How long will Carroll coach the Seahawks and what happens when he retires?
Although he certainly doesn’t act like it, it’s a fact that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the oldest head coach in the NFL at age 68, turning 69 in September.
Like when players get older and retirement talk starts, the same can be said about coaches, and in Carroll’s case, he very well could be approaching uncharted territory.
“His deal ends at the end of next season, at the end of 2021,” Bob Stelton of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore said Thursday. “Should we be looking at Pete Carroll’s window, talking about Pete Carroll’s window?”
When Carroll’s current deal is up, he will be 70. The two oldest head coaches in NFL history, George Halas and Mark Levy, retired at 72.
And while Carroll may act years and decades younger than his age, he’s not actually getting younger.
Former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman said while he doesn’t want to think about life after Carroll is finished coaching due to the team’s success, he says it would be a big thing for quarterback Russell Wilson.
“Let’s say he has (around) three more years. I think it’s Russell’s team and Russ and Pete have almost grown together as one and I feel they almost reflect each other,” Wyman said. “If Pete does leave and Russ is here, it’s going to kind of be Russ’ team, it really is, and I’m sure people look at it that sort of way as far as Aaron Rodgers goes and as far as Tom Brady goes. I feel like he’ll be ready for that at that time when Pete’s gone, but I don’t even want to think about this team without Pete.”
Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus, who was filling in for Jim Moore, says Carroll’s final years could coincide with important years for Wilson.
“He probably does have three or four more years, I would say if I had to put a number on it … and I would probably say Russell Wilson has prime years of about three of four years and I think they’re going to get through this together,” he said.
And when Carroll does leave, what will the team look like? Bumpus says it should be in a good place.
“What’s the greatest thing Pete Carroll has done for this organization? It’s create that culture,” Bumpus said.
Carroll has always been an open players’ coach and he has preached competition since he took over in 2010. That has helped him make the playoffs eight times in 10 years, win a Super Bowl and appear in another one.
But with time likely winding down for the most successful head coach in the organization’s history, how can the team plan ahead?
“I would think in this situation, Pete Carroll would start grooming somebody to take this thing over just to keep it rolling,” Bumpus said. “Whoever comes in next, you have to make it your own, but you can’t ignore what’s been here for about 10 years. You kind of take a piece of that with you, and with Russell still in there and you talk about their relationship, he can be at the forefront of really keeping that culture going … I would assume Russell plays a huge role if and when the next guy comes in.”
Stelton pointed out that there’s a “small segment” of the fan base who will likely be happy when Carroll retires because they don’t agree with his line of thinking, but he thinks they, and many other Seahawks fans, may not appreciate how good the team has been and how Carroll was a key part of that.
“He’s a Hall of Fame coach,” Stelton said. “He revived a dead USC program, he came here and took a floundering Seahawks program and took them to a perennial winner where you just expect the postseason every year … You haven’t had that rebuild year, that four-win season the Rams had or the two-win season the 49ers had. Look at every team in this division. They have hit rock bottom at some point and that has not happened under Pete and in years they expected them to rebuild this was a double-digit-win team.”
Another complaint among Seattle fans has been that since 2014, when the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl, the team has made the playoffs all but one time but hasn’t appeared in another Super Bowl or even NFC title game. Wyman says you need to give Carroll more credit for the last few years.
“I think there’s a lot of those teams that he did take to the playoffs that maybe lost in the first or second round that a lot of other coaches wouldn’t have gotten that far in the first place,” he said.
You can listen to the full conversation at this link or in the player below.