“Fire Pete”? Be careful what you wish for
Replacing Pete Carroll would not be easy: Seaside Joe 1735
The Seattle Seahawks have five more regular season games to play and that’s plenty of time for the narrative of this team to change. Consider how much the narrative of the 2012 team changed when the Seahawks rebounded from a 6-5 record to win their last five and become the hottest team in the NFL headed into the playoffs…
Or how much optimism was lost in 2009, when Seattle got blown out in three of their last four and the team opted to fire Jim Mora, Jr. after only one season in an effort to woo Pete Carroll from USC for a third chance at the NFL.
Maybe in a month we’re talking about Pete’s latest late-season surge and playoff hopes.
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The topic of firing Pete Carroll is not a new one—in fact, I’d say it is as long as his Seahawks tenure and I’ve been covering the team and reading those comments since the beginning—and it has come up several times this year, especially after losses to the Ravens, Rams, and 49ers. In some ways, Seattle is in danger of having its worst season since Pete’s first with the Seahawks and if that does happen, the calls for a change will be louder than ever.
And those calls got pretty damn loud in 2021 after the team dropped to 3-8 following a Week 12 loss to Washington on Monday Night Football.
Pete rebounded from that. He could rebound from this. But I guarantee that
”fire the head coach!”, a cry as old as organized sports, won’t go away. Is that something the Seahawks should entertain?
What about replacing the quarterback? Or firing one or both of the coordinators? Will those changes be solutions to get the Seattle Seahawks back into Super Bowl contention? Those are the questions I want to face in this series, starting with today’s look at what to expect when a franchise starts over at head coach.
It’s not that teams shouldn’t entertain this as a possibility, including the Seahawks. But this is only half of an answer and it’s the other half that should scare you far more than what Pete Carroll could do if he remained the coach for one or two or three more years. Should the Seahawks fire Pete if the team continues down the path they’re on and finish with a record of 7-10 or something like that?
I won’t answer that question today. I will only give reasons for why that solution is not nearly as easy or rewarding as it might sound.
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(Note: I did not address the potential ownership change in 2024 or beyond, but that would also play a part in Pete’s future.)
“Fire Pete”? Be careful what you wish for
There have been calls to fire Pete Carroll since literally his first season in Seattle and all winning the Super Bowl did was silence those voices for a couple of years. It was easy for the pro-Pete crowd to fend off those criticisms as the Seahawks consistently posted double-digit win seasons until 2020, but at this rate Seattle will have its first negative point differential since 2010.
The Seahawks have been outscored by 26 points and they only outscored opponents by six points in 2022 and 29 points in 2021. Anyone who says that point differential doesn’t matter is forgetting, ignoring, or disregarding a strong correlation in history between Super Bowl teams and teams that were among the NFL leaders in point differential.
Case in point differential: The Seahawks were +167, +186, +140, and +146 from 2012-2015.
Seattle hasn’t been better than +88 in any of the last eight seasons and each year they either get knocked out of the playoffs rather easily or do not make the postseason at all. We’ll see how 2023 plays out, we know Pete still has high expectations of the Seahawks’ playoff hopes.
Firing the head coach of a team that hasn’t legitimately competed for a Super Bowl in the last eight years of his tenure is a commonly given answer when asking for solutions on how to get back on track. For example, the Eagles fired Andy Reid eight seasons after he had his most recent Super Bowl appearance with Philadelphia, and then they won the Super Bowl five years later under Doug Pederson.
Then the Eagles fired Pederson following just one losing season because the owner didn’t have faith in his ability to turn it around, and got back to the Super Bowl two years later under Nick Sirianni.
Using those as uncontextualized and cherry picked examples, firing a head coach can be a good thing. However, firing a head coach is only 50% of an answer and it is by far the easier half of a coaching change:
HIRING A GOOD HEAD COACH REPLACEMENT…that’s what teams get wrong almost every single time.