Carroll’s historic defense trumps Grant’s Purple People Eaters

Carroll and GrantIt’s fitting that Pete Carroll gets to take Seattle’s No. 1 scoring defense back to Bud Grant’s house next week.

As we all know by now, Grant was Carroll’s most significant mentor — the architect of the Purple People Eaters defense that was the league’s stingiest unit from 1969 to 1971.

Carroll’s crew just capped off a four-year run as the No. 1 scoring defense — a feat that had not been accomplished since the dominant 1950s Cleveland Browns, who did it five straight years in a 12-team league. Clearly, this is a much more significant accomplishment — coming in a 32-team league during an era in which the rules heavily favor offense.

Carroll was fired up about holding the league’s No. 1 offense to six points and finishing two points better than Cincinnati.

“I don’t know if there is a record that I could be more proud of than to see our guys go for four straight years and lead the league in scoring defense,” he said. “I think that is a remarkable accomplishment by a bunch of guys dedicated to the program and what we are doing. It’s hard to do things over a long period of time that well, and that is something about outlasting the opportunity and making sure that you get it done.

“Steven Terrell makes a knockdown at the goal line and to ice it (DeShawn) Shead makes an interception right there,” Carroll said, reliving Arizona’s last drive, which threatened to ruin the streak. “We knew what was going on on the sidelines. The guys were having a ball, trying to get it done, and the offense was trying to keep the football to let that happen. That’s a really cool accomplishment, so we take great pride in that one.”

Carroll got to see Grant, his 88-year-old mentor, when the Seahawks destroyed the Vikings 38-7 in Week 13. And now he will go back to Minnesota having done something Grant’s stellar Vikings defenses never did.

“Of all of the stats, that is the one that takes the most and demonstrates the most,” Carroll said. “We are really proud of that.”

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