So what happens now?
Despite all that I have just written, I do not believe firing Pete Carroll is a decision that owner Jody Allen will be willing to make. It may take a season or two more of disappointment before she's willing to pull such a divisive trigger. No, this decision will come down to Pete Carroll, and I think there's a 50/50 shot we see change this offseason.
Pete is currently under contract for two more seasons. While he may believe a championship run can be attained during that short window, this year is an unquestioned disappointment and a title run feels unrealistic without change or a rare draft spark that brings in immediate blue-chip talent.
While fans are mostly split in the “be grateful” or “clean house” camp, I think we may see a little bit of both. From rumors of Pete retiring from multiple media members in Dallas to the way Pete came back out on the field after their last-second win over the Eagles, I think Pete sees the end. While I believe he was hoping to go out with one more glorious playoff battle (which may still happen), another winning season post-Russell Wilson is a respectable moment to step back.
I say step back, not retire because I do not believe Pete Carroll will retire. I believe he will step down from being the head coach, but will remain on as executive vice president. Pete is as much of the Seahawks as the Seahawks are him, and he will not just leave like a band-aid being ripped off. He will still be heavily involved in the roster management and major decisions for the football operations but will spend the next two seasons slowly relinquishing power and responsibilities.
On the roster-building side, this means that John Schneider will have more control and oversight of the franchise. While Pete is technically the boss, we'd probably see a transition where Schneider gained the final say. This would be fascinating to see if we saw any major philosophical changes in terms of free agency and draft decisions.
Maybe one day Schneider will also get to hand-pick his head coach, but I believe Pete’s final autonomous decision will be to hand the coaching reins over to Dan Quinn.
With Quinn, the Seahawks would be hiring arguably the best defensive coordinator in the league, and a man that Carroll trusts and enjoyed his greatest victories with. While he may be a “Pete guy”, there's reason to believe he can bring a different mindset and ability to get the defense back, not just to respectability, but to a dominant form. The question for Quinn will be whether he can find the right coordinator to lead his offense and bring together a complete championship contender.
Russell Wilson’s final game as a Seahawk was a win in the House of Horrors in Glendale, Arizona. It seems fitting that Pete's final game be a potential win in Arizona as well. Pete deserves and will absolutely get a statue outside Lumen Field for all he has done. I just hope he realizes that it is time for someone else to help get the Seahawks back to being their very best.