Pete Carroll was just an energetic college coach who could recruit more talent than anyone else. His style would never work in the NFL with millionaires and the salary cap.
That’s what plenty of “experts” were saying after Carroll was hired by the Seattle Seahawks in January 2010. Fast forward three years, and most of those supposed experts as now singing the praises of Carroll. He has a young roster full of talent, and people who have never paid particular attention to the Seahawks before are now taking notice. Many people have the his team on a short list of Super Bowl favorites.
How did Carroll do it? He did it his way.
Carroll has said that he never planned a return trip to return to the NFL unless it was on his terms. He didn’t feel like he had the necessary control of his teams when he coached the New York Jets and New England Patriots, and was determined to never let this happen again if he returned to the league.
When Carroll was approached by then Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke about becoming the new head coach, he would not accept anything less than having full control of the roster, a designation usually given to the general manager.
He would also not work for a general manager. He was more than willing to work with a general manager, but it would be he who would ultimately decide on who would be hired in that capacity.
This caused some candidates to withdraw their names for consideration three years ago. One of his first decisions that has helped turn the Seahawks around sooner than expected was the hiring of John Schneider. The new general manager of the team had been the right hand man of Ted Thompson with the Green Bay Packers.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Seahawks because they have never been relevant in their hidden oasis of Southern Alaska, think of the Carroll-Schneider relationship in terms of eating at a restaurant.
Carroll shows up and is seated. He may or may not be craving something specific. Schneider, meanwhile, has set the table and hands Carroll the menu. Carroll may listen to Schneider talk about the specials or his recommendations, but ultimately it is Carroll who will make the final decision on what to order.
While Carroll certainly deserves a majority of the credit for turning the Seahawks around, by no means are the contributions of Schneider insignificant. For example, indications point to Schneider being the one who was originally the highest on quarterback Russell Wilson. However, even as general manager, he needed Carroll to okay Wilson for consideration.
After Carroll had discussed Wilson with Schneider and done his own research, which included a talk with former mentor Bud Grant about his own “too short” quarterback with the Minnesota Vikings, Fran Tarkenton, he agreed that Wilson would be a worthy menu item that he would like to sample.
These are the types of collaborative efforts that have made Carroll and Schneider a dynamic duo, and a reason the Seahawks are relevant in the NFL again.
Carroll would have it no other way.