Seahawks' setup favored by Carroll
Pete Carroll had a mission when he took over as coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 2010 -- to prove that his large-and-in-charge coaching model could work in the NFL. It was not the way things operated during his three years in New England.
"This is a football game we play," Carroll said Monday. "There is a business that goes along with it, but the football, I think, has to be run by football people. I thought this was an extraordinary opportunity from the day that I arrived in Seattle to prove that. We've set out to kind of show that this is the way organizations can be run.
"Look where we are. This has been the best format for me. Maybe it isn't for other people, but it is for me."
After two seasons of building, Seattle has three consecutive years of double-digit victories and will make a repeat Super Bowl appearance Sunday against the New England Patriots, the first team since the Patriots in the 2003-04 seasons to do that.
Officially, Carroll is the executive vice president in charge of football operations, and to best understand his pull and power, he was hired eight days before general manager John Schneider joined the team in January 2010.
After being fired in New England in 1999 despite no losing seasons in three years, Carroll found his niche at USC, where the Trojans won two national championships and were named Sports Illustrated's team of the decade for the 2000s.
The contrast in job responsibilities at his NFL stops bracketing USC is striking -- "entirely different," he said.
The Seahawks' job description "really came of the years at SC, where we had an athletic director and the football head," Carroll said. "I had the opportunity there to make every decision, from recruiting, academics to everything. Responsible for all of that. I felt like that was really an opportunity for me to be at my best.
"When this opportunity came here, it was expressed and clearly laid out that I could have the same type of responsibility and the same kind of approach. It's been really instrumental, because the way we do things is not the way a lot of other people do things.
"It's done our way. We have our own language, our own control, our own decision-making process. I think it has made all the difference in the world. It's what every coach needs, I think, to be at his best. The format and structure that is generally accepted in the league is not that. I understand why."
Since dismissing Carroll, Patriots owner Robert Kraft seemingly has come to embrace that style as well. Bill Belichick, who replaced Carroll, is seen as the man who controls everything football in New England.
Carroll said he made that point with Kraft after he left. Belichick was hired shortly thereafter.
"Robert and I had a terrific relationship, and I didn't hold back when we talked," Carroll said. "I had one opportunity to say something to him about that and I thought it was really a unique hire, a special hire, and a guy who would really fit in well if he let him do what he was capable of doing.
"Bill is a very open, free thinker and a guy who needs that kind of control to be at his best. I don't know how they structured it, how they defined it, but it's worked, historically, in extraordinary fashion. They have made a great statement over the last 10 years. Robert has really grown as well, obviously."