The impending matchup between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, who are preparing for Super Bowl XLIX this Sunday, has a new rivalry: the Battle of the Croatian Coaches. Thanks to an enterprising reporter, it was revealed that Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll are both of Croatian descent, making Sunday’s game the first-ever Super Bowl between two coaches of Croatian ancestry.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick answers if he knew this Super Bowl marks the first time two Croatian coaches will face off in the big game. He was asked at the recent press conference whether he was aware he and Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll shared ancestral roots in the European country of Croatia.
“I’m very proud of my dad’s family tradition and history with Croatia. I’ve had the opportunity to visit that beautiful country a couple of times, and I’m proud of that heritage.
“No, I didn’t realize that we were breaking new ground here. So it looks like we’ll have a Croatian champion one way or the other, right?”
Belichick’s paternal grandparents emigrated from Croatia to the US in 1897, while Carroll has Croatian ancestry on his maternal side. Belichick noted that University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban also has Croatian ancestry.
“The last big Croatian matchup that I’ve had was with Coach Saban when he was with the Dolphins and that was within the division at that time – the battle of Croatia,” said Belichick.
In response to this new Super Bowl “Croatian factor”, the Croatian National Tourist Office, in a timely and impressive show of PR savvy, jumped into the fray, offering the winning coach a “trip back home” ; an all-expense paid trip to Croatia in 2015. While the itinerary is TBD depending on Belichick’s or Carroll’s preferences, the office announced that “the winning coach will get the chance to explore the land of his ancestors as he and his family experience the impressive history, stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, medieval architecture and delectable cuisine of Croatia.”
Here’s hoping Belichick or Carroll takes Croatia up on its generous offer: In a press release announcing the prize, the victor of Sunday’s hotly anticipated game is invited to contact the tourist office in New York directly to book his trip.