I know how I feel about it and I know the feelings that it conjures up inside of me when I think about it,” Bevell said. “But it’s one play, and I have to look at it that way, and I was able to put it behind me. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have a reaction to it.”
The topic of returning to Glendale popped up this week in part because of Wilson’s initial comment. There is very little for the Seahawks to play for. They are already in the playoffs as a wild card and the only remaining question is whether they are the No. 5 or No. 6 seed and if they’ll open the postseason at Green Bay, Washington or Minnesota.
Jermaine Kearse, who made one of the most memorable catches in Super Bowl history that almost immediately became an afterthought, said the Super Bowl won’t cross his mind when he walks in the stadium. And coach Pete Carroll dismissed the idea that going back to that stadium was any sort of issue.
“Just that it’s not a big deal. It’s not a big deal for us going back,” Carroll said. “That’s where we’re playing, that’s all.”
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