When did Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson start thinking about his second Super Bowl?
Within minutes of winning his first one.
“This may be kind of a buzzkill for most, but I started thinking about (this) year as soon as I started lowering the trophy down,” Wilson said Wednesday at the Seahawks’ training facility. “It was kind of like, ‘OK, now it’s time to think about next year and what we can do.’ And that’s just kind of my mindset. Maybe call me crazy, maybe call me insane, I don’t know. That’s just the way I think: How can I get prepared for the next opportunity?”
That was Feb. 2, 2014, when the Seahawks defeated Denver, 43-8. Wilson said he kept thinking about it through the offseason, and then through the season.
His goal was achieved Sunday when he threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse in overtime to clinch the NFC title over the Green Bay Packers, 28-22.
Now he and his teammates are preparing for Super Bowl XLIX, where they will meet the New England Patriots on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.
“To go to Arizona, to play a great team in the New England Patriots, to play a great coach in Coach (Bill) Belichick and a great quarterback in Tom Brady; we’re looking forward to the opportunity,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of respect for them and what they do. We’re just grateful to be there and just grateful that we have another week of practice and then another week after that to get ready to go.”
Wilson and coach Pete Carroll have said this week in the Northwest is especially important before the distractions and media obligations increase next week in the desert.
“I think the best thing that I tried to do last time and the goal this time is get your work done this week,” Wilson said. “Try to get everything in. Try to get all the tickets out of the way, ignore the noise at the same time and just try to focus on the game of football, and the fundamentals of the game of football and be engaged with your teammates and be locked in. Just have a ball. Just go out there and love the game for what it is: We’re playing in the Super Bowl.”
The “Legion of Boom" was down a cylinder for one of the few times in Earl Thomas’ career.
The safety didn’t practice Wednesday after he separated his left shoulder in the first half of the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. Cornerback Richard Sherman hurt his left elbow on the first play of the fourth quarter. Both All-Pros kept playing, and Sherman was unexpectedly full-go in Wednesday’s practice — albeit a lighter one.
The Seahawks expect both to be ready for the Super Bowl after playing through the pain against the Packers. Thomas returned with a brace on his shoulder yet thudded Packers bullish running back Eddie Lacy sideways out of bounds for a memorable tackle.
“(Thomas) didn’t change his style, not one bit,” defensive backs coach Kris Richard said. “So he only knows one way. That’s the beauty of him: It’s fearlessness and tons of faithfulness.”
Richard added that even an injured Sherman “is still pretty good.”
Missing practice is rare enough for both players. Missing games would be fully unprecedented. Neither player has missed a game in his NFL career: a streak of 82 consecutive games for Thomas and 66 in a row for Sherman.
So they are not about to miss the biggest game of all.
“You would think that (Sherman) may be limited in that fashion,” Richard said. “… But we still have some time for him to recover and we have a great medical staff here, so we’ll have a plan in regards to his recovery, his treatment, and we’ll be on top of it.”
As for Thomas, Richard said, “he just needs rest, so we’re going to give him all the rest that he needs. He has to be on top of the mental reps, which he will be — that’s just what he does.
“Right now, I’m not sure if he’s ever been in this kind of position before.”
The other Seahawks who joined Thomas in missing practice: G J.R. Sweezy (ankle), LS Clint Gresham (neck), RB Marshawn Lynch and DE Michael Bennett (both rest). … The NFL said it plans to keep University of Phoenix Stadium’s retractable roof open for the Super Bowl, closing it only if there is inclement weather. The initial forecast for game day in the “Valley of the Sun” — “Brilliant sunshine” and 70 degrees. … Wilson stayed clear of the so-called “Deflategate” controversy in New England this week. However, he did have this take when as to how he likes footballs prepared: “Just as long as they have laces.” … The Seahawks will be the first team to the desert, arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport around 1 p.m. PST Sunday. The New England Patriots are expected about 26 hours later.