Sure, Pete Carroll might turn into a great hire for the Seattle Seahawks.
He’s a fabulous college coach and we may suspect he’s learned a great deal in the decade since his unspectacular run of four seasons as an NFL coach.
But is he worth $7 million a year? Is it the right move if they give him total control over personnel, as well? Is he the absolute best option to steer the Seahawks back to competitiveness in the long term?
In order: Don’t think so. Probably not. And, I’m open to the idea, but far from sold.
It seems right now as if the presumptive Seahawks’ hiring of Carroll might be more about the sizzle of national headlines than the construction of a foundation for future success.
I fear they may be hiring his name.
If a deal comes together as reported, five years for as high as $35 million, with possible dual titles of head coach and franchise president, Carroll has two immediate requisites: 1) Put together an all-star staff of assistants, most with NFL experience, and 2) hire an indefatigable GM with a track record of personnel success in the NFL.
No final word was released Saturday as the Seahawks scrambled to interview a minority candidate to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule. It created some cloudy scenarios about the extent of Carroll’s prospective duties.
It also continued to give this entire episode the look of disorder and confusion.
Carroll was probed and likely propositioned before Jim Mora was fired, and also before a minority candidate was interviewed (belatedly added to meet protocol?)
If all the wiggling meant the Seahawks had to alter their promises to Carroll, then what if he balked and slipped off the hook? The whole thing could turn into a giant bowl of embarrassing chaos.
Let’s assume it comes together.
What’s not to like about Carroll? He took an underproductive USC program and won a pair of national titles with a 97-19 record in nine seasons.
He’s a gifted communicator, telegenic, energetic, and capable of motivating young men. He could be a nice face for the franchise.
But here’s what works in the NFL: Substance.
Carroll can run around and be Mr. Enthusiasm all he wants if he backs it up with the goods. If he’s got the coaching “chops” to control games in the NFL – not in the Pacific-10 Conference – the players will know it. If he doesn’t, players also will know it.
What can we make of Carroll’s first go-around ... one season with the Jets and three years with New England?
He went 34-33 overall. Sometimes third chances are the charm, sometimes they’re expensive episodes in proving an established point. Sometimes great college coaches make it in the NFL and sometimes they don’t. Examples of both abound.
Again, his staff and his personnel assistants will play huge roles.
Because here’s what else works in the NFL: Talent.
Carroll was renowned at USC as a recruiter of talent. If he is empowered with personnel control in Seattle, we will come to discover if his skills of recruiting translate to drafting.
Certainly, he relied on his assistants and scouts to identify most of the players, and he came in and was the deal-closer. Strong lieutenants here will be crucial, too.
Carroll has been quoted as saying he felt he would have been better in the NFL the first two times if he had control over the personnel. Whoa. Show me a coach who has been fired or unsuccessful who did not believe that. Every one of them believes that.
Has this guy proven he’s worth the double title? Mike Holmgren had two Super Bowls on his résumé before he earned the shot. And he eventually got one of the hats yanked off.
Some local fans, those inclined to wear purple garments, will argue that Carroll has been running a professional program at USC already. The NCAA gumshoes have been sniffing the program for some time. Is Carroll more susceptible to wooing from the NFL now because the NCAA posse is closing in on USC? How’s that look for the franchise? The truth: Nobody will care if he wins.
We may look back in just a few weeks at the aborted reunion with Mike Holmgren. Whether that fell apart over money or power seems a small distinction now.
If the Hawks are willing to fork over the farm to Pete Carroll, why the reluctance to do what it took to get Holmgren? If you decide it’s worth making a run at him, hadn’t you better make sure you close the deal?
Holmgren may have had some issues, but who would you rather have running your NFL franchise ... Pete Carroll or Mike Holmgren?
If you say Carroll, then you should be happy soon.
I’m open to seeing how this plays out, but I’m a long way from convinced.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440