A Method to Pete Carroll's Madness

By Jimmy Johnson
Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Carroll has turned the Seattle Seahawks into a roster once filled with misfit players into one of the best teams this season in the NFC.

He’s gone from escaping what was both a successful and tainted run at the collegiate level at the University of Southern California to positioning the Seahawks as the hottest team chasing towards a Super Bowl run.

When Carroll took over coaching duties in Seattle in 2010, he immediately made drastic changes by overhauling a roster that was cluttered with older and unsuccessful players from previous regimes.

But this wasn’t a cut here and a trade there by Carroll. He decided to gut the Seahawks’ roster and start fresh with his own, as Seattle had over 200 transactions in his first season as head coach.

Carroll put aside how much a player was making, their reputation and draft status and instilled a competitive environment among a collection of veteran and rookie players. He handles his personnel fairly and doesn’t treat any player with favoritism, and the Seahawks have bought into Carroll’s coaching pitch.

It appeared Matt Flynn was going to be Carroll’s choice at quarterback after the Seahawks inked him to a three-year deal. Instead, Carroll picked Russell Wilson in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft and let the two duke it out for the starting quarterback position in training camp. And despite his size and ability to see over an NFL offensive line, Wilson impressed and Carroll pegged him as his starting quarterback, and Wilson hasn’t letup since. It didn’t seem logical to pick a quarterback that high, but Carroll once again showed his ability to not fear consequences or criticism, and now Wilson is being considered for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Carroll has used the early rounds of his first two drafts by adding immediate impact players on the roster. He’s placed talent that can impact the team now versus developmental players as a premium method of the organization. He decided to roll the dice on University of West Virginia defensive end Bruce Irvin in the first round of this year’s draft. While Irvin’s talent wasn’t questioned – especially after wooing NFL scouts during the combine – it was his character and off-the-field issues that had many teams not interested in selecting Irvin in the first round and even in second and third round.

But Carroll didn’t scare away from selecting Irvin. He saw an edge-passer who would add some depth to an already feared defensive line.

Things always seem to be hectic and little different out in Seattle: a plethora of alternative jerseys, a fan base that’s been crowned as the NFL’s best 12th Man and several other oddities that help make it different from the 31 other organizations in the NFL.

Through all the chaos and gimmicks, there’s also been success this season all due to an unconventional head coach that added his own curious ideology to an already unique football culture.


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