Previous stops on the promotional tour for Pete Carroll's new book, "Win Forever," turned into grillings about USC sanctions, but on his final stop the tone of a Seattle crowd was different. Now, finally, the Seahawks coach can turn to training camp.
The book is titled “Win Forever,” and Pete Carroll’s promotional tour didn’t last quite that long. At times, though, it may have seemed like it.
It spanned two weeks from its start in New York and will conclude Saturday with a signing at the Ballard QFC at noon.
The whole thing took place in the shadow of NCAA sanctions levied against USC last month, which turned the past two weeks into a media gauntlet. At times the whole thing resembled a Whack-a-Mole game, the one where you take a hammer to plastic rodents that rear their heads.
Carroll pops up in New York — whack! — he’s prodded into repeating that he feels oh so awful that this has happened. He spends the day at ESPN’s headquarters in Connecticut — boom! — he’s asked about a car, house and cash that Reggie Bush supposedly received.
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Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline called him shameless. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports compared him to Jeff Spicoli, Sean Penn’s character from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
Sitting ducks aren’t as easy a target as Carroll, whose book release and promotional tour couldn’t have been timed more poorly.
It wasn’t planned that way. The book was darn near done before he took the Seahawks job in January and was shipped off to the printers by the spring. That fact alone might be Carroll’s best piece of evidence that when he left USC, he had no inkling of the severity of the sanctions that would be hurled at the Trojans’ chin. After all, if he knew the NCAA was about to show up and ground the Trojans, suspend their driving privileges and send them to bed without any supper, he probably would have planned to wait on releasing that book about the secrets to his success.
There was no turning back once the book was published, though, not with all proceeds to benefit his charity, A Better L.A. The result was a promotional tour that appeared tone deaf at best or aloof and willfully ignorant at worst.
But something else also became clear. The crowds of fans drawn to Carroll weren’t nearly so critical of Carroll or his intentions.
Carroll made a lunch appearance Friday sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce at the Westin Hotel. In front of a crowd of about 150, he spoke about his goals in the book and answered 11 questions. Not one of them dealt with the sanctions or the NCAA.
The temperature of a crowd that paid to hear Carroll talk about his book is hardly a scientific measure of public opinion. But it does show that at this point and in this town, the public isn’t that interested in another recitation of Carroll’s appraisal of the sanctions.
Those questions have been asked and answered. Repeatedly.
So if two weeks of promoting the book did nothing else, it closed that chapter.
Now he returns to the NFL, what he called on Friday “the challenge of a competitor’s lifetime.” His book begins with the epiphany he experienced in the months after he was fired by the New England Patriots. It began while he was reading a book by John Wooden that prompted him to refine the philosophy that he now sees as the backbone to his success at USC.
In that way, his book is a 223-page prologue to his return to the NFL with the Seahawks. That begins in earnest next Saturday, when his new team begins training camp.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org