It’s another September and a new football season begins. The players run out of the locker room tapping the sign above their heads for good luck.
Above all the screaming and cheering, there’s a scream louder than all the players combined. The screams come from an older man in the front of the raucous.
Pete Carroll, who always screams with his enthusiastic persona, was in front of that raucous but wait the uniforms aren’t the traditional cardinal and gold. The fans are dressed differently too. Hell, this isn’t even Los Angeles.
Carroll has just run onto Seattle’s Qwest Field with his new team, the Settle Seahawks.
Carroll is back in the NFL after an 11-year hiatus, but returns to the pros as the head coach of a team in desperate need of a major overhaul.
So why is returning to the NFL so important for the former USC head coach?
The answer is quite simple: there are always those who believe that college coaches don’t have the swagger necessary to succeed at the professional level – I am for sure one of them.
I really don’t believe college coaches can succeed in the NFL and there are three reasons why.
1. The NFL game is too different from the college game. The pro game is a lot faster, more physically demanding and harder to control. In college, there is usually the head coach who calls mostly everything while everybody else just hovers around. When was the last time any one saw an offensive coordinator making comments to the media? Rarely does that happen because the head coach is the one who makes all the decisions. In contrast, the NFL has specific people who run different parts of the game and they have those guys talking a lot more.
2. Another reason and a very important reason I may add, is the fact that enthusiastic coaching doesn’t work in the pros. When was the last time somebody saw a coach run up and down the sideline cheering and jumping like a kid at Disneyland? It never happens and Carroll is exactly that person. College coaches do this all the time, and it works because you have 18 to 20-year-old athletes playing for you.
In the pros, you get all sorts of players: you get egomaniacs and underachievers who could care less about the sport and more about the next paycheck. Take, for instance, San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson, he who has been holding out for weeks demanding a new contract. His coach, Norv Turner, who is known as a “players coach,” can’t control professional athletes with diva attitudes. Jackson obviously doesn’t care about the game as long as he gets his millions. All the enthusiasm in the world is not going to help get Jackson back, unless the enthusiasm comes wrapped with dollar signs.
3. The last but not least, is the control of the team from the big picture. Carroll had immense control over USC while he was there. He ran recruiting, had major influences with the university, and had a final say in a lot of decisions. There were even reports that the reason he didn’t take the Arizona Cardinals job a couple years back was because he wasn’t going to have complete control.
This won’t fly in the NFL, especially when you have frugal and sometimes cynical owners and executives breathing down your neck.
Take for instances the Lane Kiffin-Al Davis fiasco. Davis hired Kiffin to run his precious Raiders and it ended in a nasty divorce that crippled the franchise even further. Bottom-line is: owners are not going to cede football operations to some college coach with little pro experience.
All in all, there’s lot of reasons college coaches do not succeed. I didn’t even get to Carroll’s dismal NFL coaching record with the Jets and Patriots.
Carroll won his first game with the Seahawks against San Francisco, who is chosen by most NFL experts to win the NFC West. This is just one game, so let’s not jump the gun here.
There is history behind this reasoning, but who knows, maybe I’m proven wrong.