Monday, January 11, 2010

Pete Carroll Might Actually Be Making the Right Move

Unless something drastically changes, Pete Carroll is indeed going to be the next head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Over the next few days, the national media and football fans will tell you how terrible of an idea this is, but I’m here to suggest the opposite. I think that this might be the perfect situation for both sides1.

For the Seahawks, it is simple; they need a guy to help build a team and Carroll is the biggest name on the west coast. Now before you tell me how college coaches NEVER do well in professional sports and how Carroll has already been in the NFL and failed, try doing some research. Carroll was an NFL coach for most of his career before becoming USC’s championship winning coach.

Carroll was a defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings for six seasons, and then defensive coordinator for the Vikings for another four. After that, he spent four years as head coach for the Jets and Patriots. Now, most people seem to think he was a terrible coach and went to college coaching with his tail between his legs. This could not be further from the truth. Carroll actually finished 33-31 in his four seasons and had two playoff appearances. In fact, the Patriots owner Robert Kraft has often said that firing Carroll was one of the hardest decisions he ever made.

These days, good coaches are few and far between. If Carroll was a good pro coach then (and anyone who has a winning record after four seasons is)2, then he has a good shot of helping Seattle. The odds get even larger if they give Carroll the ability to make personnel decisions, which is very likely to be the case.

Of the two sides though, Carroll will be criticized for leaving a perfect gig. The real question is whether USC is actually a perfect situation or not. In my opinion, it is not as cushy of a job as some say it is.

Things have changed dramatically in the last seven years. Back in USC’s reign over college football in the early 2000’s, the Pac-10 was a good conference, and more importantly, the gap between the elite teams and the others was much larger than it is today. Back then, the two national championship contenders were often undefeated because that gap was so large. Now, the gap has narrowed and with the exception of this year, title contenders are losing at least a game a year, making strength of schedule important…something the Trojans no longer have in the Pac- 10.

Despite all of this, Carroll described the USC job as his home and seemed content there. That means that something probably happened since then to make him think things might change. My guess is this “thing” goes by the name of Reggie Bush. Now we all know that the NCAA is investigating the Trojans for booster activity with Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo3, but we really have no idea what the situation is. USC came down hard recently on the basketball program, but anyone with a brain knows that is just a way to keep the pressure off the football team. This might be the first sign of things to come for USC.

I think that Carroll saw the writing on the wall and decided to get out before he was bound by the scandal forever. Carroll has probably always wanted to prove that he would be good in the NFL if given another chance, and with this all going on, he saw the Seahawks interest in him as perfect timing.

1. It is a good thing that my friends don’t read this or my friend Lauren would hate me for this. You see she lives. Eats, and breathes USC football, so this is absolutely killing her. Sorry Lauren I have journalistic integrity. Ok, not really, but for this article I do.

2. Dan Snyder still hasn’t found a coach who can do this.

3. OJ Mayo’s full first name is Ovinton J’Anthony, which is one of my favorite first names of all time. Also on the list is D’brickashaw Ferguson, Detron Lewis, Chone Figgins, and about 1000 others I can’t think of at this moment.

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