Pete Carroll’s goal since he arrived in Seattle has been to “do it better than it’s ever been done.”
Sorry, Pete, but there’s only one team that has done that, and it’s headed to the Super Bowl again.
So Carroll and the Seahawks will have to content themselves with trying to do it better than anyone but the New England Patriots.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continue to prove they are the best coach-QB combo ever, now on to their eighth Super Bowl together and a cinch for Team of the 2010s as they go for their third win in four appearances this decade and sixth win overall. That’s doing it better than it has ever been done.
Carroll had his chance to head the Patriots off at the pass — but he chose to, yep, pass. And ever since that asinine play call in the Super Bowl three years ago, the chasm between these teams has gotten wider and wider.
While the Seahawks were blown out in the next two divisional playoffs and didn’t even make the postseason this year, the Patriots have been to three straight AFC title games and are now looking for a second straight Super Bowl win. (If that is what dysfunction looks like, we’ll take it.)
Since 2012, when Russell Wilson became Seattle’s QB, the Hawks have won 65 regular-season games — second in the league to, of course, New England, which has 75 wins. Seattle has been to the playoffs five times in that span — tied with Green Bay for second behind New England, which has made it every year (and all but twice since 2001).
It would take a major SEA change for the Seahawks to even come close to matching what the Patriots have done this decade. They would need to suddenly re-emerge as a Super power and win the next two NFL titles, LIII and LIV.
That’s incredibly unlikely, but at least Carroll finally has realized he needed to make some big steps to move on once and for all from that XLIX debacle that has been dragging the team steadily down.
In 2015, just before XLIX, we wrote about the vast similarities between “Mr. Miyagi” coaches Carroll and Belichick. The major difference was in personality, and Carroll seemingly has figured out that he needs a little more of Belichick’s hard-edged discipline.
That’s why he brought in Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Solari — and why he is apparently making a change at QB coach. Those guys figure to hold the players accountable in a way Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable and Carl Smith did not.
Some have said Carroll is playing “good cop, bad cop” — knowing he needs the disciplinarians to offset his laissez-faire approach. If that comes with the requisite X’s and O’s fixes, the Hawks might have a chance to rebound quickly.
The rest depends on John Schneider. By the time he is done retooling the roster this offseason, the Hawks probably will have just seven or eight starters left from the crew that lost to New England three years ago. That turnover, along with the new coaches, should be enough of a refresh for the team to regain the hunger that inexplicably was lost the last three years.
With so many new players, Carroll said it kind of feels like the building stage from 2011-12, just before the Hawks won the Super Bowl in 2013. The big difference, of course, is the Hawks already have the quarterback they were missing before 2012. What they need is to fortify the talent around him and coach his side of the ball much better.
The big question: How long will it take to make this club a contender again? Can Carroll’s revamped staff do it in one season? Or will there be a big adjustment period, with 2018 acting as a staging area for a return to contention in 2019?
Carroll has just two years left on his contract, but it looks like he is sufficiently bothered by his failures the past four seasons, starting with that bonehead call in XLIX, to make one more run at doing it better than it has ever been done by anyone but the Patriots.