The Seattle Seahawks began their offseason by removing Pete Carroll from his head coaching duties. This, of course, meant that almost all of Seattle's coaches would be gone unless the new head coach chose to try to retain them. Since Seattle hired Mike Macdonald, only one coach has been kept from the Carroll era and that is defensive passing game coordinator Karl Scott.
Seattle has hired a new offensive coordinator (Ryan Grubb), a new defensive coordinator (Aden Durde), and perhaps most importantly, besides the Macdonald hire, Seattle hired special teams coach Jay Harbaugh. From what NFL fans witnessed in the Super Bowl, a great special teams coach can make or break a championship game. Harbaugh appears capable of being that great ST coach.
A huge point in the Super Bowl was the one San Francisco 49ers kicker Jake Moody missed. Moody was excellent overall as he made two kicks beyond 50 yards, but he also kicked a blocked extra point too low and that single point allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to remain within a field goal away from tying the game. Otherwise, for much of the second half, the Chiefs would have needed a touchdown to pull ahead.
Jay Harbaugh might be a sneaky-great hire by the Seattle Seahawks
But Moody's kick was far from the only special teams important moment. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker made all four of his field goal attempts including a long of 57. The 49ers muffed a punt in the third quarter while ahead 10-6 and the Chiefs recovered the botched punt. Kansas City scored on the subsequent short drive that followed the fumble. Punt coverage was incredible throughout the game for both teams.
Both kickers also routinely drove the ball through the end zone on kickoffs. Seahawks kicker Jason Myers is capable of doing so but has not in recent seasons. This seems odd as Myers certainly has a strong enough leg to put the ball into the end zone so that would imply he was being told by Seattle's former special teams coach, Larry Izzo, to kick the ball short but this was only allowing a team to run the ball back past the 25-yeard line where they would have gotten it had Myers just kicked the ball into the end zone.
No offense overall to Izzo, however. Under his watch, Seattle consistently had top-ten special teams units per DVOA. But Jay Harbaugh, son of Jim and nephew of John, could make the unit better. Plus, John likely can help him out in terms of transitioning as a coordinator to the NFL because John was a special teams coach for becoming a head coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
Coincidentally, Jay Harbaugh coached Jake Moody when Moody was at Michigan. Moody is probably a better kicker having been around Harbaugh. While Seattle already had special teams talent prior to Harbaugh being hired by Macdonald, Harbaugh could fine-tune the group even more and make them into a unit that could get the Seahawks closer to the Super Bowl. Once there, special teams is unlikely to lose the game for Seattle.