We talk about Pete Carroll and John Schneider a lot here regarding the rebuilding of this Seahawks roster - their plans, their salary cap work, their personnel decisions - and we constantly try to get inside the brain trust in charge of all that. One part of the equation that we don't really talk about a whole lot is Paul Allen's role in everything and there is a lack of transparency in terms of how much he is involved in the day-to-day stuff. The assumption is that he's fairly hands-off, and that's probably true, but in a world with Mike Browns, Jerry Joneses, and formerly Al Davises, it's interesting to look in to.
Paul Allen and Pete Carroll have both written books, something that is perhaps a point of delight to their respective critics; John Schneider will likely never write a book, and that's totally fine. Below is an amalgamation of quotes that may shed some light on their thought towards the 2011 Seahawks and beyond.
John Schneider on his philosophy of acquiring talent: "Comprehensive Aggressive."
Draft, Big Time Free Agency, Small Time Free Agency, Undrafted Guys, the CFL. He is digging under every rock with an obvious Green Bay respect toward the draft, but a willingness to seek value outside of it. I think everything he has done in the last year has demonstrated this philosophy, though his critics would say he was not aggressive enough in obtaining a (the) Franchise Quarterback.
As for Paul Allen - his book, Idea Man, can shed a little light on his psyche and stance towards the Seahawks, though it goes into more detail on his ownership of the Blazers than of the Seahawks. First, on buying the Blazers- "As we wrapped up, Weinberg said he would take $65 million. Ten minutes later, we had a handshake deal. I was thirty-five years old and the youngest owner in major-league sports." Microsoft went IPO in 1986, and Allen bought the Blazers in 1988. He was a billionaire by 1990.
He offers thoughts on not getting too close to players - Clyde Drexler acted like Paul's friend initially, only to call him at all hours of the night to get a new contract. Allen: "It's fine to be friendly with your players and to care about them, but you have to be careful about crossing the line. Get too close, and it may come back to bite you when it's time to renew a contract or weigh a trade."
On his involvement in the Blazer's roster (who knows what it is with the Seahawks): "I've tried to strike a balance as a team owner, to be involved and accountable while preserving my executive's freedom to shape the roster. My job is oversight, not execution. While I sign off on trades or free agents, I've rarely overruled my basketball people's decisions. But I'm not shy about steering the discussion or pushing deeper if something doesn't make sense to me."
Some more possibly intriguing quotes, with a glimpse into how he may run the Seahawks:
On the 1989 NBA Draft, in which he drafted future All-Star and major Blazers' contributor Cliff Robinson in the 2nd round (which is essentially equivalent to the 7th round in the NFL): "That draft taught me how quickly a team's fortunes can change with one or two good decisions."
On the Clyde Drexler era- "Those were glorious years. I watched up to 300 games a season, live and on TV..."
On the 1994 hiring of Ex-Sonic GM Bob Whitsitt: "Whitsitt proceeded to overhaul our aging roster as he'd done in Seattle (Supersonics), drafting young athletes with upside and adding big name veterans. A few of his moves were brilliant (like Scottie Pippen)... But there were too many times when Whitsitt operated like a rotisserie-league GM, piling up players with gaudy numbers. He openly professed that he cared only about talent, to the exclusion of character and other intangibles."
On how he could tolerate overpaying free agents and the apalling culture of the JailBlazers- "The short answer was that we kept winning."
On the ending of Whitsitt's run, as the payroll ballooned and his players got arrested: "Deep down I knew something was wrong." He then fired Whitsitt, cleaned house, and missed the playoffs in 2004 for the first time in 21 years. In 2005 they went 21-61 and were "the worst team in the league."
On the NBA Draft, and the 2006 NBA Draft in particular: "The NBA Draft is one of my favorite days of the year. I begin preparing weeks ahead of time, poring over our five hundred page draft book and watching hours of college game highlights. The day before the big event, I convene with our personnel guys in Portland to watch more film and hear from our international scout. Then we head to a restaurant to hash out player rankings over dinner."
He was, at the time of writing, happy about drafting Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. Note though, that in 2007 they drafted Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. Would this decision factor into his mindset with the Seahawks?
This attention to detail on Allen's part makes you wonder exactly how involved he is with the personnel decisions the Seahawks make. One thing I believe: no way in HELL the Seahawks trade three 1s for our QBOTF without him asking a ton of questions and signing off on it.
On adding a new player to the Blazers now: "Today we're building a contender the old fashioned way. Before we add a new player we ask ourselves: How would he fit? Does he work hard? Will he balance his ego with the needs of the team?"
Paul Allen goes on write another chapter on the Seahawks, but the roster building is not that informative, especially compared to the Blazers. Football has grown on him, but I think his approach toward team building, the Draft and free agency has been partially shaped by his time in the NBA.
I also believe his experience with Bob Whitsitt opened the door for Tim Ruskell to sell him his 'character' mantra. Once Paul figured out that they weren't getting the talent, he obviously chose to not renew Tim's contract.
Obviously, Pete Carroll and John Schneider must have sold him on some sort of five-year plan or they wouldn't have gotten the job. Actually, maybe Pete would have benn hired no matter what - as Paul went "big game hunting" for a 'Name' coach.
I am sure John Schneider had to pass the "Not Bob Whitsitt, and Not Tim Ruskell" sniff test with Paul. Very interesting stuff.
More to come later, that's all I've got for now...