In a year in which many expected the Seattle Seahawks to win no more than six games, the team defied the odds and finished with a 9-8 mark and a playoff berth, their 10th in 13 seasons under Pete Carroll. And yet, after a controversial offseason that saw legends Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner depart the team, Coach Carroll was not among the finalists for NFL AP Coach of the Year.
The Coach of the Year Finalists have been announced!— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 25, 2023
Who wins the award?! #NFLHonors pic.twitter.com/N6VIHF36hn
Doug Pederson, Nick Sirianni, Brian Daboll, Sean McDermott, and Kyle Shanahan are the five finalists for the award. I believe the only question mark here is McDermott, who did lead the Buffalo Bills to a 13-3 record and another AFC East title, but I don’t really think there was anything exceptional that wasn’t already expected out of Buffalo in the first place. Perhaps the circumstances of how he admirably handled the Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest situation factored into his selection, but I won’t speculate too much on that front. If anything, Zac Taylor’s exclusion is interesting since the Bengals ended the regular season winning 10 of their last 11 games.
Getting back to Carroll, there are plenty of Seahawks fans and some players who have voiced their support for Pete either being a finalist or winning outright.
Pete Carroll snubbed— Seahawks Brasil (@SeahawksBrasil) January 25, 2023
Pete Carroll snubbed per usual https://t.co/0F2hMOWItr— Vinny Fiorino (@VinnyFiorino) January 25, 2023
Dearest NFL,— Brandan Schulze (@SeaHawkersPod) January 25, 2023
Coach Peter Clay Carroll would like a word.
PS - Do Better!!! pic.twitter.com/UitaOQn5Ip
Pete Carroll is snubbed once again— Geno Smith Enthusiast (@BroWhoTf_Cares) January 25, 2023
Pete Carroll snubbed— hawkies (@Jammedbob) January 25, 2023
Peter Clay Carroll. https://t.co/qrS0XSq0If— Geno (@GenoSmith3) January 25, 2023
Man I don’t understand how Pete isn’t a finalist! not a top 5 coaching job with a team everybody expected to be sorry? Y’all killed me last year when I said “Pete told me we’re not rebuilding we’re trying to win now!” once i resigned! https://t.co/EiNHB6HX6p— Nino (@qdiggs6) January 25, 2023
I’m going to be a little controversial here. I believe Pete Carroll did a really good job with this year’s team and he could’ve been nominated as a finalist, but there’s zero case for him actually winning Coach of the Year this season.
If we go by precedent, Jimmy Johnson is the last coach to win Coach of the Year without a 10+ win season. Jimmy turned the Cowboys from 1-15 to 7-9 in 1990, and that was enough for voters to be won over. Everyone else who has won COTY since then has done at least one of the following:
1.) Substantially improved the team’s win total from the previous season.
2.) Qualified for the playoffs.
3.) Won their division.
The Seahawks only did one of the three, so belief that they were supposed to be terrible doesn’t appear to factor in. Their win improvement from 2021 was +2 and they didn’t come close to winning a mostly poor NFC West. Doug Pederson is a finalist with a 9-8 record, but he also won the AFC South and Jacksonville improved their win total by six games.
Unfortunately, I believe Seattle’s lackluster end to the regular season cost Pete a finalist spot. If you can excuse losses to the 49ers and Chiefs, their stumbles at home against the Panthers and Raiders put them in minor miracle mode to qualify for the postseason. Had the Seahawks finished, say, 11-6, I believe Pete would’ve been up there.
Funnily enough, you can make a case that the Seahawks making the playoffs with the help (and at the expense) of the Detroit Lions might have denied Dan Campbell a Coach of the Year finalist nod. Detroit was a 3-11-1 squad in 2021 and improved to 9-8 this year, only missing out on the tiebreaker with the Seahawks. Had Seattle missed and Detroit qualified, there’s no doubt in my mind Campbell would’ve had a finalist nomination.
Carroll might have gotten shutout of the final voting, but Seattle has plenty of player representation in the form of rookies Ken Walker III and Tariq Woolen, as well as Geno Smith. This could be the first time in the Carroll era that any Seahawk has won an NFL Honors AP award.