Greatest Moments in Jim Harbaugh-Pete Carroll Rivalry
While it's their teams who actually play head to head, the spotlight always finds itself on Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll.
This is courtesy of their standing rivalry that spans across college football and the NFL.
Even though they have only matched up on the football field eight times, their ongoing competition already has a series of memorable moments.
With that said, let's recap the greatest moments in the Harbaugh-Carroll rivalry.
The following moments will be listed in the order in which they occurred.
Stanford's 24-23 Win over USC in 2007.
After this big upset, Harbaugh had good reason to be all smiles.
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And the rivalry was born.
While Harbaugh won only four games into his first season at Stanford, his road upset of Carroll's No. 2-ranked Trojans was a sign of things to come.
To further put this win into perspective, I have to first tell you that USC was favored to win this game by 41 points!
Even with Carroll's Trojans finishing this season with a Rose Bowl win, it was clear that Harbaugh would be a thorn in Carroll's side going forward.
"What's Your Deal?"
The 2009 matchup was the first time both Carroll and Harbaugh fielded winning teams.
Nonetheless, what occurred during the game isn't the memorable moment here.
That distinction would go to the exchange between Carroll and Harbaugh in the aftermath of Stanford's resounding 55-21 victory over the Trojans.
After seeing Harbaugh's Cardinal convert a two-point conversion with the game already decided, Carroll would have some choice words for Harbaugh: "What's your deal?"
It was a question that Carroll never got the answer to, as Harbaugh responded like a parrot would and said the same back to Carroll.
The rivalry may have technically started in 2007, but it was this moment that put the microscope on every one of their meetings.
Jim Harbaugh's First Career NFL Win Comes Against Carroll.
While Carroll has downplayed his rivalry with Harbaugh, he can't like the fact that his team gave Harbaugh his first NFL victory.
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While this rivalry would take a one-year hiatus because of Carroll's departure to the NFL, the rivalry was renewed in 2011.
Harbaugh joined San Francisco and was again in the same division/conference as Carroll.
I guess you can consider Harbaugh a man of his word then. Just like the two coaches' first meeting in college, Harbaugh beat Carroll in their first meeting in the NFL. The 49ers won that game 33-17 in the 2011 season opener.
The rivalry had officially moved up to the big leagues.
Pete Carroll's First NFL Win Against Harbaugh
Behind Russell Wilson, Carroll got his first NFL win against Harbaugh in resounding fashion.
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To be a rivalry, both sides have to win, right?
Well, Carroll finally accomplished this feat, in the NFL, when Seattle drubbed Harbaugh's 49ers 42-13 at the tail end of the 2012 season.
The last lopsided game between these two signaled a changing of the guard between Stanford and USC. Could this loss do the same on the NFL level, with Carroll's team on the upswing?
While Niners tight end Vernon Davis didn't allude to a decline in his team's play, he did acknowledge this offseason to the San Jose Mercury News' Cam Inman that Carroll's Seahawks would be a team to reckon with for the foreseeable future, saying, "I mean, they're building a dynasty over there."
"They're Winning Because They're Cheating"
Not the most gracious loser, Harbaugh didn't mince words in detailing how the Seahawks won.
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They coached games against each other in college and in the NFL. So it's only fitting that they also exchange verbal barbs with each other on both levels as well.
His comments weren't in the immediate aftermath of Seattle's 42-17 win over his 49ers, but, like Carroll at USC, Harbaugh didn't take kindly to how his team lost.
In response to questioning by Grant Cohn of The Press Democrat about the performance enhancing drug scandals surrounding Seattle, Harbaugh said, "They're winning because they're cheating."
He even went as far to quote his former Michigan head coach, Bo Schembechler. "If you cheat to win then you’ve already lost," Harbaugh said.
In response, Carroll alluded to Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times that the situation was being dealt with.
In looking at the following quote, he also may have been relaying the message that Harbaugh should worry about his own team.
"I don't know about commenting about anybody else's team, but as far as we're concerned we feel like we've addressed it directly," Carroll said.
Carroll's Seahawks Stake Their Claim as the NFC's Best Team
What's not to like? Carroll is coaching the NFC's best team at the moment.
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Oh, how the tables have turned.
After Seattle's 29-3 win over San Francisco in Week 2 of the 2013 season—its second consecutive lopsided victory over the 49ers—Harbaugh's Niners are no longer viewed as the top dogs in the NFC.
That mantle would have to go to Carroll's Seahawks.
Even with Harbaugh owning a 3-2 NFL record and a 5-3 record overall against Carroll, these resounding victories by Seattle have served notice that Carroll is coaching the better team.
For Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, this much was clear last season.
In response to those who picked the 49ers to beat Seattle, Sherman said the following to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times: "You see how smart they are? They must not have watched the last game we played them."
Nonetheless, with these two guaranteed to meet in Week 14, I'm sure this won't be the last memorable moment from this rivalry.