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PHOENIX (Reuters) - New England head coach Bill Belichick is not known for heaping compliments on his own team, but when it comes to Sunday's Super Bowl opponents the Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots coach has not been shy in expressing his admiration.
A joint news conference with his opposite number Pete Carroll by its nature encouraged polite words, but Belichick was unusually fullsome in his praise.
"They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’ve ever observed," said Belichick.
"The thing that impresses me the most and the thing that I guess I would like to do a better job of is just the way that his teams play for 60 minutes. They play from the opening kickoff to the final whistle or the final gun.
"They play extremely hard down after down after down, week after week, year after year," he said.
The Seahawks illustrated that point perfectly in their remarkable comeback win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game, which they won in overtime after trailing 16-0 at the half.
"They’re just never going to let up in any phase of the game: offense, defense, special teams, the receivers, the defensive backs, the linemen, the quarterback," Belichick said.
"Everybody just competes at such a high level for every single second that they’re out there, and I think that’s a great credit and attribute to Pete and his staff. The players they brought in there, they’re just relentless in the way that they play.
Belichick said the Seahawks have become the standard to follow for other teams in that area.
"I think that any coach wants his team to play that way and I think that Seattle and Pete really are the model for that. They do a better job than anybody. And I’m not saying that there aren’t other teams that are in that category or very close to them, but I put them at the top."
Editing by Gene Cherry