It's official: Carroll says Super Bowl loss was the Seahawks' 'biggest challenge' this season

SEATTLE – Everybody suspected it. Now that the regular season’s over, Pete Carroll’s ready to admit it.

That excruciating Super Bowl loss last season was a real problem for the Seattle Seahawks last season. In fact, Carroll said Monday at his weekly press conference, it was their "biggest challenge" this year.

“We had to get through (what happened) last year,” Carroll said. "We had to get through the finish of the season. There was no question it had a big impact, and we did – we made it. We knew that it was going to be different for everybody, and everybody was going to have to deal with it on their own.”

You'll remember, of course, that the Seahawks drove all the way to the 1-yard line in the waning seconds before Russell Wilson through an interception to Malcolm Butler on a pass intended for Ricardo Lockette and the game ended with the Patriots claiming the title, 28-24.

Carroll and his coaching staff were heavily criticized for not choosing to hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch instead.

Carroll said that in a way, the team had to deal with a similar problem the year before – even though the Super Bowl result went the other way.

“It just took us some time,” he said. “And I think we had some hangover from it. Look at the history of the teams coming out of the Super Bowl - how are they doing next year? It’s the most challenging event to endure.

“Because it was hard on players, It was hard on (the coaches) because we’re connected with them.”