EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Pete Carroll stood in the center of the locker room and gathered his Seattle Seahawks around him.
After a rah-rah speech and Carroll shouting out some players’ names, the entire team joined in a chant: “We all we got! We all we need! We all we got! We all we need!”
And that could be the case for a while for these Seahawks, who could be a force to be reckoned with next season and beyond.
“Obviously, we feel like we have a very strong foundation and we’re very excited about our future,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. “We talk about being a consistent championship-caliber football team and for our fans, that means you have hope every year that your team is going to be in it.”
The Seahawks (16-3) have their first Super Bowl victory, and there’s reason to think they might at least contend for a few more. They’re young and built around a dynamic quarterback in Russell Wilson, who has a ring in his second season, and a stingy defense that ranks as the league’s best.
Wide receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are free agents this offseason, but Seattle has most of its main playmakers on both sides of the ball under contract through at least next season.
“Once I get success like this, I want more success,” safety Earl Thomas said. “It’s just a great feeling. When you’re at the top, you just want to stay at the top because everybody is gunning for you.”
“We needed to play really well in order to win, and we didn’t come anywhere close to that,” Manning said. “We weren’t sharp offensively from the very get-go.”
Manning, who turns 38 next month, won’t have many more opportunities to win a second Super Bowl. The Broncos also have several key players scheduled to be free agents, such as Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker, so the window for Denver as a franchise might be closing quickly.
“We just didn’t play like we’re capable of,” said John Elway, the Broncos‘ executive vice president of football operations. “I was disappointed. Hopefully we’ll learn from this. It started tough. We just couldn’t seem to get it going.”
He was sacked for the first time in the playoffs, threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, lost a fumble and turned it over on downs. There was talk all week about how Manning threw “ducks” - and he had a few more of those wobbly passes in this game despite setting a Super Bowl record with 34 completions.