Rather than simply hand the ball off to 'Beast Mode' Marshawn Lynch for a gimme touchdown one-yard, Wilson threw an interception to Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. The Seahawks blew their chance at defending the Lombardi Trophy, and they haven't played in a Super Bowl since.
The Seahawks were eliminated in the 2015 and 2016 NFC Divisional Rounds, then missed the postseason in 2017. They've let go of many key players from the Super Bowl 48 championship team, namely Richard Sherman, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. Safety Kam Chancellor announced his retirement due to a neck injury. Jeremy Lane was also let go during the offseason.
For several months, many NFL fans and pundits were probably wondering what was really going on behind the scenes, and we finally have some answers. Greg Bishop and Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated talks to ex-Seahawk players to detail what led to the rift and breakup of this team that was supposed to be the dynasty.
One unnamed ex-Seahawks said that Carroll would always stand up for Wilson and wouldn't allow the defensive players to badmouth him.
"He protected him the player said. "And we hated that. Any time he f----- up, Pete would never say anything. Not in a team meeting, not publicly, never. If Russ had a terrible game, he would always talk about how resilient he was. We’re like, 'what the f--- are you talking about?'"
Players also didn't like how Carroll offered the most praise to Wilson following their miraculous comeback against the Green Bay Packers in the 2014 NFC Championship Game. Wilson threw four interceptions, and it was the defense that kept Seattle in the contest, allowing for the comeback to take place.
"That’s when guys really started to notice the lack of accountability," another former Seahawk said. "Before that, if guys made mistakes or we lost games, guys took responsibility for it, for good or for bad. We started losing that."
Players also admitted they lost faith in Carroll for not having Lynch run the ball from the one-yard line in the Super Bowl. Some believed the rumor that Carroll called for a pass so that Wilson could increase his chances of winning Super Bowl MVP, instead of Lynch.
"That one play changed the whole locker room," former Seahawk Tony McDaniel said. "When Pete would give a speech or try for a heart-to-heart, people just stopped responding. They didn’t know who to trust anymore."
Seattle now enters the 2018 season with far more questions than answers. Though Wilson is coming off a career season, the Seahawks defense is completely unproven, and the locker room leadership may not be so strong anymore.
Carroll and the Seahawks aren't considered by the media to be Super Bowl contenders anymore. It's up to he and Wilson to take this team back to the top of the mountain, and show the former players that the front office made the right call in building towards a new era.