JERSEY CITY, N.J. — They sat on the tarmac just hoping for the chance at a meeting.
Pete Carroll and John Schneider waited in the private plane in Denver, wondering if Peyton Manning would accept a request to meet with the brain trust of the Seattle Seahawks to see if that could be a potential landing spot for the free agent quarterback.
This was March of 2012, before Manning decided Denver would become his permanent address and before Russell Wilson took up residency in Seattle.
And as Carroll recalled on Wednesday, the entire process was “brief.”
“We tried to get involved with that to see if there was a next stage to the process and there wasn’t,” Carroll said.
The fact the paths of Manning and the Seahawks intersect in Sunday’s Super Bowl is no coincidence. The decision to bring Manning to Denver was the catalyst for the Broncos becoming an offensive marvel that set records on its way to an AFC championship. And his decision not to seriously consider Seattle as a landing point also was hugely important in the Seahawks finding the pieces both in free agency and the draft to build a team that was the class of the NFC.
Manning recalled Wednesday how he wanted privacy in the process of figuring out his next team after being released by Indianapolis.
“I remember it wasn’t very private. It was quite a public spectacle,” Manning said. “I could have done without that.”
Manning eventually signed with Denver in late March. The process leading to his decision included a number of other franchises, including an early morning phone call that awoke Carroll. Manning had heard Seattle was interested and thus the process started.
Seattle was in the market for quarterbacks at that point. They had gone through the trio of Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst and Tarvaris Jackson without satisfaction during Carroll’s first two seasons and now stood the chance to possibly make a pitch to Manning.