Friday, March 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Column: Nice-guy Carroll finishes first – again

By
From page B1 | February 03, 2014 |

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — He was supposed to be too nice, too laid-back, too much of a rah-rah guy for the NFL.

That was always the knock on Pete Carroll. When people called him a “player’s coach,” what they really meant was that sooner or later, his own players were going to pull the rug out from under him.

You heard it when Carroll got to Seattle four seasons ago — fresh off building a USC program that captured two national titles, but at times resembled a fraternity — and went 7-9 in each of the first two years. The same way you did when Carroll was run out of New York exactly 20 years earlier, like some wide-eyed tourist who’d just had his pocket picked.

He proved he could dominate the college game, and his hair turned gray in the interim. Yet you heard it again during the buildup to this Super Bowl, when Carroll refused to crack down on star defender Richard Sherman for talking too much, or running back Marshawn Lynch for talking too little, or essentially passing off the rash of drug busts — seven Seattle players have been suspended by the league for substance-abuse or performance-enhancers since 2011 — as youthful mistakes.

“What,” Carroll said late Sunday night through a widening smile, “are you supposed to say to that?”

Exactly what the Seahawks said with their play just moments earlier, making a statement in the Super Bowl by destroying the Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning 43-8.

“I think he does a great job of just making every day seem like it’s a championship game,” said cornerback Byron Maxwell.

“I don’t want to say it feels like a regular game,” he added, “but it feels like a regular game in a sense. He does a great job of that.”

There were dozens of stats that spoke volumes about how enthusiastically Carroll’s players warmed to the tasks. But few leapt off the page as vividly as the large Gatorade stain covering the back of Carroll’s shirt.

“If it were fake,” receiver Doug Baldwin said about Carroll’s approach, ” it wouldn’t work. … “You’ll run through a wall for that guy.”

It takes only a minute or two around Carroll to see why he inspires that kind of fierce loyalty. He rambles sometimes, but he always listens. On the podium after the win, he didn’t gloat and more than once, he leaned away from the microphone and off to one side to make sure he heard the questions being thrown at him from every side.

“It played out the way we wanted it to play,” he said. “All phases contributed. It was not really a question in their minds that we wouldn’t perform like this.”

Carroll rarely tears into his guys, and while that nice-guy persona worked wonders in college, it nearly got him laughed out of the pros.

Coaches are hired to be fired, or so the saying goes. But the Jets team he inherited in 1994 — after working as an assistant from coast to coast — practically guaranteed it by flat-out quitting on him in his only season there.

They took his constant calls for shared responsibility as an invitation to take the rest of the season off. One moment the Jets were 6-5 and the next time Carroll looked up, they were 6-10. Even so, he never saw it coming.

When the Jets’ late owner, Leon Hess, finally got around to firing Carroll, this is what he reported back, “Pete was shocked. He’s a great, high-principled man. He didn’t expect it.”

Carroll was so principled, in fact, that he didn’t change his approach; not when he got another NFL go-round with the Patriots, nor when he wound up back in the college ranks and on the West Coast, at laid-back Southern California. He still gave his assistants a wide berth, still played his hunches when it came to both trick plays and untested players — the kind of experiments that got him mocked in the hidebound NFL — and still insisted on spreading around the responsibilities, and especially the credit.

Carroll gambled a career that he could get it right in the NFL, provided he had the right people. It involved gathering up an armful of kids and another armful of undrafted free agents. Ultimately, it brought out the best in just about everybody that crossed his path.

“We didn’t ask them to do things that we don’t always do,” Carroll said finally, “and they trusted in that.”

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at [email protected] and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Brasher new president, CEO of Jelly Belly

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Rio Vista singer ready for Rancho Cordova show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Everyday life inspires model’s music

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Hosting gig for comic, birthday party on weekend schedule

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
 
Kids fishing day events return

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
Spring Fling set to return to Rancho Solano

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: March 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Lawyers dispute hoax claim, boyfriend says he was drugged

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Co-pilot believed to have purposefully crashed plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
L.A. river revamp to cost double previous projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Governor awaits $1B drought relief bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US drops graphic leaflet to possible Islamic State recruits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
AP Exclusive: Special ops troops using flawed intel software

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

State to alter ban on where sex offenders can live

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fact Check: Myths in the political roar over Common Core

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Report: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Talent agency wants Matt McConaughey speaking fee secret

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US Thunderbolt II attack planes on training in Poland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Russian, American ready for a year in space

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 27, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Parents may be enabling son’s drinking and hurting his employment chances

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 27 to April 3, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
‘Downton Abbey’ to end after upcoming 6th season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

With ‘Downton Abbey’s coming demise, here are 5 past deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Animated alien adventure ‘Home’ lands with a thud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment Calendar: March 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Prep swimming preview: City teams look to make big splash

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Marleau, Niemi lead Sharks past Red Wings 6-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Warriors can match franchise record for wins at Memphis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Labor, developers reach deal on proposed Inglewood stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Italians will pull out of America’s Cup if boats downsized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Signups for Friday, March 27, 2015

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B8

Former Germany coach Berti Vogts joins Klinsmann’s US staff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Officials OK demolishing Irwindale Speedway for outlet mall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sharks sign 2 college players

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Top-seeded Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

49ers waive OL Jonathan Martin after 1 season with team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Notre Dame races by Wichita State 81-70 for Elite Eight spot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kentucky overwhelms West Virginia 78-39 in NCAA Sweet 16

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
San Diego city, county join forces on bid to keep NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 27, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Mirim Lee leads LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
Charley Hoffman takes PGA lead in wind-swept Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Range Rover offers an exclusivity that’s rich with irony

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1

 
Lawmakers unhappy with new fracking rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

New Samsung, HTC phones coming April 10 in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Google’s new CFO gets $70M for defecting from Morgan Stanley

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Bankruptcy hearing could decide fate of RadioShack

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

.

Obituaries

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9