Salk: Time to give parent of Seahawks’ success, Jody Allen, proper credit
They say success has a hundred fathers while defeat is an orphan.
Everyone wants to claim credit for a win but too often they disappear after the losses. We know championship dynasties have broken apart over the need to receive credit. And why not? To the victor goes the spoils, right? And that is especially true in sports where big paydays are doled out to those that get the most credit.
The early success of the 2022 Seahawks has seen plenty of fathers.
In this case, it isn’t so much those that are clamoring for credit, but those upon whom we are heaping praise.
Pete Carroll bet on his philosophy and has a new group of young players buying all the way in. John Schneider fleeced the Broncos, added a stud in free agency (Uchenna Nwosu) and had one of the most productive drafts in team history. Geno Smith has had perhaps the greatest career renaissance I have ever witnessed. Shane Waldron has brought life to this offense. The list goes on. We are showering credit upon the many who have helped turn this around so quickly. There are lots of fathers.
But what about the mother who made it all possible?
Yes, it’s time to give credit to the person who made the toughest and most important decision this franchise had faced in years: Jody Allen.
We haven’t heard much from the woman who owns the Seahawks. She took over after her brother passed away and has essentially stayed out of the public eye. She has released statements to reassure fans that she isn’t selling the franchise but other than that, she has remained mostly silent on the affairs of the Seahawks. But don’t mistake lack of noise for lack of action. Because when the future direction of the team was in doubt and everything came down to one huge decision, she stepped up and made it.
My understanding is that the decision to keep Pete Carroll and trade Russell Wilson was ultimately and actively her call.
We knew at the time about the big meeting to decide the fate of the Seahawks franchise. But we can now safely say that Jody made the right decision. And she did it for the right reason: she chose team and culture over an individual.
Plenty of ink has been spilled trying to determine what drove Russell Wilson out of Seattle. I have pointed to his desire for control as a primary factor. I believe he wanted to do things his way and the Broncos were willing to make that sacrifice in order to get the franchise quarterback they desired. I wrote about that from Russ’s perspective, detailing all the ways his desire for control ultimately led to the trade and his new contract in Denver.
But what about the other side of that coin? What about the person who ultimately had to weigh the respective values of coach and quarterback and decide which presented a brighter path forward?
It’s easy to say now that she made the right choice. But at the time, most felt she should go the other way. After all, Pete was old while Russ was in his prime. Pete was old fashioned while Russ was new age. Pete’s skills were soft while Russ’s were quantifiable and evident on the football field. Pete had never won at the pro level without Russ whereas Russ had done nothing but win since entering the league.
And don’t forget that Tom Brady had recently left New England and brought a championship to Tampa while the greatest coach of all time languished without him. All signs pointed to quarterbacks (and I mean real, elite, franchise quarterbacks) being more valuable than great coaches.
Yet she chose the coach. She chose Pete. She went against the grain and against the social media swarm of football aficionados that were ready to modernize the Seahawks with a new leader.
She chose to go with culture and team over individuality and talent.
Pete, like any successful coach, has a variety of skills. He made his bones as a defensive coordinator and he understands both how to scheme and how to teach. But his best attribute is his ability to build culture. He did it at USC and again here in Seattle. And with Russ now off in Denver, he is doing it here once again.
Credit to Jody Allen for understanding that Pete had drifted over the past few years. He was making sacrifices to accommodate one player. Pete has always been a “players coach,” but he had altered things too far to help one player and it was coming at the expense of others. Based on her decision and the early returns, it appears that she saw the situation quite clearly.
According to Pete, she was excited to reset the situation with the Seahawks so that Pete (and John Schneider) could get “back in their wheelhouse.” That means focusing on the development of young players, building a new culture, and seeing the rise of young leaders free from the tension that clearly existed between the coach and quarterback.
“We look forward to welcoming our new players,” Jody said in her statement after the Seahawks traded Wilson. “And to everyone being fully engaged while working our hardest to win every single day. I trust our leadership to take us into the future.”
Each time I have referenced that quote, I have focused on the “fully engaged” phrasing which I take as a comment on how unengaged the quarterback was by the end.
But in thinking about it now, the last sentence is important as well. Jody trusted the leadership. She trusted Pete Carroll over the upstart quarterback who wanted to be the leader himself. She made a franchise altering bet on Pete and right now that is paying huge dividends for her team.
Right now she is the parent of its success.
More on the Seahawks from Seattle Sports
• Seahawks Football 101: Where Seattle’s run D lacked against Buccaneers
• Pete Carroll breaks down what went wrong in Seahawks’ loss to Bucs
• Fann: Seahawks’ loss to Bucs indicative of who they are on both sides
• Brock & Salk: What do Seahawks do long-term at QB with Geno, draft?