What can you say about Pete Carroll? He joined the (for the most part) long suffering Seattle Seahawks in 2010 and went about transforming a team that previously went 67-61 in their previous eight seasons to 79-48-1 in the next eight. He instilled a philosophy based around an elite defense, a strong running game, minimizing offensive turnovers and maximizing defensive turnovers. And that philosophy has quite clearly worked. He made over 200 transactions in his first season in Seattle, ‘always ComPete’ rang true, no doubt.
Coach Carroll is a true leader in every aspect, not just football, too. Last summer he did a talk with a bunch of tech and marketing geeks at a conference and got them so fired up, they were ready to burst through the tunnel and onto CenturyLink Field. He’s a true people motivator and quite frankly, he excels at it.
But how long will us Seahawks fans be blessed with Pete Carroll, chewing gum an’ all, on the side lines on Sundays? As it stands, 2 more seasons. He is currently signed through the 2019 season. But will we see him both be offered a contract extension from owner Paul Allen, and accept one? Pete’s dentist is no doubt the front runner in wanting news of an extension, that’s for sure.
There were rumblings towards the end of the 2017 season that Pete was going to pull the plug and retire, however Pete very quickly shot down those claims via Twitter saying, “People talking about retirement…I ain’t old enough to think about retiring”. For the most part, a sigh of relief could be heard across all of Seahawks land. At 66 years old, Pete is the oldest coach in the NFL but his energy is certainly not on an even line with his age, many players have gone on record commenting how much energy he has, he can often be seen running around during practice, throwing glove on, slinging balls all over the VMAC. It’s quite incredible really. Pete is a real-life Benjamin Button, not aging a day since joining the team, he puts it down to his plant based diet and says it has even got rid of his arthritis.
Pete has dismissed any retirement rumours on multiple occasions so it’s perfectly plausible to believe he’s telling the truth. 2 years from now he will be contract free and totally within his rights to sail off into the sunset and enjoy a life outside of football and the league. But I firmly believe that won’t happen. He seems to have the same enthusiasm, if not more, than the day he entered the league. If his age was catching up with him, all the late nights, all the long travel etc. was starting to grate on him I’d get it, but it really doesn’t seem like it is, and based on that, I believe he will get an extension and be with the team for at least another 2 years, taking him through the 2021 season. I wouldn’t even be shocked if he played it on a season by season basis thereafter, either.
He wouldn’t be the oldest coach in history, if he lasted through the 2021 season, either. Marv Levy and George Halas both coached until the age of 72 before finally retiring. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pete sees this as a challenge and would like to set one last record on his way out. I sure hope so.
Pete got pretty tough with the coaching side of the team this season, following a disappointing finish to an, overall, disappointing season by firing a total of eight coaches (and as it stands, hiring five). It seems Pete is firmly in the driving seat of the apparent makeover of the team which, again, firms up my opinion that he is in it for the long haul.
Looking at the 2019 cap position of the team is also interesting. Barring a few core players (namely Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and Bobby Wagner) the team has, pretty much, an open slate to build the team up from scratch. I’m of the opinion that this type of situation has been purposefully fabricated in such a way that it allows him and General Manager John Schneider to, once again, build a championship calibre team from the ground up (with some cornerstones at key positions). I think this appeals to Pete massively, it almost ties into the college approach of having a constant churn of the roster, too.
Pete is a fantastic evaluator of character, he lets his team have fun, play loose and enjoy their jobs to the fullest, and while I don’t think this approach will cease to exist, I do think it will be a watered-down version. You can argue that a counterproductive component of his approach is the penalties. Seattle lead the league in 2017 with an eye-popping 148, 11 more than the second worst offender and a whopping 63 more than the Panthers, who were the least penalized team in 2017. Averaging 9.25 penalty calls per game is absolutely an area that Pete needs to address as it is alarming, but I’m confident, partly due to the new coaching hires, that this number will be far improved in 2018.
In summary, I think owner Paul Allen places a tremendous amount of trust and respect in Pete, which he has very much earned, and as long as Pete wants to be coaching in Seattle, he will be. I just can’t see his enthusiasm and energy levels taking such a drop that retiring in early 2020 is a serious consideration for him, it’s just too hard to believe.
In my eyes, Pete is royalty in Seattle and deserves to have the ball in his court. I know that as long as he is the head coach, this team will not sustain any level of mediocrity and that any bumps, hurdles or mountains that get in the way of winning, Pete will be right at the front of the queue, knocking them down.