JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- There's a distinct feel to these Seattle Seahawks.
Day after day as they meet with reporters in the buildup to Sunday's Super Bowl, everyone from coach Pete Carroll on down emits the vibe of a loose bunch. They're unquestionably focused on the task at hand, but also enjoying their moment on a stage that doesn't seem too big for this upstart franchise.
It was no attempt to crib what New England first crafted with The Patriot Way, but it led me to ask him what exactly he meant. Seattle comes across as a troupe of coaches and players who view the world -- the NFL world -- through shared eyes, but what do they see? Tate tried to explain:
"The Seahawk Way is just competitive and disciplined and always looking to get better, always seeking greatness," he said. "It doesn't matter if we were going into this game undefeated. We will always -- every single day we're looking to get better. It doesn't matter if it's the first game or the last game. We're always competing."
Said Tate: "We're going to have practice later on today and it's going to be no different from Week 1, no different from Week 15. We're going to compete our tails off and find somewhere to get better. I think that's what drives us and I think that's why we are in the position we are now, is that we're looking to get better every single day."
We're getting closer, but I wanted to hear from more than just Tate. Here's what his teammates and coaches had to say about The Seahawk Way:
Defensive lineman Michael Bennett: "I call it the Google of football. It's really inspirational and really laid back and creative. You gotta let guys be who they are and when you do that, you get the best out of these guys, and I think Pete does a great job of doing that. We're unified from top to bottom. We play for each other. We know each other's families, we know each other's kids, we know each other's wives. We hang out off the field and that's just how we do."
Right guard J.R. Sweezy: "Coach Carroll talks about it all the time. We're literally always competing. No matter what we're doing, either studying, preparing, practicing -- we're always competing to outdo each other. It's kinda cool. I've never really been a part of anything like this, and it kind of -- it's almost like a game. It's fun. You want to outdo the defense that day. It gives you that extra push and you don't even realize it, but you're working harder and getting more out of it. That's just the way we do things."
Center Max Unger: "I guess it's our brand of football. It's really -- sorry to be so bland -- but it's just keep doing the same stuff that we've done all year and not playing up to the Super Bowl or down to the Super Bowl. We don't play out of our shoes, I guess is what I'm trying to say. A lot of teams -- it's like the adrenaline rush. Is the adrenaline rush good or bad? I mean, you get it and then you do things that you don't normally do, so you're trying to stay as flatlined as possible."
Pass rusher Bruce Irvin: "Carroll's a player's coach. You go in the team meeting room, you got basketball hoops, you got rap music playing. He's a team player. We got a young team. In this society, players like people who are real with them. That's what Pete is and that's why I respect him and play for him so hard."
Tight end Luke Willson: "I think it's kind of a combination of things. We really work hard and get after it, but at the same time, we're more of a laid-back group. That being said, we're still structured and we really get our work in and we're always kind of running around, but everything's kind of quick, energetic and it makes for a fun atmosphere. The main theme to our program is competitiveness, and it gets to that point where it gets intense, but it brings you closer."
Long snapper Clint Gresham: "Coach Carroll does a great of making sure that we're here for the right reasons. We all started playing this game because we love football, so he makes sure throughout the whole season that we're having a good time. And that keeps people more energized. So, you know, we're playing that music the whole time during practice. Everyone's excited during practice if you make a good play. We show highlights every morning of practice the day before -- of guys making good plays -- and you want to get on that highlight reel. I think Coach Carroll really embodies that we're all doing what we love to do."
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: "There's a lot of enthusiasm and there's a lot of optimism. We really are pushing them to do as well as they can do. Obviously we correct them, but we're trying to tell them how good they are rather than trying to beat them up all the time. The way our language is, the way we talk to our players, the words that we use -- the encouragement that we give them -- I think those are the kind of things that would be different than other places."