Predominantly, the Coach of the Year award goes to the coach with the best record. Clinching home-field advantage helps, but so does having a dominant regular season as well as a division title.
Carroll already has the record aspect going for him, but the little things he did against Minnesota further cemented his status as front-runner for the Coach of the Year accolade. Should the Seahawks win out, Seattle could find itself not only with home-field advantage and a division title, but also a Coach of the Year.
Watching Carroll’s brilliant coaching style while sitting in the stands at CenturyLink Field only makes it more clear that his coaching deserves recognition.
Here are three reasons why Pete Carroll should win Coach of the Year.
Reason One: Caution When Using Percy Harvin
The win against Minnesota was Carroll’s first chance to utilize prized offseason acquisition Percy Harvin. After a plethora of injuries, Harvin was finally fit to return against his former squad. The rash thing to do would have been to play Harvin normally, unleashing him on his former teammates. Sure, he could have had a big day (Minnesota is 29th in the league in terms of pass defense), but the smart thing to do was to ease him back into the game.
Most fans wanted Percy Harvin to come out and have a big game. The 12th man applauded even when it was announced that he would be returning a kickoff, but Pete Carroll showed why he’s the professional and everyone else is not. He used Harvin extremely sparingly, and the coach’s caution paid off. Harvin kept a drive alive with his first catch as a Seahawk—a highlight-reel one at that.
Despite the limited involvement, Harvin was still able to influence the game on a large scale. His electrifying kickoff return set up a touchdown just before halftime to give Seattle more breathing room in what began as a close game.
Reason Two: Instilling a Culture of Playing Hard
Seattle played hard throughout the entire game, and the Seahawks never let up.
Despite giving up a late touchdown, the Seahawks’ defensive players were giving a solid effort even when the scoreboard read 41-13. It was easy to see that the team kept its focus at a time when it was not necessarily required.
This is as much about the players as it is about the coach. Carroll has instilled a revolutionary culture in Seattle—one that considers playing hard a prerequisite.
Reason Three: Coaching With Consistency
The last of the three reasons why Pete Carroll should win Coach of the Year is the most telling. Carroll threw a challenge flag late in the second half on an incomplete pass by the Vikings quarterback that might have been a fumble. Carroll was aggressive during the game in this sense.
The Seahawks coach treated the blowout like it was a close game. He was ambitious in a situation that usually calls for lax play, which is something fans of this team have to like seeing. The 12th man at CenturyLink Field certainly enjoyed it, and the energy in the stands was palpable.
You have to enjoy the fire Pete Carroll showed in his coaching Sunday. He was relentless with his aggressive play-calling and overall coaching. Not only is he on track to clinch home-field advantage and a division title, but he is also accomplishing the little things that make coaches great.
All stats courtesy of http://www.pro-football-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.