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If not Pete Carroll, then who?

Suppose Pete Carroll leaves the Seahawks today, who would you want as head coach instead?

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There is no debating that Pete Carroll is the greatest and most accomplished coach in Seattle Seahawks history. Longtime Field Gulls readers know that the Carroll hire back in 2010 wasn’t exactly universally met with open arms, particularly given his previous head coaching jobs in the NFL and, well, at least I harbored deep dislike of USC. Needless to say, it was a brilliant move and we got to experience a Super Bowl win for the first time.

But Carroll still divides opinion on this site and among Seahawks fans as a whole. Does the run the ball too much? Why did he challenge that call? When is he going to go for it on 4th down more and not trust his defense? How much of his success is actually because of Russell Wilson, blah blah blah, you get the idea. The lack of a deep playoff run since Super Bowl XLIX combined with the Wilson trade has definitely sparked a lot of debates, some of which I’ve stoked myself! It wasn’t too long ago I said on this site that I’d rather keep Wilson and let Pete go, and there may be some of you who shared the same sentiment at the time and still believe that right now!

Even the most ardent Carroll critic has to admit the good times have far outweighed the bad, and there hasn’t been a lot of bad to stew over.

So let’s do a little exercise here, if only because we’re trying to get through the dullest part of the offseason but also it’s going to come up eventually.

Suppose Pete Carroll decides “You know what? I’m frickin’ done competing.” and then abruptly retires today. You get to hire any active head coach or assistant coach in the NFL or college football (or a currently unemployed coach who is not retired, e.g. Lovie Smith). This is not a “for 2023 only” deal and you don’t get to bring any players with said new head coach with you. Andy Reid is an easy answer because of his titles in Kansas City plus his history of elite offenses. USC’s Lincoln Riley is often thought of as the next genius in waiting, but I’m still waiting for any of his college teams to field something resembling an average defense. Mike McDaniel almost pulled off a playoff win in Buffalo with Skylar Thompson as his quarterback, and his former boss Kyle Shanahan of course has been hailed for his work with the 49ers. Lots of options to choose from, but you can only take one to replace Pete!

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