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Cliff Avril: Seahawks started questioning Pete Carroll after Super Bowl interception

Michael David Smith

Did one play call derail a potential Seahawks dynasty?

It may have, according to former Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, who says that the team began to doubt coach Pete Carroll and his staff after losing Super Bowl XLIX.

Avril said on Dave Dameshek’s podcast that “a lot of guys got turned off” to Carroll when the Super Bowl ended with Russell Wilson throwing a game-losing interception to New England’s Malcolm Butler, rather than the Seahawks calling a handoff to Marshawn Lynch, which Seattle players thought would have given them a game-winning touchdown. Avril said that if the Seahawks had won that Super Bowl, which would have been their second in a row, they probably would have won another one after that, too, because the team would have been more united.

“If we win that Super Bowl I think we would have won another one,” Avril said. “I do think the team would have bought in more to what Coach Carroll was saying, instead of going the opposite way.”

As it turned out, the Seahawks began to decline amid reports that key players were increasingly not on the same page. After losing that Super Bowl after the 2014 season, the Seahawks lost in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2015 and 2016, then failed to make the playoffs in 2017. Avril attributes that decline directly to seeing players start to wonder whether Carroll’s coaching was still effective.

“Guys started kind of questioning him more instead of following his lead if we had won the Super Bowl,” Avril said.

This offseason the Seahawks have parted ways with several older veterans, perhaps in the hopes that they can move on from the players who were no longer buying in to Carroll’s way of doing things.