When Pete Carroll became the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks in 2010, he was expected to bring some college enthusiasm with him to the National Football League. From 2001-2009, Carroll was the head football coach of the USC Trojans where he compiled a record of 97-19 which included a pair of national championships and seven straight Pac-10 Titles. Upon joining the Seahawks, Carroll was able to build off of what was started by his predecessor in Mike Holmgren as he led Seattle to an NFC West Title in 2010 in spite of having a 7-9 record. Carroll would build the Seahawks into a title contender throughout a bevy of trades and skilled drafting which led to Seattle claiming their first and only Super Bowl Championship at the conclusion of the 2013 NFL season. But as quickly as things came together in the Pacific Northwest, things have come apart equally as quick for the Seahawks.
In Super Bowl 49, the Seahawks appeared poised to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Late in the contest the Seahawks had second-and-goal from inside the New England Patriots one-yard line. All signs pointed to running back Marshawn Lynch getting the football for the Seahawks, but instead quarterback Russell Wilson threw a slant pass that was intended for wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. However Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler stepped in to intercept that pass and seal the victory for New England. The Seahawks were in shock, and this is something that they have never recovered from.
The 2015 National Football League season began with Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor holding out for a new contract. Chancellor would not receive the new deal, and the Seahawks went 0-2 without him. The Seahawks were still able to make the playoffs, but instead of winning the NFC West, and potentially having a first-round bye, Seattle had to begin the postseason on the road as a wild card. The Seahawks would be eliminated in the second round of the playoff by the Carolina Panthers and the contest would also mark Lynch’s last game with Seattle as he announced his retirement, and since then it has been downhill for Carroll and crew.
Age and injuries are catching up the Seahawks as the past National Football League season marked the first time since 2011 that Seattle missed the playoffs. And coincidentally that year was also the last season in which the Seahawks failed to post a winning record at home. But now the Seahawks are in an unfamiliar spot this off-season.
This off-season the Seahawks traded longtime defensive end Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles, while they released cornerback Richard Sherman as their legendary defense is now a thing of the past. Sherman was a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2011, and he would morph into one of the better cornerbacks in the National Football League. During Sherman’s stint with the Seahawks, he would be a four-time Pro Bowl selection, while he teamed with Chancellor and free safety Earl Thomas to give Seattle the famed “Legion Of Boom” secondary. Sherman suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in Seattle’s ninth game this past season which ended his campaign. And as Sherman is set to be 30-years of age later this month, the Seahawks front office felt that it was time to move on from the three-time All-Pro.
It didn’t take Sherman that long to land on his feet as less than a week after his release, he found a new team to play for as he is staying within the NFC West as he joined the San Francisco 49ers as this era of Seahawks football is officially done, and the blame starts and ends with Carroll and Wilson.
In not giving the football to Lynch to win Super Bowl 49, Carroll unofficially lost his defense as they never appeared to be on the same page with their head coach following the loss, while Wilson was given too much credit for the team’s success.
Wilson was a third-round selection by the Seahawks in 2012, and he was the missing link for this team to become a championship team. In 2012, Wilson threw 26 touchdown passes to just 10 interceptions en route to being named as the National Football League’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. And when the Seahawks defeated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48, it wasn’t because Wilson put the team on his back.
For the game Wilson was 18-of-25 passing for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns. However the Seahawks forced four turnovers which included a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Malcolm Smith, while kick returner Percy Harvin returned the opening kick of the second half for a touchdown. The Seahawks easily defeated the Broncos 43-8 as their defense was lights out. And in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, that same defense bailed out Wilson as he threw 5 interceptions. But the Seahawks still found a way to defeat the Green Bay Packers as Wilson was finally able to get his act together in the final stages of the fourth quarter as well as overtime which came after the defense kept Seattle in the game.
In 2015, the Seahawks gave Wilson a new four-year deal for $87.6 million as the quarterback position is the most overpaid and overhyped in all of professional sports. Since Wilson got his huge payday for being a game manager, the Seahawks traded longtime center Max Unger, lost offensive tackle Russell Okung in free agency, and saw Lynch leave on offense as each player was key to Seattle’s Super Bowl run. And now the dissecting on defense has begun.
But players such as Sherman, Bennett, Thomas, and Chancellor have always been outspoken which is something that Carroll embraced. And now Carroll cannot be dismayed by this outspoken nature when it works against him as the defense has been critical of him and Wilson following Seattle’s loss in the Super Bowl. Carroll created a team of alpha-males, and what could he or anyone expect from this defense when Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell made the worst play-call in Super Bowl history? That one play in Super Bowl 49 will forever define Carroll in spite of the fact that he along with Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer are the only head coaches to win both a national championship in college football as well as a Super Bowl Title. And in the process not giving the football to Lynch on the goal line robbed the Seahawks from being just the ninth team in National Football League history to repeat as Super Bowl Champs as the “Legion Of Boom” would have been associated with legendary defenses.
So even though that the dismantling of the Seahawks had already begun a few years ago, things have now accelerated, and you can expect the days for both Thomas and Chancellor in Seattle to be winding down. And all that Carroll and the Seahawks will be left with is an overpaid and overrated quarterback, a Super Bowl Title, as well as the egos of Carroll and Bevell kept Seattle from not winning another title due to their inability to get the football to Lynch when it mattered the most.
This Seahawks of this era will never get the respect that they fully deserve as the finger pointing rightfully should forever be pointed at Carroll.