Pete Carroll, savior of Seattle


In a world where compassion is questioned behind ulterior motives, Pete Carroll doesn’t back down. Fueled by his competitive desire to get the very best out of his team and incorporating legitimate compassion to his coaching staff and to his players, Pete Carroll has not only changed the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL, but the city of Seattle as well.

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Before the 2008-2009 NBA season, the Seattle Supersonics left to Oklahoma City. The Mariners have been bad for a decade. The Seattle Seahawks had an abysmal final year under Mike Holmgren in 2008 and a terrible one year with Jim Mora in 2009. You can argue Seattle sports collectively was at its worst right when Pete Carroll was putting it all on the line to become the Seahawks Head Coach and Vice President of Football Operations. However, this is more than just about the success and pride Pete Carroll has brought to us passionate sports fans. This is about changing a culture and mentality of a region on top of the pinnacle of sports success, something Pete Carroll has gotten used to doing after his success and impact at USC.

One of Pete Carroll’s favorite phrases is “You’re either competing, or you’re not.” This phrase is symbolic of Pete Carroll’s style as Head Coach. It is quite literally that simple. Are you trying to get better? If you’re not trying to get better, it’s a waste of time. How far do you want to take your game? That is what Pete Carroll wants to find out. He believes in competing in everything that you do, even shooting free throws.

Pete Carroll’s WinForever program and mentality started long before he was the Seahawks head coach, but it’s been embedded into the Seahawks DNA. I’d say at this point it’s even spread to the fans as well. Pete Carroll is the founder and Dr. Michael Gervais, the Seahawks sports psychologist is the co-founder.  “To accomplish the grand, you have to focus on the small. To exist in the eternal perspective, you have to live in the moment.” Carroll said. This is not only true for anyone wanting to be successful, but it’s a great message for your life in general. You have a football game to play on Sunday, but to maximize the opportunity you need to practice your best on Monday. Then Wednesday. You get the idea. You’re not going to perform on Sunday by thinking about Sunday on Monday. How are you going to better yourself today to put yourself in better position tomorrow? If you spend everyday trying to get better, you’re going to be as ready as you possibly can be for the game on Sunday.

You can’t win a Super Bowl in August. But if you spend every practice better than all the other teams spend their practices, collectively over a year there is potential for a gap to be separating the teams at the end of the year. Fans and media will get caught up in big games and primetime games, but it’s one game at a time for the Seahawks. If you win the big game but lose the game viewed as non-important, there was no net gain. If you treat every game like a championship game, you’ll be ready when the actual championship game has arrived. Don’t get it twisted though, the Seahawks enjoy playing on primetime, highlighted by Pete Carroll’s impressive 13-1 record on primetime games since joining the Seahawks in 2010. You play so well on primetime games by making it just like any other game, just with the added opportunity of showing the country your best. Who isn’t motivated to show the world their best? That is why we take 7 selfies and only post one onto social media.

“If you want to win forever, you’ve got to always compete,” Carroll said. This means competing with yourself to be better and competing with your teammates to push each other to be better. Players love coming to Seattle because they know they are being put in a great position to succeed with little-to-no bias. Compete for your spot every day, every week, every month, every year. How can you truly be your best if you’re not in a program or situation where you need and want to be pushed to your limits?

Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” – Pete Carroll.

Beautiful quote, isn’t it? Pete Carroll believes that his job is not only to teach them how to properly play football, but teach them how to be better men. Through positively supporting a player, can you get more out of him? Do you really need to berate a person to their core and insult them to get improvement out of them? Pete Carroll always dares to challenge that with his eternal optimistic mentality. By not just telling, but SHOWING that you truly care about your players, can you get something out of them that they didn’t know they had?

People make mistakes all the time. We learn and grow. If there’s patience and love, and you care for people, you can work them through it, and they can find their greatest heights.” – Pete Carroll.

If Pete Carroll’s biggest weakness as a coach is that he has too much forgiveness in his heart and can be a little too stubborn at times, then that is a heck of a person. We live in a world where when someone gets in trouble, people use their social media to try to embarrass the person for as many twitter favorites/retweets as possible. People use others sorrow and mistakes as a tool for their own personal gain. Everyone is all about preaching forgiveness and second chances until someone they will never have to encounter in person gets in trouble, allowing them to make fun of the person as much as they can. Pete Carroll is symbolic of the type of person we should strive to be. Pete Carroll forgives and he gives second chances. What does kicking someone when they’re down do?

If Pete Carroll wasn’t capable of forgiving, some star Seahawk players would not be on this team which would mean the Seahawks would still have zero Lombardi trophies. Marshawn Lynch was traded for despite getting in trouble as a Buffalo Bill. He has gotten in trouble as a Seahawk as well. Marshawn isn’t the only one either. Young men make mistakes. Pete Carroll believes in supporting you through it and helping you. Just because people make mistakes doesn’t mean they are bad people. Pete Carroll is willing to put his neck on the line for you so long as you’re willing to try to better yourself and give him everything you have.

