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Pete Carroll lays it all out during Seahawks Town Hall
The Pete Carroll Show – a.k.a. The Seahawks’ Town Hall – rolled into CenturyLink Stadium on Wednesday night, and the coach of the Super Bowl champions brought along a couple of opening acts.
Before Carroll rocked the joint as only he can, the gathering of 500 season-ticket holders was treated to video-review and Q&A sessions with the Seahawks’ coordinators – Darrell Bevell (offense) and Dan Quinn (defense). Bevell dissected the fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse on fourth-and-7 that gave the Seahawks their first lead in the NFC Championship game with 710 ESPN’s Danny O’Neil, while Quinn discussed Richard Sherman’s interception return for a touchdown to tie the score in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks’ overtime victory in Week 4 against the Texans in Houston.
But the reason Carroll expanded the program for this third Town Hall shed even more light on why he really has been able to do it better than any coach in franchise history ever has.
Bevell has interviewed for head-coaching vacancies the past two offseason and Quinn did it this offseason after rejoining Carroll staff as the defensive coordinator.
“This is an opportunity for them to get in a situation where they get interact and have to answer questions,” Carroll said. “So often when they do it with the media, it’s just in those little groups and they don’t get this kind of turn. So I want to make sure I give them an opportunity to do this for them, and also for you guys to get to hear them.”
Talk about your win-win situation. The coordinators appreciated Carroll’s gesture, and the fans devoured the insight delivered by Bevell and Quinn.
And, as usual, Carroll was preaching to the choir. The fans were lined up outside the door on the fifth level at CenturyLink two hours before the program began. And they came wearing something old (Steve Largent No. 80 jerseys), something new (Super Bowl XLVIII T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats), something borrowed (one young fan was wearing a vintage jersey that had been handed down to his father from his father) and, of course, a lot of things Seahawks blue.
As informative and innovative as the sessions with Bevell and Quinn were, the showstopper – and show stealer – was Carroll. While Bevell and Quinn answered their questions and made their presentations seated and using hand-held microphones, Carroll hit the stage like the whirlwind that is on display along the West sideline at CenturyLink Stadium on game days. He was wearing a headset mic, which allowed him the freedom to work the entire room and freed his hands for emphatic gestures to punctuate his statements.
“Our philosophy of our football is it’s all about the ball,” said Carroll, who took the stage holding a football and then flipped it to a fan.
Carroll then showed them why. In nine seasons at the University of Southern California before coming to the Seahawks, his Trojan teams were 53-0 when they came out on the plus side of the turnover ratio. Since 2010, the Seahawks are 27-4 under Carroll in the regular season when they win the turnover battle.
“It’s about the ball,” Carroll reemphasized. “This whole game is dictated by who possesses the ball the best, and that’s why it’s the very first thing our guys hear.”
And also why there are signs in the meeting rooms at Virginia Mason Athletic Center that scream: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BALL.
“What my job is to do is to make that emphasis is so obvious and we act and live with that mentality so consistently that we’re the best in the world at doing that,” Carroll said.
And that the Super Bowl champions were in 2013, when they led the NFL in takeaways (39) and turnover ratio (plus-20) and tied for third in fewest turnovers committed (19).
But it’s also what the Seahawks do when they have the ball and how they go about getting the ball that underlines what has become known as playing football the Pete Carroll way.
“In the last couple years, we’ve run the football more than anybody in the NFL. And we like that. This game of football has always been about the physical side of it. It’s always been about the aggressive, tough, take-care-of-the-ball mentality, built off the defense and special teams. But we closed the loop on toughness by being committed to the running game.”
In case you missed the obvious point there, Carroll drove it home by offering, “We’re going to run it down their frickin’ throat.”
But the bottom-line reason for these Town Hall gatherings is for Carroll to give back to the fans who have given so much to the Seahawks, who have gone 24-8 in the regular season and 3-0 in the postseason at CenturyLink Field during his four seasons.
“When we started with this idea a few years back, it was really to engage with our fans,” Carroll said. “We wanted to make sure and make the effort … that a lot of people get more connected to our football.
“I think it’s really crucial that we understand this relationship. It has not been about the football team and whoever shows up, it’s about the 12s. And it’s been about the 12s, and it’s been about letting you be engaged with our football – not just so you can cheer for us, but that you understand us better. I think when you do, you appreciate it more, your relationship is deeper and it just means more to everybody.
“And look what we’ve done.”