Phoenix — When the Seahawks and Patriots play Sunday, the teams will in many ways be looking in the mirror.
■ Both participants in Super Bowl XLIX are led by a legendary coach.
■ Both have a quarterback who's experienced nothing but success.
■ Both have a premier cornerback and all-around strong secondary.
■ Both have an offensive star whose personality often draws more attention away from the field.
What sets the teams apart, though, is what likely will determine the outcome of the game as well as the direction the league could be heading.
In New England, coach Bill Belichick runs a tight ship and emphasizes each player doing his job for the betterment of the team. In Seattle, Pete Carroll's free-spirited, happy-go-lucky style has produced a team that constantly expresses its emotions and is confident to a point of irritation for opponents.
And when the game is over, the discussion likely will be about one of two things — the Patriots dynasty that's lasted more than a decade or the Seahawks dynasty that is just beginning.
Seattle has a chance to become the eighth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls — the Steelers did it twice. And despite being the reigning champions, the Seahawks enter the game as underdogs.
Still, no matter how good they are, the Patriots are the team with the longstanding success. New England will play in its sixth Super Bowl since 2002, having won three (2002, '04 and '05). The team also has won the AFC East 12 of the last 14 years.
"They've maintained the consistency of championship-level play, and that's Bill," Carroll said of Belichick, the man who replaced him after serving as New England's coach from 1997-99. "That's Bill's direction and the leadership, and I think that that's something that anybody in our world would like to be able to share and understand."
Carroll, though, has experienced plenty of success since being fired by the Patriots, winning two national titles at USC before heading to Seattle in 2010. And since Carroll became coach, the Seahawks have won at least one playoff game in four of five seasons.
"It's very obvious to me now why they were the world champions last year and why they are here again this year," Belichick said. "They have an outstanding organization. They are very well coached. They have a lot of great players. They're very disciplined. They're tough. They play very consistently. They are a great fourth quarter football team. To say in short, they do everything well most all of the time. We're going to have to absolutely play our very best game this season to be able to compete with them."
While both teams are a reflection of their coach, the quarterbacks are impressive leaders.
New England's Tom Brady will play in his record sixth Super Bowl on Sunday and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, win or lose. With a victory, Brady would become the third quarterback with four championships, joining Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, but Montana downplayed the importance of the game to Brady's legacy.
"Can he get any better?" Montana said. "I mean, the guy's already playing at the top of the level of anybody else. I think a win is great for him, but if he loses, I don't think it matters to his legacy at all."
For Seattle, Russell Wilson is on track for a Hall of Fame career as his first few years have in many ways resembled Brady's. With the help of impressive defenses, both players won their first Super Bowl in their second NFL season and knocked off a historic offense to do so, the Patriots beating Kurt Warner's Rams in 2002 and the Seahawks beating Peyton Manning's Broncos last year.
Of course, the quarterbacks couldn't look much different physically — Brady, the 6-foot-4 traditional pocket passer, and Wilson, the 5-foot-11 running threat.
"He's a phenomenal player, a phenomenal leader for his team," Brady said of Wilson. "You try to play to the strengths of your players. Russell has a lot of strengths, you can see it on the field."
The similarities between the teams don't end there, though.
In Seattle, cornerback Richard Sherman has established himself as the top cornerback in the league, a crown long held by New England's Darrelle Revis. The two play different styles as Sherman is four inches taller, but both can cover as well as anyone else in the NFL and are the star of deep and well-rounded secondaries.
Then, there are the two offensive players who could have the biggest impact in the game — Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Gronkowski is affable, Lynch is stubborn, and both players are among the hardest to tackle.
Sunday's Super Bowl will feature the two most complete teams in the league, the two that earned the No. 1 seed and needed one hard-fought win to reach this point.
And when the game ends, the victor will cement its place in football lore.
Piling 'em up
Quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls (Seattle's Russell Wilson is going for his second Sunday):
Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh: Four Super Bowl appearances / four wins.
Joe Montana, San Francisco: Four / four.
Roger Staubach, Dallas: Four / two.
Tom Brady, New England: Five / three.
Troy Aikman, Dallas: Three / three.
John Elway, Denver: Five / two.
Bob Griese, Miami: Three / two.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Three / two.
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants: Two / two.
Jim Plunkett, Oakland/L.A. Raiders: Two / two.
Bart Starr, Green Bay: Two / two.