Deep down, Pete Carroll's always been an NFL coach. It's how he acts. His tweets, demeanor and swagger, none of them scream "molder of young men." Even during his college days, he was like a professional coach in residence at the USC, and the program acted as such.
The NFL is where he came from, and the NFL is where he bailed to, jettisoning NCAA-imposed baggage for a shot with the Seahawks. There, in the Emerald City, was a opportunity that had all the pluses of coaching, yet none of the headaches that came along with it at the college level.
No more recruiting trips. No more trying to convince a 17-year-old to make up his mind. No more being mindful of grades and eligibility and improper benefits. The NFL is greater than the NCAA, no doubt about it. Carroll found his kingdom starting with the 2010 season: Qwest Field.
It's why he rules Washington State sports, and arguments against it are hard to justify. Ichiro's career is on the decline, and the Mariners as a team are, well, you know. Washington football doesn't exactly project "national power" and the NBA team is all but forgotten, save for the most die-hard Sonics fans. It's why, when Bleacher Report ran a poll asking Washington fans to crown their local king, Carroll ended up on top.
Who Carroll coaches helps. The Seahawks are in the king of sports leagues. You can be bad in the NFL and still garner buzz. And in the Seahawks' division, you can finish the season under .500 and still make the playoffs. It's a perfect fit for Carroll, who has the potential to rule Washington for the time being.
In the NFC West, you always have a shot. And Carroll has a supportive owner who will help enable him to do so. With all his time now spent coaching, and not dealing with star players violating rules and the like, Carroll is in an enviable situation.
Some may loathe him for that, hate the way he left USC and escaped with nary a scratch. But that's the way things work. Life sometimes is not fair, like in all monarchies.