Brian Billick: ‘Pete Carroll Did It The Right Way With Richard Sherman And The Media’

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(Credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

(Credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Dozens of coaches have coached in the Super Bowl, some more than others.

Brian Billick only coached in one, but he certainly made it memorable. In January 2001, on the eve of Super Bowl XXXV, Billick lashed out at the media, called them “ambulance-chasers.”

Billick, now himself a member of the media, reflected on those words Tuesday on The John Feinstein Show.

“You have to go back and remember the time,” the former Baltimore Ravens and current NFL Network analyst said. “We had come off the Ray Lewis incident (Lewis had been charged with murder just months earlier) and had gone through the entire season (with an) us-against-the-world (mentality) and rallying around Ray. (That incident brought our team together). And not to become mercenary about it, but it did bring that team together in a way that was unique.

“And then we got down to the Super Bowl and found out very readily that (the media) were going to make it about Ray Lewis (and the murder charges), so I needed to do something to try tot take the focus away (from that). And standing in front of the media and calling them ambulance-chasers seemed (like a good way) to do it.”

Some people praised Billick for saying what he said; others criticized him. Billick didn’t mind either way.

“I think most people saw what I was doing,” he said.

It worked. Lewis and the Ravens destroyed the Giants, 34-7, to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

Not to equate murder charges with an over-the-top post-game interview, but there are parallels between Billick’s words and Richard Sherman’s.

“I think Pete (Carroll) did it the right way,” Billick said. “First, we’ve seen Richard Sherman backtrack a little bit. The best thing to do is call in a player and pull the Jerry Maguire (routine): Help me to help you. What is it you’re trying to accomplish? Let me help you get to where you want to go. What is it you thought you could accomplish with this?

“When you hold that mirror up and they realize, ‘Well, maybe this wasn’t the best way to do it,’ it does bring about an us-against-the-world (mindset) and that chip on your shoulder. Not that it was by design, but I’m sure Pete’s tapped into that a little bit.”

Speaking of Sherman, the most intriguing on-field chess match this Sunday is between Peyton Manning and the Seattle secondary. How will Manning fare against the biggest, most physical defense he’s seen this year? On the flipside, how will the Seahawks react to the biggest, most versatile receiving corps they’ve seen all year?

“As long as it doesn’t become a track meet, as long as Peyton Manning doesn’t go off, (Seattle has a shot),” Billick said. “(If it becomes a track meet), then Russell Wilson’s going to have to crank his game up in a way that they’re not really built for in Seattle. But if they can keep it close, then Seattle can keep it in their wheelhouse (and have a chance at the end).”

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