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When Matt Lauer sat down for an interview with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll in February, it was only three days after one of the most crushing losses in Super Bowl history on a controversial goal-line call that gave the New England Patriots the win.
Lauer was with his son in the stands at the Patriots' 28-24 win in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, where they watched as New England defensive back Malcolm Butler intercepted a pass by Seattle's Russell Wilson from the one-yard line with 26 seconds remaining.
Fans and pundits criticized Carroll's decision to pass instead of handing it to star running back Marshawn Lynch, who led the NFL with 17 touchdowns during the regular season.
Some called it the worst call in NFL history.
Speaking to TODAY.com for our "Behind the Interview" series, Lauer recalled Carroll's relentless optimism in the raw aftermath of the loss.
"So often on our show and so often as interviewers, we interview people who are going through very difficult times,'' Lauer said. "Naturally we want them to tell their story of living through that moment, but we want to know if they will be resilient. That's what I was trying to get at with Pete Carroll. I wanted him to take me back to the depths, but then I wanted him try to explain how he planned the resurrection."
Lauer was also surprised Carroll agreed to the interview only days after a brutal defeat.
"I said (to the Seahawks), 'Look at some point, Pete is going to need to talk about this. I know it's incredibly, stingingly raw,''' Lauer said. "I was shocked to hear him say, 'Let's do it.'''
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