Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll out as head coach after 14 seasons

Carroll will step aside as the most successful coach in franchise history, but with an unsatisfactory conclusion after several seasons of middling results

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RENTON, Wash. — Pete Carroll is out after 14 seasons as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, responsible for two NFC championships and the only Super Bowl title in franchise history during his long tenure.

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The 72-year old coach is moving into an advisory role with the organization, according to a statement from owner Jody Allen on Wednesday.

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Seattle closed the regular season with a 21-20 win at Arizona on Sunday. The Seahawks entered the final two weeks of the regular season with the chance at reaching the playoffs for the 11th time with Carroll in charge, but a Week 17 loss to Pittsburgh left Seattle in need of help it didn’t get to close out the season.

Carroll will step aside as the most successful coach in franchise history, but with an unsatisfactory conclusion after several seasons of middling results. He’ll forever be lauded as the first coach to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Seattle with the Super Bowl 48 victory over Denver.

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But Carroll never fully recovered from what happened in the Super Bowl a year later with Russell Wilson’s goal line interception in the final seconds, and Seattle never experienced another title that could wash away the memories of what happened in Super Bowl 49.

Carroll stepped aside with a 137-69-1 record in his time with the Seahawks. He led Seattle to five NFC West titles and 10 playoff victories.

But the Seahawks plateaued toward the end of Carroll’s time. Seattle finished with a losing record in 2021, made the playoffs at 9-8 in 2022 and was unable to make the leap that it was expected to being more of a contender in the NFC West this season.

Carroll himself sounded frustrated going into Week 18 about how this season had gone.

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“We have a lot of work to do, but the outlook for the future is very positive, because of the makeup of the guys, the way they want to work, the way they go about it,” Carroll said. “They just need to be trained and it needs to come back another year where you see all of those guys that make that jump from year one to year two and from year two to year three. There’s going to be a real positive movement for our club.”

That future for Seattle will be under the watch of a different coach, though.

Despite the lacklustre final chapter, Carroll’s tenure in Seattle will be viewed as the most successful run since the franchise arrived in 1976. He ushered in a player-friendly environment built around allowing personalities to show within the defined structure of his system. Carroll preached competition, but made it fun along the way.

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The Seahawks thrived under Carroll with the personalities of Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman, for example. They plucked Russell Wilson out of the third round and watched him help the team win a Super Bowl in his second season. Known for his defensive mind, Carroll created a defence that was the best of its era for several seasons and was at the foundation of those back-to-back teams which won NFC titles.

But Super Bowl 49 was a tipping point the Seahawks never truly recovered from. Wilson’s pass that was intercepted by Malcolm Butler and gave New England a 28-24 win eventually led to an unravelling of the core that took Seattle to those championship games. As much as Carroll tried several different reboots, the Seahawks never again found that level of talent and chemistry to create a juggernaut of a team.

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Seattle never advanced past the divisional round of the playoffs following that last Super Bowl trip and was dumped out of the post-season in the wild-card round in three of its past four post-season appearances.

The question will immediately turn to Carroll’s replacement and whether Seattle tries to stay within the Seahawks family tree or looks to bring in a fresh voice to work with general manager John Schneider. It will be the first time since arriving at the same time as Carroll that Schneider will have complete control over personnel.

Speculation will immediately turn to Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who served in the same role for the Seahawks during their two NFC championship seasons. Quinn was 43-42 with two playoff appearances and one memorable Super Bowl collapse in his five-plus seasons as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

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