Pete Carroll’s quirky coaching methods pay huge dividends
Sunday’s 43-8 blowout victory by the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII proved to be the icing on the cake for Head Coach Pete Carroll and the grief he has taken throughout his long coaching career.
He was fired from two jobs in the National Football League—which is not totally unusual for successful football coaches—and told that his method of running his teams was fatally flawed, according to an article that appeared Monday morning on Foxsports.com.
Carroll has endured the pain of being dismissed as a coaching failure and told that he needed to conform, fit in and be like the rest of those in the coaching profession.
But Pete believes in what he does, “studied his failures, gleaned from his worst moments what needed tweaking and what absolutely had to stay because that was his truth,” according to the article.
“So he kept his smile, his laid-back attitude, his love of players and his unwillingness to lose” and took this redemption to become a successful head coach at USC and now at Seattle.
The Super Bowl ring that Carroll will be wearing in the future will force everyone who doubted his coaching ability and laid-back demeanor to recognize this redemptive turnaround, because the world champion Seattle Seahawks is a team crafted in Carroll’s image.
The core of the Seahawks team consists of misfits and guys who fell in the draft or were not even drafted at all. As the article points out “their roster is full of too(s)—too short, too mouthy, too young, too inexperienced.”
Carroll stayed with speedy wide receiver Percy Harvin, who was recovering from hip surgery most of the year and appeared briefly in only one regular-season game and one playoff game. He kept Harvin on the playoff roster only after the receiver pleaded with Carroll, “Don’t give up on me.”
Carroll’s intuition paid off as Harvin picked up 45 yards on two identical end-around plays, caught one pass for five yards and then returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown to put Seattle ahead 29-0.
That’s 137 yards the Seahawks wouldn’t have had if Carroll ignored Harvin’s pleas like most head coaches probably would have done.
The same is true for linebacker Malcolm Smith, who played for Carroll at USC, was drafted in the seventh round in 2011 and played special teams for the Seahawks. But he saw plenty of action this year at linebacker when Bruce Irvin was suspended the first four games and then when Bobby Wagner was sidelined.
He made the interception that put Seattle into the Super Bowl and was only the third linebacker in NFL history to earn Super Bowl MVP honors. He turned a Peyton
Manning interception into a 69 yard touchdown, recovered a fumble, and was part of the dominating defense that completely throttled Manning’s offense.
Again, Carroll’s gamble on this reserve player paid off as Smith joins Ray Lewis of Baltimore in 2001 and Chuck Howley of the Dallas Cowboys in 1971 as the only linebackers to be chosen the top player in a Super Bowl.
While most head coaches would have seen a cantankerous bust in running back Marshawn Lynch, Carroll saw a unique talent. He let Lynch and cornerback Richard Sherman be themselves.
Most coaches would insist Sherman dial it back or just shut up and act like a professional football player. But Carroll allowed Sherman to do his trash-talking on the field and do the things that fire him up and make him so good.
This shouldn’t be confused with Carroll being soft and getting walked all over, which generally is the by-product of being a player’s coach, according to the article.
“He has had plenty of Come-to-Jesus sessions with his players after performance enhancing drug busts that sidelined some good players four to six games and with
Sherman after his post-NFC Championship game interview with Erin Andrews of Fox Sports. But they are conversations and Carroll makes it clear he is being a pedestal for the player’s greatness,” the article pointed out.
Carroll insists that his players work hard in practice and go through the walk-through sessions flawlessly. He’s very high-energy and will get out on the practice field and run plays with the team. He got a cut on his face last week while running back a kickoff during a drill.
And Pete Carroll, who has one year left on his current contract, is no spring chicken, either. At 62 years of age, there are only two coaches older than him who have won Super Bowls—New York Giants Tom Coughlin was 65 and Dick Vermeil was 63.
KWICKIES…While the Fox analysts were conducting their pre-game show Sunday afternoon for Super Bowl XLVIII, Seattle’s All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas III texted Jimmy Johnson and asked him to remind the audience that they were both from Southeast Texas, Thomas from Orange and Johnson from Port Arthur. Although All-Pros Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman both had their usual steady games in Seattle’s defensive secondary, the standouts for the Seahawks defense in Sunday’s 43-8 shellacking of Denver and its NFL-best offense were strong safety Kam Chancellor, defensive end Cliff Avril and linebacker Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP. It was the fifth time that the NFL’s top-rated defense has defeated the No. 1 offense in six Super Bowl meetings.
Sunday wasn’t the first time the Denver Broncos were blown out in a Super Bowl game. They suffered the worst loss (55-10) by the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV, the third worst Sunday by the Seattle Seahawks (43-8) and the fifth worst (42-10) by the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXII.
Cleveland Browns fans seem okay with their new head coach Mike Pettine, whose only previous head coaching experience came at North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pa. Pettine will be the Browns’ fifth head coach in seven years and replaces Rob Chudzinski, who lasted only one season after a 4-12 year. He was the defensive coordinator for Buffalo and was not the Browns’ first, second or even third choice.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed 18-of 25 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 123.1 in Sunday’s 43-8 Super Bowl win. He also became the only quarterback to win 28 NFL games in his first two seasons. Wilson joins Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Ben Rothlisberger as the only second-year quarterbacks to win Super Bowls.
Bubba Watson missed a five-foot par putt on the final hole to give playing partner Kevin Stadler a one-stroke victory for his first PGA Tour title in last weekend’s Phoenix Open. Stadler pocketed a check for $1,116,000 while Watson tied for second with Graham DeLaet, who each earned $545,500.
JUST BETWEEN US…Several local high schools were involved in the University Interscholastic League’s biennial realignment which was announced Monday. Moving to Class 4A District 10-B will be West Orange-Stark, Orangefield, Hamshire-Fannett, Hardin-Jefferson and Liberty. This means that those five schools will have to scramble to find five non-district opponents this fall. Conference 4A District 10-A will include Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Cleveland, Huffman, Jasper, Silsbee and Splendora. Class 5A District 22 will include Vidor, Nederland, PNG, Lumberton, Beaumont Central, Beaumont Ozen, Baytown Lee and Goose Creek Memorial. Class 3A will include Deweyville, Crockett, Corrigan-Camden, Garrison, Newton and Hemphill.