There is an old saying in sports that you never want to be the guy who replaces the legend and that it's better to replace the guy who did. For Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, that‘s exactly what he did.
He did not have to be the guy to try and follow Mike Holmgren, Seattle’s most popular and successful coach. He got to follow Jim Mora.
Who would you rather follow?
As Carroll and his Seahawks prepare to host San Francisco in a game that they are desperate to win to keep any playoff hope alive, he is matching up pretty well with Seattle’s legend.
Mike Holmgren was hired by Seattle prior to the 1999 season. After two years he was 15-18 (including postseason) with one division championship. Heading into Saturday’s game, Pete Carroll is also 15-17 as Seattle’s head guy. He also has won a division championship.
Both coaches took over under similar circumstances.
Holmgren took over a team that had suffered through several seasons of bad to mediocre play and after a 9-7 AFC West Division championship, he began dismantling the roster. The roster he eventually built was the one that dominated the NFC West during his tenure, culminating with an appearance in the Super Bowl.
Pete Carroll took over a team that was just plain bad. The roster was in dire need of change and change it Carroll did.
Along with general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks seemed to make a roster move daily. They were waiving guys as often as you grab a Starbucks.
For Holmgren, the offensive guru, he revamped the team’s offense first. Drafting Shaun Alexander and trading for Matt Hasselbeck were big moves that paid off for some time. He built a team that had his stamp on it. West Coast quick passes with a smart and accurate quarterback.
Carroll is a defensive guy and it’s not surprising that this year’s Seahawks are allowing their opponents to score an average of 19.5 points per game, which is down from 25.4 last season. Carroll is building a team that has his stamp on it. Tough defense and smash mouth offense.
Two different philosophies that so far are garnering the same results.
The two head coaches could not be more different from a personality standpoint, either. Holmgren was fiery, often red-faced and angry on the sidelines. He never hid his displeasure.
Carroll is the cheerleader. He is often seen leaping for joy, hugging and chest-bumping his players and seems to always be smiling.
Despite that difference, they both had eerily similar starts in Seattle.
Pete Carroll has two more games this season to surpass Holmgren’s win total during his first two years here. Seahawks fans are hoping that he gets them one step further than Holmgren was able to. If he does that, we will have to start to feel sorry for the poor slob who coaches the Seahawks after Pete Carroll.