A GRIP ON SPORTS
It wasn't that long ago Pete Carroll was known as a guy who was a great college football coach. A great college football coach. The NFL? He had failed at that. But today Carroll can look in the mirror and know the guy looking back at him is also a successful NFL coach. Read on.
• Winning a Super Bowl title means a lot of things to a lot of people. To fans, it's satisfaction. All those losses and disappointments are washed away, at least for the few months until the season begins again. For players, it's a line on their resume no one can ever take away from them. For coaches, it's the same – and, in many cases, more. Carroll is a good example of that. February's win was about redemption. He had always been successful coaching football as an assistant and as a college head coach. But the one black mark – to be precise, two black marks – on his legacy was his NFL head coaching experience. Though he had won games, his stints in New England and New York had ended badly. So badly, in fact, he wasn't USC's first choice when it hired him and the decision was roundly criticized at the time. It was only after he started winning did the Los Angeles media begin to come around. It didn't hurt that Carroll's way of doing things – wearing his emotions on his sleeves, welcoming the media to every practice, having fun at every opportunity – was perfect for Hollywood. And most importantly, he won. But there was still that question. Could he win in the NFL? It was asked when he signed on with the Hawks, leaving USC just before the NCAA posse treated the Trojans like the Clanton brothers. It was still asked after the first year, the second year and the third. But it will be asked no longer. As he sat at the dais and talked with the media about his contract extension with the Hawks yesterday, it was obvious this is a man who has proven himself – to himself. And that, more than the USC problems, was why Carroll left LA and moved north. He had to prove he could follow in the footsteps of Lombardi and Noll and Belichick, that he could win as an NFL head coach. He has. And now he has a shiny new contract extension is his pocket, one that will keep him in Seattle more than likely until he hangs up his high fives. Will he go out a winner? That's hard to say considering the NFL's tough salary cap guidelines that make putting together a dynasty nearly impossible these days. But he's a winner now. And that's what he came to Seattle to prove.
• WSU: The Cougars will practice again today and Jacob Thorpe will be there. He had one blog post yesterday, highlighting his five questions with coach Eric Russell. ... The Cougars baseball weekend couldn't have started any better. ... For a guy who supposed to never play again, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson had a heck of a day yesterday. ... It's Saturday, so we pass along the mailbag from ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog.
• EWU: Spring football has descended on Cheney, with the Eagles hoping to play one more game at the end of next season than they did at the end of the last one. Jim Allen was at the first spring workout and has this story.
• Idaho: The Vandals will scrimmage today after another spring practice last night. Josh Wright was at the workout and has this blog post.
• Chiefs: Portland opened the second round of the WHL playoffs the same way its played most of the season: dominant.
• Shock: A fast start can make an Arena League football game an uphill battle for your opponent. The Shock's fast start Friday night made it more like trying to scale Mt. Everest with Navy Seals defending the summit. A 28-7 lead resulted in Spokane defeating San Jose 73-62 in California. We have a story and Jim Meehan has more in this blog post.
• Preps: Jim Allen goes a little off the beaten path for this feature on a Central Valley athlete. ... Chic Sale, one of Spokane's best known football officials, has died. Chris Derrick has his obituary today.
• Seahawks: Besides the Carroll news, there really isn't a lot to talk about with the Hawks. Oh, there was a backup player signing with the Giants and that's about all.
• Mariners: The Oakland Coliseum is an embarrassment to baseball. It's been that way for years. Yesterday the M's and A's couldn't play because the grounds crew left the tarp off the infield (pictured) and it rained like crazy. So much so the field wasn't safe to play on. Nicely done. ... Hector Noesi gave up one game-winning gopher ball the other night. The M's decided he shouldn't be given the opportunity to do it again. They designated him for assignment and called up a minor league pitcher. ... I found this Ryan Divish blog post really interesting. I read somewhere recently Major League umpires miss 14 percent of the ball strike calls, which seemed high. Still, if you were to make mistakes on 14 percent of your decisions at work, how long would you still have a job? Or would your next job be predicting the rain for the A's?
• Sounders: It's rivalry day. Expect a hard-fought battle between Portland and Seattle, a couple of chippy plays, a bunch of screaming at the referees, the Timbers' coach to blame the outcome – if it is negative toward his team – on the officiating and no one to be all that happy when it's done. In other words, a typical MLS match between teams that don't like each other much.
• Enjoy your Saturday. The days are slowly getting nicer. It's supposed to be almost 70 around here next week. Good time to slice a few balls into the woods, wouldn't you say? Until later ...