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Carroll, Belichick differ in personality but share mutual respect

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New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll sat less than two feet away from each other Friday fielding questions from the media.

Between them sat the ultimate prize they will be fighting for Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX – the Lombardi Trophy.

They’ll be on opposite sidelines in Glendale but both share a mutual respect for one another.

Carroll has been to two straight Super Bowls and won the BCS National Championship Game with Southern California in 2005.

“I don’t think anybody plays situational football better than the Seattle Seahawks do,” Belichick said. “They do an incredible job.”

Carroll returned the compliment to Belichick, who has won three Super Bowls and seven AFC Championships with the Patriots.

“What I’m always impressed by is the success his teams can sustain over a long period of time,” Carroll said. “To maintain that level of championship consistency, that’s Bill.”

Their personalities and coaching styles, however, are markedly different.

Carroll is a light-hearted joker, consistently making the media laugh. But he takes himself seriously when necessary.

Asked about Richard Sherman’s wife having a baby soon, Carroll’s quipped, “I can’t wait to see little Petey.”

When a reporter prefaced a dual question to both coaches, Carroll said, “Bill can take the one I don’t want to answer.“

The biggest laugh came when Belichick answered a question about the Patriots trading a first round pick to the New York Jets for the rights to hire him. ”They gave up a first rounder for you?” CarrolI asked Belichick. “I was just a free agent.”

Belichick never turns off his stern, business-like demeanor. His arms are consistently crossed and he rarely smiles.

“They (Seattle) play extremely hard down after down, week after week, year after year,” Belichick said. “They compete relentlessly as well as any team or organization I’ve ever observed. They’re just never going to let up in any phase of the game. That’s a tribute to Pete and his staff and the players they’ve brought in there.”

Both coaches have been in the spotlight before but Belichick seems more at home on a football field. Carroll embraces the big stage. He consistently leaned forward Friday to listen to questions. Belichick never seemed comfortable, consistently shifting in his seat.

On the sidelines, Carroll fist pumps and jumps around, Belichick nods in positive assurance and maybe gives a high five.

Both styles of coaching have proven to be successful. Now it’s one of their turns to bring the Lombardi Trophy home.