Pete Carroll is NFL Coach of the Decade
Friday, June 24, 2016
Carroll has turned the Seattle Seahawks into one of the most talented playoff-caliber teams in the league. This is no small feat considering that he walked into a dysfunctional situation when he became head coach in 2010. I remember seeing the announcement as if it was yesterday. It was breaking news on major sports networks. Carroll spent nine successful seasons coaching the USC Trojans into a perennial powerhouse, winning seven pac-12 titles and two national championships. Hiring a college coach, although he is successful, was a risky move at the time. It’s not as if Carroll didn’t have any NFL experience. It’s just that his resume included a couple of failed stints as head coach of the New York Jets and defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots. It was an opportunity that Carroll could not pass up and proved to be the right move for the organization.
During the first year on the job, Carroll and general manager John Schneider made 284 player transactions, which was the most in the NFL. The roster was a revolving door where NFL veterans could no longer rest on their laurels. Everyone had to compete for a spot on the roster. The job wasn’t handed to anyone. Carroll’s mantra “Always Compete” was in full effect. His ability to coach up players, along with the 2013 and 2014 seasons are what make Carroll a top candidate for this award.
Nobody has done a better job than Carroll at developing players who were either undrafted or drafted in later rounds to become some of the best at their positions. Nearly half the roster in 2015 comprised undrafted players at 47.1 percent, which was the highest number in the league, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. Carroll and his coaching staff have experts redoing their draft grades after the seasons that some of their star players have had.
It was the 2012 divisional round. Rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, was primed for one of the greatest fourth quarter comebacks in playoff history. Instead, the defense gave up two long passes setting up the game winning field goal with eight seconds left in the game. The loss proved to be a pivotal moment for the Seahawks. With a few key acquisitions in Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, in 2013, the Seahawks were able to win their first Super Bowl. In 2013 the Seahawks never lost a home game. They showed up big in prime time games. The defense that could not hold the lead against the Falcons had their best season as a unit, finishing as the No.1 ranked defense in the NFL. To top it all off, the defense dominated the highest scoring offense in NFL history in Super Bowl XLVIII.
In 2014, the Seahawks did what no other team had done since the 2004 New England Patriots and that is play in back-to-back Super Bowls. What is even more impressive is how they did it. The Seahawks overcame a slew of injuries and distractions that resulted in a midseason trade of Percy Harvin. What looked like a lost season finished with a pretty impressive turnaround. Somehow the team dug deep and went on late-season tear to regain the top seed in the NFC.
Carroll has established a winning culture. This team is expected to make the playoffs. He’s helped build a deep roster that’s embedded in competition. Hopefully Carroll really does coach the Seahawks for years to come. He may never win NFL Coach of the Year, but he sure gets my vote as NFL Coach of the Decade.
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