The following piece was written and submitted in April of 2017 shortly after the Seattle Seahawks originally signed Bradley McDougald on March 22, 2017. It has been edited for clarity since it was originally authored on a mobile device. The article was never published due to a communication error between myself and the Managing Editor & Lead Writer for Field Gulls. (Author’s note: When I say communication error, that’s my way of saying I forgot to email Kenny and tell him I had submitted the article so that he would know to review, edit and schedule it for your reading pleasure.)
The main portion of the article should be read with the understanding that it was written months before the 2017 season ever took place, and was not meant to be taken seriously. In the heart of the lull between free agency and the draft, it was simply supposed to be a humorous look at the addition of McDougald to the roster. I didn’t actually foresee the 2017 season and the havoc McDougald would bring upon the Seahawks franchise, but it is what it is. At the end I have added a small bit regarding 2017 and what may be in store for the future now that McDougald is under contract through 2020.
Even casual observers are aware of the negative impact of the on field performance the Seahawks defense suffered after losing Earl Thomas to a broken leg two thirds of the way through the  season, and in an effort to avoid similar issues in 2017 the Hawks recently signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Bradley McDougald. On a one year contract at a very reasonable $1.8M, the addition to the secondary depth is plenty welcome for many fans. In addition, it also gives the team a bit more flexibility in the draft as there is not a glaring hole at the backup safety spot.
However, one person who should not be resting easy after having added McDougald to the fold is Pete Carroll. In spite of his size, athleticism and his experience as a starting safety in the NFL, McDougald has one downside the team may not have considered prior to adding McDougald. He has an unquestionably proven ability to get coaches fired.
Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter was the third different coach McDougald had played under while with the Bucs, having spent 2014 and 2015 under Lovie Smith and the tail end of 2013 under Greg Schiano. It took McDougald only half a season in Tampa to get Schiano fired. At first McDougald appeared to have lost his magic, as the 4-12 Bucs recorded three wins in a row immediately after McDougald was added. However, as soon as McDougald was allowed to see the field, the Bucs returned to their losing ways, dropping four of their final five games after McDougald first saw action in the Week 12 matchup against the Detroit Lions. That poor finish by Tampa included a three game losing streak to end the year and marked the end of Schiano’s time with the Bucs.
Especially impressive about McDougald’s ability to tank the 2013 season for the Bucs was the fact that while he was doing that, he was busy tanking the same 2013 season for the Kansas City Chiefs. Undrafted out of Kansas in 2013, McDougald made the Chiefs roster as a special teamer and backup out of training camp. However, the Chiefs decided they didn’t need McDougald and waived him on November 5, at which time the Chiefs were 9-0. After being told he was no longer needed, McDougald left behind a giant stink bomb of season crush, driving the Chiefs to finish 2-5 over over their last seven games. Even the two wins came against horrid competition, specifically the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders who combined for a 7-25 record in 2013. To top off that slide, the Chiefs then went one and done in the playoffs, losing 45-44 to the Indianapolis Colts in a shootout where some extra defensive backs might have helped.
Getting two coaches fired and doing his best to get a third coach fired during his time in Tampa might not be much to worry about in and of itself, but McDougald also worked the same coach killing magic while in college. McDougald committed to play college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks in 2008, the second of back to back bowl seasons, including a 2007 season that culminated with a 12-1 record and a victory in the Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech. However, as soon as McDougald arrived on campus in 2009 things spun out of control for the Jayhawks and head coach Mark Mangino. After posting a combined record of 20-6 in 2007 and 2008, the 2009 Jayhawks finished 5-7 with Mangino being forced to resign at the end of the year.
The Jayhawks were quick to recruit Turner Gill away from the University of Buffalo to replace Mangino. In Buffalo Gill had overseen a turnaround for the University of Buffalo Bulls, but upon arriving in Lawrence the Jayhawks went just 5-19 in two seasons under Gill. That led to Gill being told to pack his things and get out following the 2011 season.
