When you’re a famous college coach from a talented program who decides to take his talents to the NFL ranks, the media more or less expects you to struggle with responsibilities of head coach. Unlike the college ranks, the responsibilities of head coach are far more intense and usually cover a 365 day period.
In addition, there is a higher turnover rate and the media scrutiny can be relentless especially in football crazed cities. Pete Carroll came from USC with a vision of a third chance at success in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. With a career head coaching record of 47-49 (2-3 in playoffs), Carroll’s coaching style has been characterized as aggressive offensive approach coupled with a conservative defensive approach. However, the times have changed as wins and titles are revered by fans not coaching styles. In the third season of two previous identical 7-9 seasons, Pete Carroll has decided to roll the dice and start a rookie quarterback in a season that could very well decide his coaching fate. Russell Wilson is a third round pick from Wisconsin who has drawn comparisons to Drew Brees regarding his size and pocket presence.
Nevertheless, the team signed a veteran quarterback, Matt Flynn to a three-year 19.5 million dollar contract in March in hopes he would be the starting quarterback. What’s puzzling about this scenario isn’t that fact that Wilson beat out Flynn but the fact that Carroll choose youth over experience. So many coaching decisions can decide games and even careers. Should the coach have gone for it on fourth down? Should the coach have challenged that last play? Or should the coach have gone with experience over youth? In 2004, head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants was faced with a similar decision regarding veteran Kurt Warner and star number one draft pick Eli Manning. Coughlin was posed with the dilemma of starting the veteran quarterback or new franchise quarterback but he choose the veteran to start the season. Even though, Manning eventually took over midway through the season, a valuable lesson can be learned from that situation. Coughlin chose Warner because he knew if he got off to bad start, he would be heavily scrutinized by the media. Instead the team posted a 5-2 record under Warner and Coughlin was able to transition Manning into the starting role. If Pete Carroll is to become as successful as Tom Coughlin he must learn that sometimes it is better to hold your bet rather than push it to the middle of the table. Conversely, when you have nothing to lose sometimes a gamble is all you have.