After one of the most lopsided Super Bowls ever (tied for third largest margin of victory), the Seattle Seahawks deserved a celebration. The spotlight was on them. Somehow, many headlines from the past week looked like this:
Even Pete Carroll himself talked about USC. During a press conference the Monday after, he said, “This game was very similar to the Oklahoma game. This game was very similar to the multiple Rose Bowl championship games. It was just like those games. It felt like it. It looked like it. The score was like it. The offense, the defense, the special teams.”
Was it the Super Bowl or a USC bowl game?
Former USC coaches were patrolling the sideline. Former players were coaches, assistants, and players for the Seahawks. There were 10 Trojans, excluding the Broncos sideline.
Kris Richard (’98-’01) and Rocky Seto (’97-’98) were teammates briefly under former head coach Paul Hackett (’98-’00). Seto immediately began working with the team as a graduate assistant after his college career. When Carroll (’01-’09) became head coach, he hired strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle (’01-’09). Carroll also continued to promote Seto during his time. In 2004, Carroll hired Ken Norton Jr. (’04-’09) as a linebackers coach. The next year, he also brought in Pat Ruel to coach the offensive line. During the offseason in 2006, Carroll welcomed Daily Trojan reporter, Ben Malcolmson, as a walk-on wide receiver. Richard returned to USC as a graduate assistant in 2008 after finishing his NFL career.
Carroll took Richard, Seto, Norton, and Carlisle to Seattle with him as coaches in February of 2010. In an interesting move, he also wanted Malcolmson as his assistant in Seattle. Later that year, he also hired Ruel.
During the draft, he also took some former USC players, albeit in the lower rounds. In 2010, it was Anthony McCoy, the tight end, in the sixth round and 185th overall. Malcolm Smith was drafted in 2011 as a seventh round pick— 242nd overall. Mike Morgan, who was in the same draft class as Smith, did not get his name called. He was acquired as an undrafted free agent.
Other than McCoy, who was placed on injured reserve, all of them contributed in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Even the awards ceremony looked like a USC reunion.
The Heisman-winning USC tailback, Marcus Allen, whose resume is almost too long to list (college football and pro hall of fame, to name a few), carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy through scores of Seahawks players and coaches. Having won a Super Bowl himself, he must have known what it felt like to be handed the trophy.
The trophy made its way to the hands of the former USC head coach, Pete Carroll, and continued onward to former USC linebacker, Malcolm Smith, who joins Allen as a Super Bowl MVP. A seventh round draft pick was the MVP. A linebacker MVP is already rare enough.
With all those Trojans being featured and the media putting a particular focus on the connection, it is hard for many Trojan fans not to enjoy this one. The Seahawks have even picked up the endearing nickname “USC-Hawks” from that crowd.
Derrick Coleman, the only former UCLA player on the roster, is probably not too happy with the nickname.
In reference to the game, Carroll also said, “For the fans that have watched us over the years in Southern California, I would think they took great pride in what happened last night because they understand what they’ve just watched. There’s something about that. There’s something pretty powerful about that understanding.”
His success at USC helped him land the Seahawks job with shared general manager powers. His success at USC also allowed him to become one of three head coaches to win an NCAA national championship and Super Bowl.
This is one championship that the NCAA cannot touch.