Who could forget the Pete Carroll doubters as he returned to the NFL after his success at USC? No article highlighted it better than this one: Pete Carroll destined to fail as Seattle Seahawks head coach. This wasn’t an opinion that only national reporters had, there were plenty of local personalities and fans that were also highly skeptical of Pete Carroll. Some questioning his ability to relate to pro football players and some majorly upset and bitter about Pete Carroll destroying UW and WSU like they were nothing.

Not to say that opinion wasn’t warranted, it was just that many doubted if Pete Carroll could bring the USC culture and personality to Seattle and it relate with grown men at the NFL level.  One of the biggest surprises to myself and others may be the realization of how high Pete Carroll’s football IQ is. His perception of being a “rah rah” type motivator doesn’t do his football intelligence the justice it deserves. Pete Carroll is one of the most brilliant minds in football today, and undoubtedly one of the best secondary coaches that has ever graced the NFL.

Jan 18, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll celebrates an extra point against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) stands at left. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Pete’s philosophical differences aren’t only in his mentality towards life outside of the football field, but on the football field. In an NFL where high volume passing offenses and opportunistic defenses reigned supreme, Pete Carroll dared to be different. What if you run the ball, stop the run, create explosive plays on offense, eliminate the other teams explosive plays, don’t turn the ball over and get turnovers off the other team? Pete Carroll dared to make this the theme of his program.

I’m going to believe in this QB that everyone says is too short to be successful, I’m going to draft and believe in this 5th round CB that people say can be taken advantage of in the NFL, I’m going to continue to draft small WRs, and much more.  Pete Carroll has taken what a lot of people viewed as rocks and helped turn them into diamonds. Diamonds that don’t forget they were petty theoretical rocks that no one wanted and viewed as trash.

The result was a team that is not only hard to beat and all with their own story of why they have a chip on their shoulder, but hard to separate from for the entirety of a game especially since the acquisition of Russell Wilson. The inability to put the Seahawks away has no better example than the Packers outplaying the Seahawks for 55 minutes of the 2014-2015 NFC Championship Game, only to lose when the Seahawks clicked at the end of the 4th quarter and overtime. When the Seahawks execute on all of those fronts, they have been able to blow out some of the best teams in the NFL, highlighted by the Seattle Seahawks 43-8 defeat over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48.

What some people are afraid to admit is that sometimes we reach for strength and life lessons from our favorite sports teams. If our favorite team can pull off the impossible in our minds, often viewed by winning a Championship, then in our own lives we can do anything. Seattle sports fans were negative throughout the years, assuming the worst is always approaching.

That as good as things may be right now with our sports team that failure is coming. Some people live their everyday lives this way, never enjoying themselves or the moments because they are waiting for failure. This was highlighted by multiple Mariner seasons and highlighted by Super Bowl 40. Through so much heartbreak, people expect the worse. When the Seahawks had Super Bowl expectations entering the 2013 season, many held back. They didn’t want to invest so much into that thought because in the back of their mind, they thought they were about to be “Seattle’d.” That all changed on February 1st, 2014 when the Seahawks shocked the entire world by completely embarrassing the Denver Broncos. in Super Bowl 48. No one can ever say or think Seattle isn’t or wasn’t good enough.

As much of a genius Pete Carroll is specifically with football schematics and analytics, he is an even better person off the field. Pete Carroll brought “A Better LA” to Seattle, called “A Better Seattle.” Taken from “A Better Seattle (ABS) is a Seattle Seahawks community initiative led by Head Coach Pete Carroll. ABS works to reduce Seattle area youth and gang violence by forging partnerships that generate opportunities for at-risk youth to take control of their lives and strive for better futures. A Better Seattle partners with the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s Alive and Free program and the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative to mobilize critical resources to transform the lives of youth.” Pete Carroll’s compassion for life impresses me and should impress you and make you want to do better.  Take a look at this interview with Pete Carroll at USC and you’ll understand.

People love when their favorite sports teams are underdogs, but Pete Carroll doesn’t play that way. He wants every player to believe that they can be the best player in the world if you believe it. What’s holding you back except you? While many embrace the underdog role, Pete Carroll brought a swagger to Seattle where we now embrace the expectations. We took on the challenge of trying to repeat as Super Bowl Champions last year and fell one yard short.

Pete Carroll brought an optimism, no, a new culture to Seattle. Now when you go around Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, most fans will tell you without a shred of doubt that they already 100% believe the Seahawks will make it back to Super Bowl 50 and win. Pete Carroll came to Seattle when no one else wanted to. He’s made Seattle his second home. He’s changed the culture of Seattle and changed the sports culture of Seattle to believe that every single game the Seahawks are capable of winning.

Pete turned the Seattle Seahawks into a legitimate powerhouse, one that has a strong chance of being the NFC representative for the third straight year in Super Bowl 50. Pete Carroll is the savior of Seattle, and I couldn’t be more proud of the man whose changed Seattle sports and Seattle’s mentality. He’s done more for Seattle than he may ever realize, and there will be manly tears shed the day he decides he’s finished.

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