Earlier this week, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwintalked about coming to grips with the season being over. It's a feeling those of us not playing can never understand because, despite Seattle's overwhelming talent advantage on paper moving forward, there are no guarantees that this group will make the playoffs or Super Bowl again. Where some of us tend to view things in a practical, fact-based way, players know that anything can happen to derail a dynasty.
"We missed our chance to have the second game at home. How valuable is that?" Carroll told reporters on Monday. "We missed that opportunity. Of all of the things during the season, not being able to do that might have been the most significant thing to happen, getting the second home game. That gives you your best chance."
If you don't think this will eat away at Carroll all offseason, consider what Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Michael Irvin this past weekend on the eve of his home playoff game against the Packers. Jones recalled the pain associated with losing to the Giants back in 2007 when Dallas had home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"In (2007), we let the Giants come in here and beat us with the same home-field advantage throughout that we have now," Jones said. "We have not only looked at that tape 15 or 20 times, I don't think I'll ever forget it. Being that close to touching it and letting it get by you. If it's going to hurt you that bad, then you better circumcise the mosquito in terms of your thinking to get ready to go again."
Anything can happen in the playoffs once a team qualifies, but good coaches, GMs and owners recognize missing an especially advantageous opportunity when it comes along. Carroll and Jones will both replay January of 2017 over and over again hoping for a different result.