The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for

Carroll Qualified


Pete Carroll was 33-31 in four seasons as an NFL coach and guided New England to the playoffs twice -- in 1997 and 1998. So he was hardly a failure even though he was fired from his first job, with the Jets, after one season, 1994, when he finished 6-10.

But he was never really considered a "serious'' NFL coach. That's because he seemed to be having too much fun -- especially compared to his predecessor and successor with the Patriots: Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Translation: he used to chat with the media about such frivolous subjects as rock 'n roll songs and rock 'n roll history.

In a sense, he couldn't win.

After being fired by the Jets, he went to the 49ers as defensive coordinator, then took over the Pats after Parcells had taken them to the Super Bowl in 1996 where their loss to Green Bay was overshadowed by the running dispute between the Tuna and owner Robert Kraft. No way Carroll could match that act.

In fact, his success at Southern Cal was greeted in a lot of NFL circles by an "I told you so.'' In other words, Pete was a college guy, a grown-up kid who could identify better with 18, 19, and 20-year-old kids just starting out than the 27, 28, 29 and 30-year-olds who played for millions and were living "real lives.''

That, of course, is mostly image. As we know from the Reggie Bush and Joe McKnight sagas, real life comes early to college football stars.

Who really knows how Carroll will do in Seattle -- assuming he finally takes the job after all the details are worked out. He goes to a team that in the last two seasons has been 4-12 and 5-11 and whose quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, is 34 and is playing with a chronically bad back.

But he's certainly a qualified NFL coach who probably got a raw deal during his first go-round in the league. And he did take teams to the playoffs in two of his four seasons there.

In fact, the NFL might ease some of the pressure he has to feel in Los Angeles despite his laid-back demeanor.

He won't be expected to win every game there. Especially in Seattle, where fans are passionate about the Seahawks but recognize it's not life and death -- the way things are view in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.

Given the state of the Seahawks, it will be just the opposite at the start -- six wins might do just fine.

By Dave Goldberg  |  January 11, 2010; 10:35 AM ET  | Category:  Seattle Seahawks Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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