By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pete Carroll returned to college to revive his coaching career but the man who led Southern California to a pair of national titles thinks Seattle should shut its schools for a Seahawks Super Bowl victory party.
The city of Seattle has announced a victory parade through the streets on Wednesday that will culminate at CenturyLink Field, where boisterous fans have given deafening support to the Seahawks and are known as the "12th Man".
"Heck yeah, they should," Carroll said on Monday at the Super Bowl follow-up news conference about declaring a school holiday after Seattle's 43-8 trouncing of the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
"There's a big education happening on that Wednesday. They should all show up ... it's their championship.
"In my mind it goes to the kids. I know the adults will take it in in a big way but for the kids, that started a memory of what this is all about and being connected to your team."
After an unseasonably mild evening for the first outdoor Super Bowl staged at a cold weather site, snow kicked in on cue early Monday morning just hours after the game and before the Seahawks were to head home for a warm reception.
Seattle have been virtually unbeatable in front of their home fans over the last two seasons, losing just once while winning 17 times.
"There's no fan base that deserves this more. Nobody has worked harder at supporting their team with more passion and love and spirit than ours," said Carroll.
"Yeah, let's shut down the darn schools. Let's have a darn celebration - peacefully and rightfully and in great fashion - but with great music and fun and great enjoyment and creating the memory that everybody deserves."
Carroll, who was fired after one season with the New York Jets and after three seasons with the New England Patriots, hit his stride as head coach at USC. After nine successful years there, he was hired to coach the Seahawks by Seattle's homegrown billionaire Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
The exuberant coach brought his high-energy program with him to Seattle and motivated a collection of overlooked players to reach their potential together.
One of them, linebacker Malcolm Smith, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of USC by Seattle, won the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player trophy and a new car.
"We kind of came together and said that we would commit ourselves to each other and the greater good of our team," Smith said on Monday. "It was Seahawks 24/7.
"We just decided that we were going to be committed to this, give 100 percent and see what happens. It turned out great for us," added the linebacker, who intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and dashed 69 yards for a touchdown and also recovered a fumble.
Carroll said the final score, one of the widest victory margins in a Super Bowl, came as the defense began forcing turnovers "like an avalanche" to bury the NFL record-setting offense of the Broncos.
Seattle intercepted two Manning passes and recovered two fumbles for four turnovers while not committing a single one.
"We deserved it and we earned it because this is exactly what we've been preparing for, and we expected it," Carroll said. "That may sound cocky. That may sound arrogant. But it's a mentality you can't get in one week.
"They have the understanding, and they came in here knowing that this could likely happen, knowing that it could be a game just like it was, and with that kind of result...It comes from a disciplined approach. That's how they've learned it."
Given control to run his program at USC and to see it succeed, Carroll said he decided to try and recreate it in the
Four years after embarking on the mission, Carroll and company hit paydirt in the Super Bowl but the youthful, 62-year-old coach vows not to stop now.
MVP Smith said the hunger is still there.
"We've seen the effort that it takes to get to this point, and, obviously, we'll try to replicate that and do it again," said Smith.
"We're looking forward to the next challenges and guys having a target on their back and people trying to come after us."
Seattle has been made a 9-2 favorite to win the Super Bowl next season by online gambling site bovada.lv.
"Hopefully we'll start stepping into the next one. We've done this before," said Carroll.
"The first meeting that we'll have will be tomorrow. That starts tomorrow. Our guys would be surprised if we didn't."
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
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- Pete Carroll
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