Seahawks already working on Bowl defense

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NEW YORK — Less than 12 hours after winning the Super Bowl, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll already was talking about getting started on next season.

“The first meeting that we’ll have will be tomorrow. ... Our guys would be surprised if we didn’t,” Carroll said Monday morning. “We really have an eye on what’s coming, and we don’t dwell on what just happened. We’ll take this in stride.”

Another record Super Bowl

NEW YORK (AP) — For the fourth time in five years, the Super Bowl has set a record for the most-watched television event in U.S. history, drawing 111.5 million viewers even though the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos wasn’t really competitive.

The ratings record is further evidence of how live events are becoming dependable and valuable properties for broadcast television at a time the audience is fragmenting and ratings for regular entertainment shows continue to fall.

“Big-event television is a great way for people to have a communal event, to talk about it socially and to talk about it as a group,” said Bill Wanger, executive vice president for programming and research at Fox Sports. “You see that in the Super Bowl numbers of the past four or five years. They’ve just gone up to a different level.”

The game also set standards for the most-streamed sports event online and, with 24.9 million tweets, the biggest U.S. live TV event on Twitter.

The Seattle victory eclipsed the 111.3 million viewers who watched the 2012 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, according to the Nielsen company. Until last year’s game dipped slightly to 108.7 million, the Super Bowl had set ratings records for the previous three years in a row.

“We were a little surprised, absolutely,” Wanger said. The blowout had some at Fox worried that enough people would tune out in the fourth quarter to ruin any chance at a ratings record. So when Percy Harvin ran the opening kickoff of the second half back for a touchdown to give the Seahawks a 29-0 lead, “let’s just say we weren’t popping Champagne bottles,” he said.

But initial interest in the game — perhaps fueled by its New York-area setting — was high enough to overcome the lopsided score. Ratings for the opening kickoff were 12 percent higher than they were for last year’s game, Fox said. For the New York market, the Super Bowl rating was higher than it was two years ago when the hometown Giants were winning in dramatic fashion.

Fox said an average of 528,000 people watched the live Internet stream of the game, peaking at the end of the third quarter. The number of Super Bowl-related tweets was up from 24.1 million last year.

The moment of peak activity on Twitter came after Harvin’s TD jaunt. Harvin’s run produced a 381,605 tweet per minute average, the company said. The next biggest peaks of activity came when Jermaine Kearse caught a touchdown pass and Malcolm Smith returned an interception for a touchdown.

There was a big boost in people going to Twitter during particularly memorable parts of the game, said Brian Poliakoff, Twitter spokesman.

It was a big night — and day after — for halftime star Bruno Mars, too. Nielsen said an estimated 115.3 million people watched Mars and his guests, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That makes it the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show ever, eclipsing Madonna’s performance two years ago.

Mars’ album, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” moved into No. 1 on the iTunes album chart on Monday, while his debut “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” is at No. 3. Mars has 11 songs in the top 100 of the iTunes singles chart.

The three biggest moments on Twitter were also the three most talked-about events on Facebook, that social media company said. Fifty million people accounted for more than 185 million game-related interactions on Facebook.

PBS turned to social media last week to promote its airing of “Downton Abbey” against the Super Bowl. The public broadcasting service asked on social media sites whether people wanted to watch drama or the game, and an estimated 6.8 million people watched “Downton Abbey” on Sunday. While that’s down from the season average of 8.6 million, it was 200,000 more people than the British drama had going against the Super Bowl last year.

Fox said that 25.8 million people stuck around after the game to watch the comedy “New Girl” with Prince as guest. The Golden Globe-winning comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” which followed “New Girl,” had 14.8 million viewers.

He appeared at a news conference at a Manhattan hotel with linebacker Malcolm Smith, the MVP of Seattle’s 43-8 victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

Carroll oversees a team with the fourth-youngest roster for a Super Bowl champion, with an average age of 26 years, 175 days, according to STATS. The youngest champs ever were the Pittsburgh Steelers who won the 1975 Super Bowl, and they collected a second consecutive title the next year.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson just wrapped up his second season in the league, as did Jermaine Kearse, the receiver who caught one of the QB’s two touchdown passes Sunday night. Doug Baldwin, who caught the other, is only three years into his pro career, as are star cornerback Richard Sherman and Smith, who at 24 is the fourth-youngest player to be the Super Bowl MVP.

“We’ve seen the effort that it takes to get to this point, and, obviously, we’ll try to replicate that and do it again,” Smith said. “We’re looking forward to the next challenges and guys having a target on their back and people trying to come after us.”

Smith became the third linebacker to earn Super Bowl MVP honors, thanks to a 69-yard touchdown return off an interception of regular-season MVP Manning in the first half and a fumble recovery in the second half.

He said that during the game, some of his teammates were telling him, “You might be the MVP.”

“And I was like, ‘No way. No way. Not me.’”

Carroll said general manager John Schneider has positioned the Seahawks to be able to avoid the problems that can make it hard to repeat as NFL champions. Since Denver repeated in the 1999 game, only one team has won two Super Bowls in a row, the New England Patriots in 2004-05.

There’s the need to replace players who leave via free agency. The need to pay other players with new, better-paying contracts.

“John Schneider has done an extraordinary job of structuring this roster contractually, and with the vision of looking ahead, so that we can keep our guys together,” Carroll said. “One of the things that happens every so often is teams have a big fallout after they win the Super Bowl. We’re not in that situation.”

Carroll was reminded during Sunday’s game of some of his blowout victories in college football bowl games when he was a championship-winning coach at Southern California.

“It felt like it. It looked like it. The score was like it,” he said Monday.

“I really can’t tell you exactly what it is, but something’s going on, because I sat back there at the end of the first quarter and said, ‘Shoot, here it goes,’” he said. “Bang, bang, bang, bang, and it’s 22-0 at halftime.”

Carroll described the lopsided nature of the game as “kind of like an avalanche,” an interesting choice of words given the hubbub last week — and, really, for months before that — over whether the first outdoor Super Bowl at a cold-weather site would be affected by snow.

Instead, the weather wasn’t a factor Sunday at the stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., where the temperature was 49 degrees at kickoff and only some light rain fell.

On Monday morning, meanwhile, driving snow hit the area and forecasts called for up to 8 inches.

“I don’t know how (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) pulled it off, but he pulled off the weather in perfect fashion,” Carroll joked. “The NFL is powerful.”

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