You’d never tell by his energy. The man is a “wooh!” machine who never stops pacing, engaging or slapping high-fives.
You’d never tell by his mannerisms, either. I’ve seen him drop hip-hop lyrics before taking the podium in training camp.
Perhaps the only way to really tell is by his birth certificate — which says that Sept. 15, 2021, Pete Carroll turned 70. And judging by his outlook, this is far from the last birthday he’ll celebrate as coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
“I feel great. I’m really grateful and appreciate where we are right now, this opportunity to be here, work with this franchise for the Allen family and their support, for the fans that we love to deal with,” Carroll said. “Everything that we are doing here is really just as good as I hoped. I’m so grateful for that, and I’m lucky to have been found here.”
Carroll is now just one of three people to coach an NFL team on a non-interim basis in their 70s. The others are George Halas, who coached the Bears until he was 72, and Marv Levy, who coached the Bills until he was 72.
Considering Carroll received a contract extension that would keep him in Seattle until he is 74, it looks probable that he will retire as the oldest to have a head-coaching job in the league. Could he quit unexpectedly? Sure. But there is little reason to think he will.
For one, he has an in-his-prime, future Hall of Fame quarterback in Russell Wilson. And though the eight-time Pro Bowler displayed discontent with the organization this offseason, he seems to have made amends with his coach. Should the Seahawks beat the Titans on Sunday, it would mark win No. 100 for the 10th-year quarterback, all of which will have come under Carroll. And he just had the second-most efficient game of his career during Sunday’s win over Indianapolis, in which he posted a passer rating of 152.3.
He also is under contract through the 2023 season, when he would turn 35. Would the ultra competitive Carroll really walk away from that situation?
There might have been a time when folks around here thought Carroll was on loan from Los Angeles. It was in that city he achieved national acclaim thanks to his dominance as USC’s coach. The Rams’ return to L.A. a few years back might have scared some Seattleites into thinking Carroll would go back to the country’s No. 2 market as a coach or executive. But as he stands in the midst of his 12th season with the Seahawks, it’s clear he considers the Northwest home.
“I’ve said it to you guys, but people would ask, ‘Why did you come here,’ and I didn’t know at the time, really, but I do know now,” Carroll said. “This is an amazing place to work and to represent, and I’m very grateful for it.”
Only twice has Carroll missed the playoffs during his tenure in Seattle. The first was in 2011, when the Seahawks went 7-9, and the second was in 2017, when they went 9-7.
Save for Bill Belichick in New England, there hasn’t been a more consistent coach in the NFL over the past couple of decades — at least in the regular season. So how has he been able to do it?
One obvious aspect is experience. Failed stints with the Jets and Patriots — combined with his success at Southern Cal — likely informed many of his coaching decisions with the Seahawks. But there is also a connection with his players that seems tighter than the average NFL coach.
On Wednesday, linebacker Bobby Wagner, whom Carroll drafted alongside Wilson in 2012, was asked about his coach’s approach.
“From the moment that I got here in 2012, I feel like he was always a player’s coach and always a person that wanted to see you do well in life,” Wagner said. “I remember him calling a lot of us up and just talking about things outside of football and opened up about his journey to what got him to this point. He wanted to push us to think about what life looks like after football. I always respected him for that, because most coaches don’t do that.”
There is quite a bit that Carroll has done that other coaches haven’t. There is quite a bit more that he wants to accomplish, too.
He says he still feels great. Gotta think fans feel great that he’s still here.
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