Amid scrutiny and speculation of improper conduct as head coach of USC’s football program, Pete Carroll decided to give the National Football League another try.
Last January marked the time Carroll returned to the NFL, signing a five-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks as head coach and vice president of operations. Several questions hovered around enthusiastic coach.
Was Carroll ready to leave the collegiate level behind and work with a roster of 53 grown men with various personalities? Could Carroll bring his collegiate winning reputation to the Seahawks and remake a team that had a horrible 5-11 record the previous season under head coach Jim Mora? Would Carroll fair better this time around, than his early career trips in the national spotlight?
Now back in the NFL, the question turned to how Carroll and his team would perform in a weak division, going up against the Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers. Carroll did well in my opinion, topping the previous year’s mark, going 7-9, capturing the NFC West title in his first season, something that takes years for some teams to do.
Carroll served various positions with numerous teams in the NFL such as defensive coordinator (New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers), cornerbacks coach (Seattle Seahawks) and defensive backs coach (Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings) before becoming a head coach for the New York Jets, New England Patriots before heading to the collegiate ranks.
Carroll was not the winning coach we know from USC as he led the Jets to a sublime 6-10 record to begin his career as a head coach and without question quickly booted following the season.
Three years later, he would receive another chance with the Patriots where he led them to an AFC East title his first year as coach. The next year he did not even make the playoffs and was fired once again.
Granted, the team did this with a sub .500 winning percentage, but Carroll and the Seahawks showed guts in the wildcard playoff game pulling a very improbable upset against the reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, 41-36.
Yet the hype surrounding the team quickly ended when quarterback Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears routed the Seahawks, 35-24, in the divisional round, eliminating them from playoffs.
Still with no doubt Carroll shut down critics and showed he deserved this shot. These are the reasons why.
1. Perseverance – With a better record than last season’s, Carroll proved that he could control both the likes of young and grown men with his courageous personality.
2. Superiority – By capturing the NFC West title, Carroll showed he could bring a winning presence to the Seahawks organization. Regardless of how good or bad the division was, Carroll entered the Seahawks’ locker room with a winning attitude and spread his competitive persona throughout his camp.
3. Progress – Most importantly by leading his team to the first round of the playoffs, Carroll has gotten off to a better start than before and has shown that he belongs in the NFL.
With three decades of coaching experience, multiple collegiate championships and numerous personal awards sparkling his mantelpiece, there is no question the man has what it takes to lead a franchise in the right direction.