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The Super Bowl's Perfect Odd Couple
By SP_COP on January 28, 2015 | From
The Super Bowl's Perfect Odd Couple The ranch-style house where Pete Carroll grew up sits on a suburban cul-de-sac near San Francisco in Marin County, one of the wealthiest counties in the country. It was a gathering place for friends, with a pool table inside and football games out front. The door was always open.

“It literally was, because they had a screen door,” said Henry Diaz, one of Carroll’s boyhood friends. “You could walk in and say hello to his parents, even if he wasn’t there, and Jim and Rita would tell you to come in.”

Across San Francisco Bay, the house where Marshawn Lynch grew up sits next to a freeway in Oakland, one of the most crime-ridden cities in the country. It was a hiding place from deadly shootings, drug deals and prostitutes out front. The gate was always locked.

Carroll, the 63-year-old coach of the Seattle Seahawks, is the gregarious face of the franchise, an energetic and talkative ambassador who speaks in paragraphs and exclamation points.

Lynch, the team’s 28-year-old star running back, represents the team’s attitude. He lets his legs and a wake of empty-handed opponents do the talking while he cultivates a public persona of brooding detachment and distrust.

At Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day, Lynch sat at a podium for five of the session’s 60 minutes, answered more than 20 questions with the same sentence — “I’m here so I won’t get fined” — and left. Carroll spent the hour cheerfully answering queries of all kinds, including many about Lynch.

“I don’t think he’s being misunderstood,” Carroll said. “I think people are starting to learn about who he is and what he’s all about. He’s a treasure.”

Carroll and Lynch make a strange, perfect pairing, forming one of the great odd-couple partnerships in sports. As the Seahawks sit on the verge of a second consecutive Super Bowl title, each is indebted to the other for his own N.F.L. career makeover and for Seattle’s current run of success.

Before arriving in Seattle in 2010, Carroll had middling success as an N.F.L. coach with the Jets and the Patriots and a stellar, if scandal-tinged, run in college football at Southern California. He inherited an aging Seahawks team that had won nine games the previous two seasons under Mike Holmgren and Jim Mora. Carroll wanted to build an offense around a powerful running back....
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