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Do the Seattle Seahawks Have a Pete Carroll Problem?

By Stephen Douglas
Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll
Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll / Quinn Harris/Getty Images
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The Pete Carroll era in Seattle is coming to an end, whether anyone in the organization knows it or not. Carroll turns 70 this coming season. Only four men have ever coached to 71 or older in the NFL, including Romeo Crennel who stepped in briefly after the Houston Texans fired Bill O'Brien last year. Couple that with the Russell Wilson situation and you've got a recipe for a complete rebuild.

Wilson is the main problem. As long as he is under center, this is a team that will compete for a playoff spot. They've been to the playoffs in eight of Wilson's nine seasons in Seattle and now he might want out. Unless Carroll can turn Wilson into Dak Prescott or another top tier quarterback, that run is over. The Legion of Boom is gone. As Dan Orlovsky says, it's time for the Seahawks to fire Pete Carroll.

The only problem is, Carroll is the one in charge. Via PFT:

"it appears that Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (a division of Vulcan Inc.) defers to coach Pete Carroll as the de facto CEO of the Seahawks subunit. Indeed, Carroll is both the coach and the executive V.P. of football operations. Which confirms that he’s the ultimate football authority with the Seahawks, a team that has no direct or indirect ownership meddling of any kind."

Ownership might want to come up with a new plan because Carroll's time with the team could and should be coming to an end. Aside from his age, he's been coasting on Wilson's play and a Super Bowl for the better part of a decade. Without that title, he probably would have been fired after the team missed the playoffs in 2017.

Carroll lucked into Wilson when he dropped to the third round in 2012. A month earlier he and GM John Schneider had signed Matt Flynn to a three-year deal, thinking he would be the franchise quarterback. Before Wilson showed up, Carroll had gone 2-3 in the playoffs, with one of those wins coming from a 7-9 team.

Before he was in Seattle, Carroll went 6-10 with the Jets and then took a Patriots team built by Bill Parcells to the playoffs twice. One year later, he was fired by New England. Then he spent a decade at USC. Some of those teams and wins don't even technically exist anymore.

So you could make the argument that Carroll is overrated. You could point out he's getting too old to run an NFL team. You could look at the growing rift with his franchise quarterback. How long will it take to rebuild? Especially with the limitations provided by Wilson's contract. It's a perfect storm for a bad ending and the only guy capable of doing anything about is Carroll.

The Seahawks need to plan an exit for Carroll and mend their fences with Wilson. It's the only way to keep things rolling in a way that will keep fans happy and the team relevant. Otherwise, every night will be 90's night in Seattle.

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