In spite of seeing two coaches ousted in three seasons, McDougald still was not done, and in 2012 he set about doing what he could to get new head coach Charlie Weis fired in his short time remaining at the school. Having failed at Notre Dame, Weis was no stranger to losing and combined with McDougald’s magic the Jayhawks went just 1-11 in 2012, with that lone victory coming over the mighty South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the season opener. McDougald worked his charm to the tune of an 11 game losing streak, including losses to two non-power five conference teams, Rice and Northern Illinois. Even after leaving Kansas following the 2012 season, McDougald continued to work his anti-Weis magic from his new home in Kansas City. The only games the Jayhawks won in 2013 were two early season games played while the Chiefs were on the road and a November home game against a West Virginia team that came in having lost four of their last five. Let’s just say it wasn’t too much longer before Charlie Weis was shown the door despite a fully guaranteed contract that continued to pay him for years after his firing from Kansas.
In short, while it is great that the Hawks have added McDougald to shore up depth in the secondary, don’t be surprised if Pete Carroll ends up looking for work somewhere else next offseason. McDougald has a documented history of aiding his coaches to the unemployment line, and assuming he makes the opening day roster in 2017, Carroll will be McDougald’s eighth head coach over the last nine seasons (Author’s note: I was unable to find any information on whether McDougald’s high school coach(es) survived his wrath, but to be completely honest I didn’t look all that hard. I’ve seen enough evidence of McDougald’s ruthlessness.), and the only coaches who have survived McDougald are Andy Reid and Dirk Koetter. Further, while Reid survived, it appears he did so only by torpedoing the Chiefs’ season just a year into the job. Meanwhile, in Tampa Koetter remains on the hot seat and only time will tell whether he can survive the wrath of McDougald and stay off the hot seat in 2017.
In summary, as long as McDougald is with the Hawks, I may have to temper my expectations for the 2017 season, and in any case I’ll certainly be sure to keep one eye on McDougald as he sets out to work his anti-coach magic yet again.
From my perspective it appears as though McDougald did his thing yet again in 2017, and the only reason Carroll is still around is because he engineered a mass exodus of both coaches and several star players. Gone are Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable and Kris Richard, along with Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman and Jimmy Graham, along with DeShawn Shead, Paul Richardson, Jeremy Lane and multiple others.
Yet Bradley McDougald remains.
Specifically, in spite of forcing Seattle into missing the playoffs in 2017 for the first time since 2011, the Seahawks have signed McDougald to a three year contract that runs through the 2020 season. That means John Schneider might as well go ahead and hire a headhunter to start looking for Carroll’s replacement as soon as possible.
The three year extension McDougald signs means by the time that contract is complete he will have been a Seahawk for four seasons. Know where else McDougald played football for four seasons? Both at the University of Kansas and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And what do both Kansas and the Bucs have in common regarding the four years that McDougald spent playing football for each? They both went through three head coaches in those four years.
So, last year it may have been just a feeling, but this year I’m certain that 2018 is the last year the Seahawks will have Pete Carroll as head coach. He might as well pre-write his resume now to note that the Hawks missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons as a direct result of McDougald’s presence. Specifically, Seattle was 4-5 in games in which McDougald played more than a dozen and a half defensive snaps.
Now, I know some commenter is going to jump in and be all like, “Well, the reason they had a worse record when McDougald was playing was because he was a backup and with the regular starter hurt, McDougald’s presence means there was already an issue.” Hogwash. McDougald gets coaches fired, and that’s that because there is nothing further to discuss. End of discussion. Period, the end.
Back to the topic at hand, with McDougald’s proven track record of going through three coaches in four years at both Kansas and in Tampa, that makes the pertinent question at hand not how the Seahawks will do in 2018 or who will the coach be in 2019 after Pete Carroll is fired.
The only important question now is who will be the coach in 2020 after Pete Carroll’s successor goes one and done in 2019?