A year ago, Pete Carroll stood at a podium in a New York City hotel, less than 12 hours after his Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Fast forward to Sunday, when Carroll's Seahawks will face Bill Belichick's New England Patriots in the Super Bowl with a chance to do something that, for many reasons, was thought to be too tall a task in today's NFL: win a second consecutive championship. Winning twice doesn't happen (anymore),'' said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, whose team went back-to-back 10 years ago, making for the longest drought without a repeat champion in the nearly half-century of Super Bowls.
Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP award Saturday night, and J.J. Watt swept away the voters the way he sweeps quarterbacks off their feet to take top defensive honors. Rodgers, also the 2011 Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player award winner, took this one in somewhat surprisingly easy fashion over Watt. The Packers quarterback received 31 votes for the 2014 award from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Houston's Watt, seeking to become the first defensive player to win MVP since 1986, got 13 votes.
One by one, the newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame stepped onto the stage as their names were called. When the eighth man elected Saturday, the late Junior Seau, was announced, his two sons stood with the group. ''I wish,'' 25-year-old Tyler Seau said later, ''he was here in person with us.'' A field-covering, hard-hitting linebacker, the charismatic Seau, who committed suicide at age 43 in 2012, was the only first-time eligible candidate in the Hall's class of 2015. Also getting in Saturday, a day before the Super Bowl, were modern-day players Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley and Will Shields, contributors Bill Polian and Ron Wolf, and senior selection Mick Tingelhoff.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor ''looked pretty good'' on Saturday according to coach Pete Carroll as Seattle went through its final preparations for Sunday's Super Bowl against New England.
The 18 New England residents sitting on the jury in the murder trial of former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez will be allowed to watch the home team play in Sunday's Super Bowl, but the judge overseeing the case says they must leave the room if his name is mentioned. Hernandez caught quarterback Tom Brady's last Super Bowl touchdown pass in the Patriots' 2012 loss to the New York Giants. Now he is on trial for murder, charged with the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee's sister. The trial is playing out just as Hernandez's old team is preparing to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL championship game.
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday it will be Richard Sherman's decision whether to play in Sunday's Super Bowl if his pregnant girlfriend goes into labor with the couple's first child sooner than expected. Carroll said during a joint news conference with New England coach Bill Belichick that family comes first and ''if (Sherman) is faced with that decision, we'll support him.'' ''He has an opportunity to face a big decision and whenever our players have a personal, family issue that comes up it's always about family first and they can decide what is best for them and I support that,'' Carroll said.
As if wishing made it so, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell described his league - and himself - as having addressed missteps on difficult matters such as domestic violence and being ready to move on. ''As an organization, and as an individual, it's been a tough year,'' Goodell said Friday during his pre-Super Bowl news conference, ''but a year of great progress, and I'm excited about the future.'' Nearing the end of a season he acknowledged was filled with ''plenty of challenges,'' Goodell was asked whether he thought he deserved a pay cut - ''That's up to the owners,'' he replied - and whether he could envision resigning or being fired.
Peyton Manning is still mulling his future in the NFL. At a breakfast Friday to receive the Bart Starr Award, the five-time MVP said he still hasn't made a decision about whether he'll return to the Denver Broncos next season. After the season-ending 24-13 loss to Indianapolis in the divisional playoffs, Manning made no guarantees about coming back for another season - a change of heart from a month previous, when he said he had every intention of returning. Broncos executive vice president John Elway told Manning to take his time before deciding.