Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Hangover: All Hail Pete Carroll

Congrats to the best football coach of the 21st century in Pete Carroll. I know it sounds crazy but after that defensive demolition his Seahawks laid on the most prolific offense in NFL history, I think he's made his argument easy.

He's the third coach to win a college and pro championship (Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer). He built two championship caliber teams from the ground up a la Jimmy Johnson. More importantly, he changed their identities. USC became attractive to more high school players and the Seahawks are having the best run I've ever seen them have.

He and Jim Harbaugh have changed the idea that college coaches can't succeed in the NFL but their past lives at NFL lifers prepped them for this. Carroll's failures with the Jets and Patriots taught him how to Win Forever and have fun while coaching some great defenses.

I never thought he'd duplicate his USC success in the NFL but now, he's done just that. I saw Carroll transform a culture and he's shaped what the Trojans want in a coach now. He shaped what UCLA looked for in Jim Mora. It's not about wins or losses, it's about culture change and getting people to buy in your system.

Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith knows all about Pete Carroll and success going back to his USC days.
The Seahawks are cool, nasty and young. It's a more seasoned version of his USC teams and he has a quarterback that knows a lot about winning. Carroll used Pac-12 rivals (Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman), Texas talent (Earl Thomas), his keen eye for talent and built Seattle into a scary monster.

I saw USC tendencies on Sunday. Going for it on 4th down up big. Forcing turnovers led by playmaking linebackers. A balance of pass/run with Wilson/Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin looking like Reggie Bush. That game reminded of the 2005 national title game where USC destroyed Oklahoma. It also reminded me why Pete Carroll teams rarely struggled in big games.

I made my case earlier this year why Carroll was the best coach of the BCS era. In four years, he's become arguably the best of the NFL and you have to tip your hat.

While you're at it, tip your hat to Wilson (the 2nd Black QB to win the Super Bowl, something that wasn't talked about much), Smith (the MVP joined his older brother Steve as a Super Bowl champion) and the rest of the L.A. area talent (Sherman, Brandon Mebane, Benson Mayowa) who will bring rings back to my city.

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