Over the years, Pete Carroll has perennially resided near the summit of NFL.com writer Elliott Harrison’s annual head coach power rankings, finishing no lower than third in each of the past four years.
2019 won’t be any different. In fact, after executing a masterful coaching job to get the Seahawks back to the playoffs last year, Carroll has taken a step forward.
In Harrison’s latest rankings, the 67-year old Carroll leapfrogged Sean Payton of the Saints to regain the second-overall spot behind only six-time Lombardi Trophy winner Bill Belichick of the Patriots.
After losing multiple star players during the offseason, including cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive end Michael Bennett, and tight end Jimmy Graham, most experts expected Seattle to take a major step back. As noted by Harrison, contending for a playoff spot wasn’t supposed to be in the cards and most experts projected them to win no more than six games.
Instead, Seattle overcame a rough 0-2 start to win 10 of its final 14 regular season contests, including an upset victory over Kansas City in Week 16 to clinch an unexpected playoff berth. Though the Seahawks lost a close 24-22 Wild Card battle to the Cowboys, it may have been Carroll’s finest hour as an NFL head coach.
Dealing with incredible roster turnover and several coaching changes on his staff, Harrison couldn’t help but be impressed by Carroll’s ability to galvanize the locker room and steer the team back to the postseason.
“The team's 2018 season was yet another testament to Carroll's ability to motivate, as well as manage in-game situations.” Harrison wrote. “Far more impressive is his energy in maintaining a positive atmosphere around a team that has enjoyed [endured?] its share of robust personalities over the years.”
Carroll led the Seahawks to double-digit victories for the sixth time in seven seasons, surpassing Mike Holmgren as the franchise’s winningest coach with a 21-7 defeat of the Vikings in December. In nine seasons at the helm, he’s compiled an 89-54 regular season record and also won 15 playoff games.
With most of Seattle’s playoff roster from a year ago returning and a promising new draft class ready to contribute, Carroll will look to expand upon that record with hopes of putting his team back into Super Bowl contention.