Former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril said that the team began to doubt head coach Pete Carroll after losing Super Bowl XLIX to the New England Patriots.
From the two-yard line with 25 seconds left and the Seahawks down four points, Carroll famously opted for a slant throw from quarterback Russell Wilson, which was then picked off by New England's Malcolm Butler. Carroll and his staff faced heavy backlash from fans and analysts for not handing the ball off to running back Marshawn Lynch, who many people believed could bulldoze his way to the game-winning touchdown.
According to Avril, who spoke on Dave Dameshek's podcast, Seahawks players also were upset with the play call and failed to buy into Carroll's system after the crucial error.
“Guys started kind of questioning him more instead of following his lead if we had won the Super Bowl,” Avril said.
Following the loss, Seattle began to decline and reports about a divided locker room began to emerge. The 'Hawks lost in the divisional round of the playoffs in 2015 and 2016 before missing the playoffs in 2017.
“If we win that Super Bowl I think we would have won another one,” Avril said. “I do think the team would have bought in more to what Coach Carroll was saying, instead of going the opposite way.”
Seattle has parted ways with several members of the 2014 team, most notably star cornerback Richard Sherman, who was released in March and subsequently signed with division rival San Francisco 49ers.