There he was Saturday afternoon in Seattle. Pete Carroll was at it again, jumping up and down, fist-pumping, hugging and high-fiveing his players. His players shocked the football world Saturday with a stunning 41-36 upset win over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.
It was a historic win on many levels, but mainly because the Seahawks had a losing record and were considered the worst playoff team in the history of the league. But after the game the question should be asked, is Carroll the coach of the year?
There are many worthy candidates for the annual coaching award and Carroll should at least be in the conversation. Since Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over last January, they have completely turned over the Seahawks roster with over 200 roster moves, which were needed. The Seahawks had combined for only nine wins the previous two seasons.
That kind of turnover clearly illustrated the total rebuilding mode Seattle was in and it looked like another long and frustrating year. Carroll never would admit publicly that they were rebuilding and repeatedly stated they wanted to win the division, which elicited chuckles from most of the fans and media.
Even though this was supposed to be a rebuilding year the Seahawks jumped out to a surprising 4-2 record and people’s perception and expectations began to change. The Seahawks then stumbled through their last 10 games the fans and media started calling the season a disaster. Saturday afternoon proved that the season was anything but.
Seattle won with smoke and mirrors this season. How else can you explain it when they are near the bottom of every statistical category on both sides of the ball?
How else can you explain it when they relied on a bruised and battered Matt Hasselbeck, a broken down offensive line and defense? Carroll is the guy who set up the mirrors and turned on the smoke machine.
The Seahawks ended up defaulting into the playoffs in a bad division. Winning the division is not the reason Carroll should be considered coach of the year. Any other year a 7-9 record would not be good enough to get in.
Carroll should be considered because he managed to compete with a team that did not have much talent or experience. He managed to motivate a team that had been battered for two months to win when it counted. He managed to compete with a rebuilding team.
The post-season does not factor into the coach of the year vote but Saturday’s win was the icing on the cake. After the game Carroll insisted that he knew they were going to win all week.
The game plan they employed blistered the Saints fourth ranked defense for over 400 yards and 40 points. The Seahawks even left points on the field in the second half and may have been able to score 50. In many ways he out-coached Sean Payton to get the win.
Carroll takes his team into Chicago this weekend for a rematch of a week 4 match-up. The Seahawks won that game and have a puncher's chance this weekend. The build up to the game will be much like it was this last week. There will be a lot of jokes at Seattle’s expense and nobody will believe they can win. Nobody except the 40 guys under Carroll’s command and that’s why he should be considered for coach of the year.