Mike Ferreri: Seahawks victory came down to a single moment

Mike Ferreri: Seahawks victory came down to a single moment
Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman tips a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers' Michael Crabtree (15) in the final seconds of the second half of the NFL football NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle.
SEATTLE - Clinging to a 6-point lead in the waning seconds of the NFC Championship game the Seahawks were flirting with disaster. The 49ers had the ball as time was ticking away. The Seahawks hopes and dreams for this season were right in Jim Harbaugh's cross hairs and he was ready to fire.

Deep in Seahawks territory with 28 seconds to play, Colin Kaepernick launched a pass for the end zone. As it lingered in the air above CenturyLink Field a season was in the balance and the 12th man was holding their collective breath at the stadium … this had the potential to be very bad.

The pass descended toward 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree but Richard Sherman refused to let the 49ers spoil the party. With one unforgettable leap, he batted down the pass into the waiting hands of teammate Malcolm Smith. Interception! Game over. Seahawks win the NFC Championship 23-17.

It was at that moment the hopes and dreams of a coach were realized.

"Not until Sherm tips the ball to Malcolm did it even hit me. I'm talking about the whole preparation, the weeks coming in and all that, that we have a chance to be in the Super Bowl," said Pete Carroll. "It never really hit me until that moment. All I can tell you is, it's quite a magical moment. You can't quite grasp the reality of it. Is this really happening? Did we really do this? And it's very, very special."

This will be the second Super Bowl in Seahawks franchise history but the first for so many of the Seahawks players.

"I can't explain in words this feeling that I've got right now," said receiver Doug Baldwin. "I've been saying this since the game ended, that since I was 6 or 7 years old, playing Salvation Army in Pensacola, Fla., I've dreamt about this opportunity to play in the Super Bowl."

Kam Chancellor echoed Baldwin's excitement and disbelief. "It's a dream come true right now. Just seeing other guys when I was a kid, seeing other guys going to the Super Bowl and how happy they were, just being in that position now, it's grace."

Earl Thomas is the gritty quarterback of the Seahawks defense, and he was savoring every second of his biggest win as a pro.

"It feels surreal right now, it feels like a dream. You dream about these moments. I'm just excited to be a part of it. We're battle-tested as a defense, just to get a win like this. Sherm (Richard Sherman) is a great player - big players always step up in big situations. All in all, I'm so excited to be going to New York."

These moments wouldn't have happened, the realization of childhood dreams wouldn't have come to fruition, if Richard Sherman hadn't tipped that pass. Instead of looking ahead to the Super Bowl it would have been a Blue Monday in the Northwest with a hangover that would have lasted until the start of training camp.

But it did happen - Sherman tipped it and the Seahawks are going to the Super Bowl to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

Zach Miller wasn't wasting any time looking forward to the next big moment for the Seahawks.

"Obvioulsy we're not going to be satisfied with just winning the NFC Championship. We want to win the Super Bowl. Our mindset has always been to focus on the game at hand, and it's going to be these next coming weeks as well."

Now it's officially on to the Big One in New York-New Jersey, where more moments await.