Defensive end Cliff Avril left his Super Bowl ring in a bank safe. Center Max Unger has his in a ring case at home.
The Seattle Seahawks flashed little jewelry upon their arrival in Arizona, proving you can leave home without it.
“It’s just not something that ...,” Unger said, pausing. “It’s a different year. I think a lot of it is for retirement. They always say the wins get sweeter the farther away you get from them. Hopefully that’s true, and maybe I’ll be able to bust it out a little bit later. But in the now, kind of leave it at home.”
Bill Belichick squirmed at the podium Monday after the New England Patriots arrived in Arizona, declining to answer any questions about Deflate-gate.
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That followed an unconventional opening statement by owner Robert Kraft, who defended Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and the organization in the wake of questions about underinflated footballs discovered during the AFC championship game.
“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and in particular coach Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week,” Kraft said in a 3-minute, 14-second statement.
In contrast, the Seahawks seem quite comfortable in their own uniforms. Coach Pete Carroll appeared loose and relaxed, joking with reporters during his Monday media session at the team hotel.
“You asked a question yesterday,” Carroll interrupted one reporter. “... I’m just keeping track.”
Pete and Repeat.
The Seahawks are attempting to become the first team since the Patriots in 2003-04 to win consecutive Super Bowls.
“To be here back-to-back years shows a lot about our football team and what we can do,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “It means a lot to me just to be able to come back and have that championship mindset throughout the whole entire season, and to potentially win back-to-back years is huge.
“I think it’s really big for our organization and for our players. So I’m looking forward to that potentially, but you can’t look too far ahead.”
Just getting back to the big game ranks as an accomplishment.
Four of the past nine Super Bowl winners failed to make the playoffs the following season. The 2005 Patriots are the last defending Super Bowl champion to even win a playoff game.
“We know the statistics that are out there that the team that wins the Super Bowl doesn’t even make it back to the playoffs,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “I know a lot of people stopped believing in us during the season. We were 3-3, 6-4, and a lot of people didn’t believe in us. But we kept fighting and kept believing and took it one game at time, and we were able to win our division and win the NFC.
“It’s special. It just goes to show this team, we’re full of fighters. We just keep believing, ... even when no one else believes in us.”
The Seahawks are trying to ring in a new year, having arrived to Super Bowl XLIX with 18 players who weren’t with them for Super Bowl XLVIII.
“We don’t pay attention to what history says, because obviously we’re not supposed to be where we are right now,” Avril said. “But we believe in what we have here and what we’ve got as a team — the personnel, the coaches. We believe we can make anything happen, and that’s our goal.”
Only eight Super Bowl champions have repeated:
Green Bay, 1966-67
San Francisco, 1988-89
New England, 2003-04
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760