Ranking every Seattle Seahawks head coach in the history of the franchise

Seattle has had nine head coaches since their inception in 1976. Who are they and how do they rank against each other?
Mike Holmgren with the Seattle Seahawks
Mike Holmgren with the Seattle Seahawks / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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1. Pete Carroll

Are you surprised at all?

Following a legendary career at the University of Southern California, Pete Carroll was hired by the Seattle Seahawks in 2010. Carroll won a National Championship with USC in 2005 and expressed his desire to win a Super Bowl for Seattle. In his first season with the Seahawks, Carroll completely overhauled the team, seeing literally hundreds of roster transactions.

In 2010, the Seahawks finished 7-9 but bizarrely won the NFC West. The division came down to the final week of the season as Seattle and the St. Louis Rams met each other, both at 6-9. Seattle won the game, and subsequently, the division. Seattle was heavy underdogs in their wildcard game against the defending champion New Orleans Saints. Against all odds, Carroll and Seattle defeated the Saints 41-36, as Marshawn Lynch literally moved the earth.

In 2011, Seattle once again finished 7-9, but it wasn't nearly good enough to win the division this time. But by 2012, Seattle turned a new leaf. They spent big in free agency on coveted quarterback Matt Flynn, who had been backing up Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. After overseeing a draft that brought in the likes of Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and Bruce Irvin, Pete Carroll decided to bench Flynn for the rookie Wilson. Seattle won 11 games and was one stop away from advancing to the NFC Championship game.

By 2013, team expectations were at an all-time high. Pete Carroll had put the finishing touches on the defense he'd built from scratch. That defense went on to become one of the best in NFL history as they led Seattle to a 13-3 record, tied for best in franchise history. After earning a first-round bye, Seattle smothered the Saints at home, and barely squeaked out a win against the rival 49ers in the NFC Championship game, advancing to only their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Carroll and Seattle dominated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, earning their first Super Bowl win, 43-8. The defense suffocated Peyton Manning and Denver's number-one offense, as Pete Carroll joined Jimmy Johnson as the only two coaches to ever win a college national championship as well as a Super Bowl. In 2014, Seattle finished 12-4 and made it back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year. Seattle came one yard away from their second straight Lombardi trophy.

After 2014, the Seahawks were always competitive, winning multiple NFC West titles and making the playoffs several more times, but never seemed to get over the Super Bowl loss. In 2019, Carroll made history by winning his 100th game as Seahawks head coach. He had crushed Holmgren's 86-win record and at age 68, was still going strong.

In 2020, Seattle won the NFC West with a 12-win season but was eliminated by the Rams in the wildcard round. In 2022, Carroll oversaw the groundbreaking trade of Russell Wilson that yielded Seattle multiple first-round picks and multiple players. Carroll advocated for backup Geno Smith to start, and Smith had a career year and led Seattle to the playoffs.

Following a disappointing 2023 season, Carroll was let go by the Seahawks in what was considered to be a mutual decision. Currently, it appears that Carroll will remain on the coaching staff as an advisor to new head coach Mike Macdonald. However, Carroll's legacy as head coach will not soon be forgotten.

Carroll led Seattle to a 137-89 record in his tenure, a .606 winning percentage. He leads all Seahawks coaches in wins (137), playoff wins (10), winning percentage, and division wins (five), and owns the sole Super Bowl win in franchise history. However, past the accolades, Coach Carroll will always be associated with the person he is and the culture he built in Seattle.

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