A Team You Hate To Love

Not a day goes by where I don’t wish I was a fan of a winner. The Patriots, the Colts, the Steelers, hell even the Giants make a Super Bowl a decade.

But no. I had to be a homer through and through. It’s absolutely revolting.

So, I suppose I can’t let too much time pass without commenting on the likely signing of Pete Carroll as the new Head Coach and President of the Seattle Seahawks.

First, on Jim Mora, no it wasn’t fair to only give him a year and can him. But, let’s face facts, this wasn’t the guy to lead us to the promised land. I mean, look at his output when he was the Secondary Coach. He took a middle-of-the-road group and brought them down to one of the worst in the league. Then, he took a team with a 4-12 record (decimated by injuries) and improved them by AH game (still decimated by injuries, but I would argue not nearly as bad).

But, you know, I’m always dubious of sons of head coaches. I’m not gonna say Jim Mora Sr. was Bill Walsh or anything, but he was tons better than junior. Hell, I’m dubious of sons in general when they follow in their father’s footsteps: coaches, presidents of the United States, whatever.

Anyway, what’s done is done and this dark regional nightmare is over. A new regime, a fresh start.

The token complaint is that Pete Carroll is a great College Coach, but an average-at-best NFL Coach. That’s the easy, short-sighted argument; the Mike & Mike argument. Hard to refute, given the obviousness of the statement, but nevertheless I’m looking to go beyond that.

First, let’s look at the man’s career. Before he was hired at USC, he had never been a college head coach. He had no track record of being “Great” for college. People just slap that label on him because he’s an energetic “Rah Rah” type of coach, whatever that means. I wonder what type of coach ISN’T Rah Rah; I guess that would be a corpse-like Art Shell type coach.

And how hard is it, REALLY, to be a great head coach/recruiter for USC? It’s been the best football school in Southern California for, what, the past 90 decades? Does it take that much convincing to get a kid to commit to all that sunshine and success? Especially when you get all that hush-hush money on the side from boosters?

Let’s stick Pete Carroll in Iowa and see how great he is at recruiting talent before we automatically label him a “Great” college coach. That’s like saying Phil Jackson is the best NBA coach ever; oh, you mean he won a lot of games with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaq? Neato.

Conversely, how bad of a head coach was he in the NFL? Ostensibly, he’s had more NFL coaching experience, if you include all his assistant gigs. He’s been a part of some great NFL defenses in his day. He’s been a Head Coach for 4 years, on two different teams. A bad Jets team for 1 year, and some decent New England teams following The Tuna and his Super Bowl run. With neither team did he have the kind of control he had at USC, or will have with the Seahawks. I’m willing to give the man a chance. A .500 record early in your career in the NFL isn’t that bad. At the very least, it’ll always give you a second (or third) chance; just ask Jim Mora the next time he’s hired

The bottom line in this whole thing is that it appears we’re swapping out the same head coach. Jim Mora seems to be just a younger version of Pete Carroll. What we’re banking on is that Carroll’s experience in dominating the Pac 10 the last decade will carry over and help him improve upon what he was in his original NFL incarnation.

What most people seem to forget in all this lamenting of Mora’s firing is that the Seahawks organization HAD to do something. They had to do something big. And they weren’t going to get Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or Marty Schottenheimer. They already lost out on Holmgren and Shanahan, so that didn’t leave a whole lotta options when it comes to bringing in a Big Name. And who’s the biggest viable name in College Football?

The fans are restless. That’s a combined 9 wins the last two years for a fan base who’s grown accustomed to getting that total EVERY year over the past decade. A fan base who’s been consistently selling out Qwest Field every year since it opened. A fan base who most certainly would’ve started turning their season tickets in had the organization not done SOMETHING.

Smart fans question the move. But, the bulk of Seahawks fans aren’t smart. They’re fairweather fans, people who just like watching football (who like watching the Seahawks only when they’re good). These are people who see a name like Pete Carroll and applaud loudly, because he’s a winner! They either don’t remember his initial NFL tenure or don’t care. They recognize the name, and that’s all that matters.

This won’t save the Seahawks entirely from a season ticket standpoint; they’ll still see some losses due to the fact that the team has been so bad lately. However, I think they’ve saved themselves from the certain hemorrhaging that would’ve taken place had they made some no-name coordinator a head coach alongside a no-name General Manager’s assistant our new GM.

Is it the right move? Who the fuck knows? Who the fuck EVER knows what the right move is? So much of this damned crapshoot is devoted to luck, it’s pathetic. Draft picks panning out, free agents living up to the money they make before they fall apart due to aging and indifference, avoiding too many costly injuries, fumbles bouncing your way, referees not shitting themselves on the field. X’s and O’s rarely decide the outcome. You’ve got to hit on all those intangibles first before you’ve even got a chance.

So, we’ll see. At least we know what we’re getting for the next 3 years. I know he’s under contract for 5, but I give him a guaranteed 3. After that, if he’s 0-48, I think it’s safe to assume we’ll be looking elsewhere.

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