The final game of the season, in primetime, for the division championship.
Believe it or not, Pete Carroll’s been in nearly the exact same scenario before.
As first-year coach of the New England Patriots in 1997, Carroll led his 9-6 team into a Monday Night Football matchup against the 9-6 Dolphins in Miami during Week 17 of the season, with the winner of that contest claiming the AFC East title and earning a home playoff game the following week. (Strangely enough, current Seahawks kicker Olindo Mare was Miami’s kicker in that game.)
The Patriots scored two second-half touchdowns to triumph in a dramatic 14-12 victory, which delivered them the division crown. They would go on to beat the Dolphins again in the playoffs the next week before falling at the Steelers, 7-6, in the divisional round.
So now, Carroll, in his first season as Seahawks coach, faces essentially an identical scenario. Beat division rival St. Louis in primetime on Sunday night, and Seattle will be winners of the division and hosting a home playoff game next week.
“It’s odd how similar these situations are,” Carroll said. “Anything can happen in these types of games, so you just have to believe and keep fighting and that’s exactly what we’re going to have to do this weekend.”
Coach Pete Carroll, in his first year as Patriots head coach in 1997, shakes hands with Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson after beating Miami at home in November 1997. New England would go on to play the Dolphins in Miami in the final game of the season to claim the division title, a similar situation the Seahawks find themselves in this week when they face the Rams at Qwest Field. [Photo courtesy of AP Images]