Yes, I saw the Giants dismantle the Seahawks, and yet I remain pumped, and more than a little jacked to be able to sit here today and tell you that Pete Carroll can coach a little bit. The guy got a bum rap when he was with the Patriots. Folks said his folksy charm, incessant optimism, and cheerleading style couldn’t work in the pros. And those who believed such nonsense believed their opinions were validated when he went to USC and won 2 national championships. Imagine, instead of giving the guy credit for being able to identify talent, recruit talent, and then coach talent, people still thought his success was only due to his schtick, and that his feel good approach only worked while he was working with kids in college. The problem, as usual, is that once a guy is labeled, it’s hard to rip that label off, even if it never belonged their in the first place.
The man took over for the great Bill Parcells – arguably one of the top three or four coaches of all time. In Parcells’ last year in New England, the Patriots won 11 games and went to the Super Bowl. The following year, Carroll – with a new coaching staff, a new system, and a bunch of new players – led the Patriots to a division title, a 10-win season and a second round playoff loss to the Steelers. Remember that game? That’s the one where Todd Collins had a brain cramp and forgot to push Kordell Stewart out of bounds on his way to a 40-yard touchdown. Must have been bad coaching.
Keep in mind, while Carroll was in New England, Bobby Grier did the drafting and he stockpiled more busts than a museum. The first round picks were Chris Canty, Robert Edwards and J’Juan Cherry. Not making that up.
And still Carroll managed to win with declining talent. Granted the trend was bad. He won, in descending order, 10, 9 and 8 games, but the drafts were bad and Drew Bledsoe got worse, finally throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in Carroll’s final season.
None of this is to say that Carroll is an elite coach, but he was sandwiched in between Parcells and Bill Belichick, two of the best ever, and he held his own a little bit. When Belichick arrived with his new staff and his new system, the Patriots only won five games. Then he got Tom Brady.
Meanwhile, Carroll has returned to the NFL to take over a Seattle team that won just four and five games the last two years, and he’s already won four games and has the Seahawks contending for a division title. Yes, it’s a weak division. I’m not saying Carroll is a miracle worker, but he’s a much better coach than you thought he was when his enthusiasm inexplicably annoyed you.