Pete Carroll: Better NFL or College Football Coach?


Seattle Seahawks Head Football coach Pete Carroll has a familiar stroll about him. Amongst the egos of Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman to the subtlety of quarterback Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll just fits. Fits in anywhere. This trio harkens you back to Southern California in the mid 2000’s. Names like Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Lendell White. Pete Carroll was there too. Resurrecting the once mighty USC that had fallen into decay.

Nobody really wanted Pete Carroll for the USC position back in 2000. After USC fired Paul Hackett the search was on and Carroll was fourth on the list of coaches behind the likes of Dennis Erickson and Mike Belotti to take the Trojans head job. Donors even said they would stop sending money if Pete Carroll was hired, said he was a ‘never was’ NFL coach who hadn’t even been in the college game for 16 years. After stints as a graduate assistant and coordinators at several different colleges like Ohio State and Iowa State in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Carroll made the leap to the NFL from 1984 to 1999, eventually becoming a head coach with the New York Jets for 1 disastrous season in 1994 and the New England Patriots from 1997-1999. The question back in 2000 was if Pete Carroll could make USC respectable again. Going 2-5 to start the 2001 season didn’t make his detractors shy away from dishing up more criticism.

USC Dominates the BCS Era

From 2003-2005 the USC Trojans won 34 straight games with Pete Carroll at the helm. They won 2 National Titles, 3 Heisman Trophies, and compiled a nearly 84% winning percentage. What was once a struggling powerhouse in the mid to late 90’s became the Renaissance of USC football, all led by Pete Carroll. As much as he was a great coach on the field, Coach Carroll was an effective recruiter off of it, getting Top ranked recruits from around the country even before they were seniors in high school. Affable. Likable. A toothy grin always permeates Pete Carroll’s psyche into young men, telling them that they were winners before they even stepped onto the field.

The Dark Days

Allegations came about in 2010 that Reggie Bush had received improper benefits in his playing days at USC. The use of a house for his family in San Diego. The Heisman Trophy that Bush won at USC had to be vacated. If you go to USC now there’s no indication that Reggie Bush even went to school there. The National Title that USC won in the 2004-2005 season had to be vacated as well. Carroll was shocked at the allegations and denied them fully. The result? A two year Bowl ban and a bevy of scholarships forfeited. The horizon looked bleak. At its greatest triumphs the Trojan general Pete Carroll was there to lap up the victories, would he be there for its biggest defeat as well?

Seattle Seahawks 2011-Present

The USC faithful had its heart broken when Pete Carroll left for the NFL in 2010. It looked like Carroll was the captain of a sinking ship getting off with the women and children first and some in Trojans land will never feel the same about him. But he’s still a coach. Still a motivator of men. In just 5 short years Pete Carroll has brought about the Seahawks in the same manner that he brought USC out of the cold. It culminated in last year’s Super Bowl win against the favored Denver Broncos. Beast Mode. The Seahawks are back again this year in the Super Bowl with Carroll at the controls. So the question is: Is Pete Carroll a better NFL or College Football coach? The answer is this: Pete Carroll could coach at any level, college or pro. He gets the most out of any player. That toothy confidence parlays on the sidelines to victory in any situation. On Sunday if Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks win a second straight Super Bowl most will say that he belongs squarely in the NFL. History will decide the rest…

Next: Ranking Super Bowl Winning Coaches Who Coached in College

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