Chris Mortensen broke it on his Twitter stream, but from that shaky foundation, a bona fide news story has arose.
Pete Carroll will be the next head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Any other outcome seems very unlikely. Any other outcome would require something sudden and unexpected. This is going to happen. Let us prepare ourselves.I will not attempt to evaluate Carroll the coach, but here's a jumping off point to understanding Carroll the man.
Carroll is a late bloomer with assumed, but undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. He finished his NFL head coaching career 33-31 in the regular season, and 1-2 in the post season. Much of why Carroll was viewed as an unsuccessful coach is that his style is unorthodox. He doesn't believe in harassing his players towards victory. He is, without hyperbole, the ultimate player's coach. Much of this information was gleaned from an expansive New York Times profile.
One reason for Carroll’s success with college players is his pure, joyous physicality. He runs everywhere during practice. He gets in the middle of drills. He throws a football throughout practice and usually has at least one junior staff member assigned to be on the other end of his permanent game of catch. He once demonstrated how a ball carrier should score from a few yards out by taking a handoff himself and diving into the end zone, landing on his back. “The guys didn’t know whether to catch him or hit him,” says Daryl Gross, who as an associate athletic director at U.S.C. was instrumental in Carroll’s hiring. (Gross is now the athletic director at Syracuse.) I walked in on Carroll late one night in his second-floor office in the athletics building. He was watching film of Oregon, with Neil Young blasting in the background while he fingered a baseball bat as if it were a guitar. He looked blissfully happy.
Everyone around Carroll — and Carroll himself — talks casually of his attention-deficit disorder. It has never been formally diagnosed; it’s just assumed. There’s a school of thought in the psychological community that A.D.D. is a gift, or can be, and Carroll, informally, is an adherent. “I like to say A.D.D. is a beautiful thing and I never get bored,” he told me. “I’m sort of joking, but there are some benefits to having a mind that allows you to juggle a whole bunch of different things. You can talk to me for five minutes and be telling me something, but I’m going to pick up the essence of what you’re saying, and the rest of it I might not seem like I hear. But I get it, or I get what I need. It’s just that I might also be doing something else at the time while you’re talking” — which he admits can drive people crazy. Perhaps, but it’s a lot more likely to bother an adult than someone the age of Carroll’s players. High energy? Easily distracted? That pretty much defines them.
Carroll is 58, but, if I may, he possesses the attitude of a much younger man. He is open and curious and enthusiastic. I like that. It doesn't make him a good coach, but, again, I like that. He buys into Eastern philosophy by way of Western entrepreneurialism and is perhaps the most famous proponent of The Inner Game of Tennis. You can see why he wasn't welcome in New York. This kind of 70s era, pseudo-metaphysical guru crap has not aged well, and phrases like "Self 1" and "Self 2" seem quaint or troublingly batshit in post millennial America. One worries that someone who prescribes to the "inner game" might miss the outer, actual game, and fool himself into thinking failed players are not incapable, but just not thinking correctly.
I have no idea what kind of NFL coach Carroll will be. Coaches are given far too much credit for their team's failure and success. At best, we can assess their decisions and attempt to determine how those decisions impact a team's failure or success. Carroll was USC's fourth choice. He stumbled into the job after others declined. He made USC a recruiting hot spot, the so-called 33rd team in the NFL, and that made him a great college head coach. Carroll cannot repeat that feat in Seattle. Perhaps meaning his greatest success and the best evidence of his ability is about to be stripped from him.
He will field a 3-4. That alone makes this a somewhat exciting move. Carroll himself is the so called defensive mastermind, but like Jim Mora, he is a collaborator. New Mexico State Head Coach DeWayne Walker is reportedly Carroll's pick for defensive coordinator. Walker has served primarily as a defensive backs coach. Walker took over a terrible team and made it more terrible. The Aggies ranked dead last in FEI, and ahead of only WSU and Eastern Michigan in S&P.
That doesn't mean a whole lot. None of this does. It's information. Extraneous, trivial information. The real assessment starts today.