So, how do you feel about Pete Carroll?

No, not the Carroll that led the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, one world championship and nine playoff appearances in 11 seasons. Not the coach who revitalized this town’s football franchise and turned everyone within 200 miles into a 12. 

I’m talking about the Pete Carroll of today. Is he the guy you want to lead this team going forward? 

I understand why some people around here might answer that with a resounding “no.” They see a coach who, ever since signing off on that pass play on second-and-goal from the 1 in the Super Bowl, has never gotten back to the conference championship game. They see someone who, by season’s end, will have won just one playoff game in the past five years.

Father Time can affect coaches, too, and Carroll is the oldest coach in the NFL. It’s certainly possible that the game has passed him by.



Besides, Carroll isn’t just the Seahawks’ head coach. The understanding is that he has the final say on all personnel decisions — be it draft picks, free-agent signings or trades. And how has that worked out recently? Trading two first-round picks to the Jets for the struggling, oft-injured Jamal Adams — whom Seattle made the highest-paid safety in the league — is looking borderline disastrous. Other than receiver DK Metcalf and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (who made it as an alternate), the Seahawks haven’t drafted a Pro Bowl position player in six years.


That streak might very well extend to seven years given their current lack of draft capital. You can see why quarterback Russell Wilson felt pangs of discontent last offseason — pangs that will likely resurface this offseason given Seattle’s 5-10 record right now.

But let’s take a step back for a second. Is it possible that disgruntled Seahawks fans are really just spoiled ones? After all, in the past 10 seasons, no NFC team has won more games than Seattle. As for this year’s drop-off? That happens to the best coaches in the league.

Super Bowl-winning Saints coach Sean Payton has long been one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches — yet New Orleans had three straight losing seasons from 2014-2016 with a healthy Drew Brees. Patriots coach Bill Belichick might be the greatest football coach of all time, but when Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay last year, the Patriots went 7-9.

Rams wunderkind coach Sean McVay missed the playoffs the year after reaching the Super Bowl. Same thing happened to Kyle Shanahan with the 49ers last year and Ron Rivera with the Panthers in 2016. 

Warding off failure in a league that prides itself on parity is nearly impossible, yet Carroll has done it about as well as anybody in the past decade. Do you really want to move on from that? 

Plus, on Friday, Pete stated what every fan must know. Asked the main reason Seattle wasn’t a playoff team this year, he said, “I don’t know how many teams make it when they lose their quarterback in the middle of the year.” 


The Seahawks were literally without Wilson for three games, and seeing how he was far from 100 percent upon returning, figuratively without him for three more. They have also been without starting running back Chris Carson, backup running back Rashaad Penny and the aforementioned Adams for most of the year. And yet, there hasn’t been a game this season in which Seattle — which has given up just one more point than it has scored — hasn’t had a chance to win

The reason? A defense tied for seventh in the league for points allowed at 20.5 per game (fourth place is 20.3). And though defensive coordinator Ken Norton deserves credit, the Seahawks’ “D” has long been Carroll’s baby.  

I’m no Pete Carroll apologist. I recognize his swings and misses on the personnel front. I’m aware of the repeated clock-management stumbles. I think back to that playoff loss to the Cowboys three years ago and still can’t understand why Seattle was so insistent on running the ball when the ground attack clearly wasn’t working. 

Still, I’m not sure there’s anyone on the market who would be better than Pete. I don’t think you can denounce a coach whose team always had a chance despite playing without its quarterback for much of the year. 

Does Carroll deserve criticism? Absolutely he does. Does he deserve a pass? I think that’s a yes, too.