In Super Bowl XLVIII, 62-year-old Pete Carroll became one of the oldest head coaches to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy, and he did it with the youngest team ever to capture the NFL's biggest prize. And with the final season of the five-year, $35 million deal he signed in 2010 approaching, it appears that Carroll has found the fountain of youth with the Seattle Seahawks. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network and other sources, Carroll has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in the Emerald City well beyond 2014. The deal will be announced at a Friday morning press conference at the team's facility. Carroll's original contract with the team was for five years, and paid him $7 million per season, making him one of the league's highest-paid coaches.
Carroll was appointed as the team's head coach on Jan. 9, 2010, replacing Jim L. Mora and presiding over a roster without much talent -- in fact, only two starting players (center Max Unger and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane) survived from Carroll's first day to the Super Bowl championship. He and new general manager John Schneider put together a roster full of relative unknowns and underrated players with chips on their shoulders, and assembled the best defense in the NFL along the way. Carroll has a 38-26 regular-season record with the Seahawks, and a 5-2 postseason mark.
When asked about his contract situation at his season-end press conference on Feb. 5, Carroll simply said that he was "sitting in great shape." He was far more vocal about his belief in the future of the team -- a team that needs to make long-term contract decisions soon on quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas.
"We could be way better in so many ways," he said. "You can see the improvement that we’ve made defensively. At the end, our tackling was extraordinary in the championship game. The fundamentals of this game allow us to always be reaching to get better, and across the board, we can. I think you’ll see us utilize our personnel better in time when we get to know our guys. It was half way through the year before we put our pass rush together, where we really had a sense and a plan for it.
"I think you’ll see Russell continue to grow. He’ll be more efficient, he’ll be better than ever because he will put in all of the work and time and he will just grow. I think that coming together to bring Percy [Harvin] into this offense and seeing how he can add to it, we’re just scratching the surface there. The growth of the young guys that have been contributing on the defensive side, [linebackers] Bobby Wagner and K.J. [Wright] and all of those guys coming together, they will improve and get better. So there’s tons of ways."
Carroll had a wildly successful decade at USC from 2000 through '09, through his tenure there ended in recruiting violations and NCAA sanctions. He has a long history as an NFL defensive coordinator, and was the New York Jets' head coach in 1994, and the New England Patriots' head coach from '97 through '99. He was not successful in either circumstance, and was fired from both teams.
“That was all but an interim type of situation," Carroll said of his time with the Jets during the week before the Super Bowl. "Most of the staff stayed, it was kind of like just taking over, and it happened very suddenly without any preparation for that to occur. Sometimes I think I can kind of look like that. It was an interesting experience, and it was an early time for me. If I look back at it I could’ve done some things quite a bit differently.”
“It’s too long to tell you. I’d do what I’m doing now.” Whatever he's doing, it's clearly working. And he'll be doing it longer than next season in Seattle.