Pete Carroll became the winningest coach in franchise history earlier this season, and now he is on his way to becoming the longest-tenured coach in Seahawks history as well.
Carroll, the first coach to lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory, signed a multi-year contract extension Monday, ensuring his future in Seattle through the 2021 season, which would be Carroll's 12th season in Seattle, surpassing the 10 seasons Mike Holmgren spent as the team's head coach.
Already this season Carroll, who has an 88-54-1 regular-season record and a 9-5 postseason record, passed Holmgren as the team's all-time winningest coach, and following Sunday's win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth for the seventh time in nine seasons since he and general manager John Schneider were hired by Paul Allen following the 2009 season.
"I am excited to announce that we have extended Head Coach Pete Carroll through the 2021 season," said Jody Allen, Seahawks Chair and Trustee of the Paul G. Allen Trust. "This will continue the championship culture that we have created in Seattle."
"So grateful to Jody and the organization," said Carroll. "I love this team and couldn't be more proud to represent the 12s."
Under Carroll, the Seahawks have won four NFC West titles, two NFC championships, won Super Bowl XLVIII in convincing fashion, and earned six playoff berths prior to this season, advancing to at least the divisional round each time. From 2012 to 2016, the Seahawks won 10 or more games for five straight seasons, matching the number of double-digit-winning seasons the franchise had from 1976 to 2011. Sunday's victory also means the Seahawks will finish the season with a winning record for the seventh straight year. In partnership with Schneider, the two have acquired and seen 18 different players selected to the Pro Bowl since 2011 and the team's roster has included 12 first-team All-Pro selections since 2012. That continued success is no small feat in a league structured to create parity.
"More than anything, the ability to stay consistent, stay out in front of the pack, that has always been something that's been important to me," Carroll said earlier this month. "Anybody can have a good year and things can come together and you can hit it right and all that. I think it's a much bigger statement to say that you can find ways to continue to find the success and that's the big challenge. That's what's most important to me. I think the way to evaluate that is down the road you look back and you see how you did and all that. This doesn't seem like the time, but it's really important to keep staying on top and keep challenging for the playoffs and the divisions and all those kinds of things. I think anybody can have a good year once in a while."
For all Carroll has accomplished, this season might go down as one of his best coaching jobs. In the offseason, Carroll made some tough decisions to overhaul his coaching staff, and the addition of defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and offensive line coach Mike Solari have all paid dividends. Carroll and Schneider also oversaw a pretty significant amount of roster turnover, particularly on defense, but they said all along that the Seahawks weren't rebuilding, and indeed the Seahawks are back in the playoffs despite the loss of a number of Pro-Bowl defensive players.
And it's not just that the Seahawks are winning again this year; Carroll and his players have also noted at various times that this particular team is having as much fun as just about any team in recent years. At 67, Carroll is the oldest head coach in the NFL, at least according to his birth certificate, but in a year when he and his players have talked repeatedly about how much fun this team is having, it's no surprise that Carroll isn't interested in seeing his decorated career come to an end anytime soon.
"I'm thankful for the fun we're having in this season," Carroll said last month. "To see these guys work so hard and share this experience that they're having—and it has been ongoing. I've talked about it consistently to you guys since the offseason when they saw the opportunities and they went for it, and the attitude has just been so upbeat and so positive that they're enjoying it. It's not just what you see in a locker room after a win, it's what these guys do on a daily basis. They're really good to be around, fun to be around and I'm thankful that they make it fun for me and I'm enjoying the heck out of it. Lucky to be here.
"There is just a real upbeat aura about this team. They're real hungry to learn, they're hungry for the challenges. They've just been real competitive throughout and they've enjoyed the challenges. They have not allowed themselves to go downward at any time, they keep looking to the future and what's up and what's coming. It's just been a really good group to work with."
While Carroll might be best known for the positive and winning culture he has created in Seattle, one that balances the ability to celebrate individualism while also having a disciplined team that always plays with a high level of effort, Carroll has also proven during his time in Seattle to be one of the best defensive minds of his era. From 2012 to 2015, the Seahawks led the league in scoring defense four straight times, something never before accomplished during the Super Bowl era. Seattle's Super Bowl winning 2013 defense led the league in total defense, passing defense, scoring defense and takeaways, and in Super Bowl XLVIII it held the highest scoring offense in NFL history to a single touchdown.
And Carroll's contract extension doesn't just keep him in Seattle, it also continues what has been a great partnership between coach and general manager dating back to when Carroll and Schneider were hired in January of 2010.
"I think it's absolutely the most crucial relationship and aspect of our program," Carroll said of his partnership with Schneider days before their team won Super Bowl XLVIII. "All of the decisions that we make, we make together, and the fact that we communicate so well and we trust one another so much, it's helped us throughout."
Fan photos from the Seattle Seahawks' primetime game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16 of the 2018 NFL season at CenturyLink Field.