This was not a late 1960s Northern California get-together, though the mutual admiration on stage Friday was so extensive even Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider referred to it as a “lovefest.”
Rather, it was an opportunity for the Seahawks to say the coach would be around longer.
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks announced a new three-year contract Friday at their Renton headquarters. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal will replace the original five-year, $35 million contract Carroll signed in 2010.
It was a no-brainer.
Since Carroll’s arrival, the Seahawks have won the NFC West twice. They dominated Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 in New Jersey for their first Super Bowl title.
In the past two seasons, Carroll is 28-9, including the playoffs.
The deal brings Seattle management continuity for at least the next three seasons. Schneider’s contract reportedly also runs through 2016. Carroll, 62, said on Sports Radio KJR that he “totally plans” on being in Seattle past that.
“I think it’s really exciting because it’s really a statement of our commitment,” Carroll said. “It’s a statement of our staying power and our willingness to do something really special with this opportunity here.”
In 2010, then-Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke met with Carroll in Los Angeles to discuss the job. He assured Carroll that the organization would let him handle all aspects, even offering him the option to be general manager and coach.
Carroll declined the GM opportunity, but he finally felt as though an NFL franchise was giving him everything he wanted. That would allow him to fully instill the philosophy he used at USC into an NFL organization.
“I always knew that there was another challenge out there, which was coming to the league,” Carroll said, “which I always cherished as the most competitive arena that you could be in. But I didn’t think that there would ever be a situation where an organization, starting at the top on throughout, where they would trust us to do whatever we needed to do to get the job done.”
That changed with Seattle.
Carroll brought his upbeat coaching ways north, Schneider was hired and they managed the team in a nontraditional way.
Friday in the auditorium at Seahawks headquarters, a jovial Carroll and Schneider reiterated much of what they have said in the past. Their relationship is crucial and has worked the way they hoped, and they are thrilled to continue it.
Schneider said he thought Carroll can now be viewed as one of the best football coaches in history. Carroll projected Schneider could one day be the most powerful general manager in sports.
“I feel very humbled and fortunate,” Carroll said. “It’s a day of gratitude for me.”
Carroll said he feels the Seahawks are “right in the middle” of a run.
“The most important thing that happens is we rediscover every year — not just this year because it’s a Super Bowl year — every year we rediscover the work ethic that makes us who we are,” Carroll said. “That starts with the commitment our players have made to make this the greatest offseason of their life.
“We treat people in a manner, I think, that we can ask of them to give us everything they possibly have. It’s a fantastic opportunity to go for this. Yeah, one time’s cool, and we’re excited and all that, but to come back and figure out a way to show you can do it again, it’s another tremendous challenge we’re faced with now. (Quarterback) Russell (Wilson) and the fellas are ready to go. They can’t wait to get back.”
That won’t begin until April 21, the first day of voluntary workouts. When it does begin, Carroll will again bring his unique philosophy.
“We haven’t done everything like you think we would along the way,” Carroll said. “We’ve taken some chances, and we’ve taken calculated risks that basically worked out.”