When he was introduced as the head coach of the Seahawks almost 11 years ago, Pete Carroll stated an ambitious goal.
"I hope we can do things better than it's ever been done before around here," Carroll said.
Over the past decade, Carroll, along with general manager John Schneider, has led the way as the Seahawks have indeed done things better than they have ever been done in the franchise's history that dates back to 1976.
And with neither Carroll nor the organization wanting to see those good times come to an end, the Seahawks signed Carroll to a contract extension earlier this season that runs through the 2025 season. Carroll, who is both the league's oldest head coach and arguably its most energetic, previously had signed a contract extension in 2018 that ran through the 2021 season.
"I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to have my family here in this area. We love living here, love working here," Carroll said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle… "I love what I'm doing and I love coaching in this setting right here, and hope to do it for a long time. I don't see any reason why not. I think I've mentioned before, I'm kind of on the five-year plan—every year you look at it like, 'OK, what are you going to do the next five years?' That gives me comfort and direction and all of that. We do have a good thing going here, and we have been successful. I love working with John (Schneider) and doing all the stuff that we've done. Working for the Allen family for all these years has been a real blessing. And it's also been a blessing to represent this place that just loves their teams and their sports. The Northwest has been fantastic and the 12s are awesome. I always wish we were sharing more with them, particularly in this season, because they deserve it and they're awesome and they need to be able to get into this thing too. I'm very grateful."
Carroll, who earlier this year was named one of the two coaches, along with Bill Belichick, to the NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2010s All-Decade Team, is the winningest coach in franchise history with a 116-68-1 record, postseason included, and most importantly he led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title, a 43-8 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Under Carroll and Schneider, the Seahawks have reached the postseason eight times in 10 seasons and have posted a winning record every year since 2012, and they are off to 6-2 start this season that has them in first place in the NFC West at the halfway point.
The Seahawks have reached at least the divisional round of the playoffs seven times since 2010, and are the only team other than New England two appear in consecutive Super Bowls this century. Since the NFL expanded the playoff field to 12 teams in 1990, the Seahawks are one of only five teams, along with New England, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Baltimore, to advance to at least the divisional round seven times in a 10-year span.
The Seahawks have played in 17 postseason games under Carroll and Schneider, as many as they played in during the first 34 years of the franchise prior to their arrival. Seattle's seven trips to the divisional round since 2010 are one more than the Seahawks had prior to 2010, and the seven double-digit win seasons since 2012 are two more than the team had in its entire history up to that point. Carroll has also overseen some of the best defenses in NFL history, led by the Super Bowl-winning team that finished atop the league in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense and takeaways during the regular season, then dominated the highest scoring offense in NFL history in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league four-straight years from 2012-2015, the only team to do so in the Super Bowl era.
For all of Carroll's considerable knowledge of the game, however, his best trait might be the way he has been able to build a winning culture in the organization that has allowed the Seahawks to maintain success so consistently in a league designed to foster parity. And one of the keys to that winning culture is the way Carroll has always embraced individualism in order to help each player become not just his best as a player but as a human being.
"This is about helping people be the best they can be," Carroll once explained. "It doesn't have anything to do with sports to me. It doesn't have anything to do with sports. It has to do with parenting, it has to do with mentoring, it has to do with coaching and leading, if you want it to.
"We're trying to help them be the best they can be. Simply that's what guides everything that we do. So whatever it takes to get that done is what we're charged to find. In that, I think a person has a chance to be much closer to their potential if they get true to who they are, rather than something you might want them to be or try to govern them to be. It's simply that. If I'm going to find somebody's best, I need to get them as close to what their true potential is, and connected to who they are, and call on that to be consistent. It's really hard to be something that you're not, but that's asked of people a lot. That's not what we're doing. We're trying to realize that these guys have really special, unique qualities about themselves and then try to figure out how to fit it together. And sometimes it doesn't fit. Sometimes it's not right, and we have to govern and adjust."
Carroll has never been one to focus on all he has accomplished while he's still in the midst of the job, and thanks to this contract extension, it will be a while longer before he can take the time to reflect on his time as the most successful coach in team history.
"I'll be more proud of it when I look back and we're done doing what we do," Carroll said this spring after being named to the All-Decade team. "I've always said that you don't really want to evaluate stuff when you're in the middle of it. But when you throw 10 years together in the program and we're still here, in this world, that's—I'm proud of that for the families and coaches who have been with us, for the fans, certainly for John and his guys. We're all connected in this thing, we all do it together, there's no one person. We've all accomplished something, it's pretty cool. Let's see what we can do with it now."
Check out photos of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll from throughout his first ten seasons with the team.