How Pete Carroll Impacted Football For Over Two Decades

Pete Carroll is one of the more underrated great coaches of all-time. He has won championships in college and the NFL and doesn’t always get enough credit for what he has accomplished.

Carroll’s career, though, hasn’t always been a success. He coached the Jets for one year in 1994, going 6-10. He than coached the Patriots and went 27-21 in three seasons, making the playoffs twice. He was replaced by a guy named Bill Belichick, who has had moderate success in New England.

After his two NFL stints, Carroll took his first college job.


It’s fair to say that USC has fallen off the national map since Carroll’s departure.

Carroll’s accomplishments, from 2001-2009 include:

  • 97-19 overall record
  • 63-14 PAC-12
  • 7-2 Bowl games record
  • Back-to-back National Championships in 2003 and 2004 and lost one in 2005
  • He led USC to 5 total Rose Bowls, winning 4 (one of which was the 2003 Championship)

Since his departure from USC after the 2009 season, USC has been in a lull. They have cycled through four different head coaches (Lane Kiffin, Ed Oregeron, Steve Sarkisian, Clay Helton) and have been to just one Rose Bowl since 2008 (a 2016 win). They are just 4-3 in bowl games, which includes losses in the Sun Bowl (ending the season 7-6) and Holiday Bowl (ending the season 8-6). The bowl game and the records should be beneath USC standards. In addition to the 2016 Rose Bowl they also appeared (and lost) the 2017 Cotton Bowl.

Pete Carroll made USC what they are today. Prior to his first Rose Bowl in 2003, USC hasn’t been there since 1995. In the five years prior to Carroll’s hire, from 1996-2000, USC appeared in one bowl game and lost (1998 Sun).

Carroll won 10 or more games in every season, except his first season (6 wins) and his last season (9 wins). Prior to joining the Pac-10/12 in 1978, USC had just three 10 win seasons (1978, 1979, 1988)

What happened to those 4 USC coaches

  • Lane Kiffin was fired on the tarmac before boarding a flight home after a blow out loss. He coaches at Florida Atlantic now, and after a highly successful 11-3 season in 2017, FAU went 5-7 in 2018
  • Ed Oregeron left after being passed over and now coaches LSU, who went 9-3 this year
  • Steve Sarkisian was fired for being drunk in the huddle – now Falcons Offensive Coordinator and has been under pressure
  • Clay Helton is the active head coach – and no one in LA seems to want him there.


His 2009 departure came as a surprise as he made the jump to the NFL. He has been the coach of the Seattle Seahawks since 2010 and led them to two Super Bowl appearances (1 win) and so far in 2018, an undermanned Seahawks team, which entered the season with low expectations, is 6-5 and in control of one of the wild card spots in the NFC.

Since arriving in Seattle

  • Seahawks are 79-48-1 in 8 seasons with Caroll (not including 2018)
  • 10-7 playoff record including two Super Bowl appearances
  • Won Super Bowl XLVIII in 2013 and lost XLIX in 2014
  • He has made the playoffs in 6 of his 8 seasons

There was some success before Pete Carroll as Mike Holmgren was a very good coach for a decade. From 1989-2002, the Seahawks had one playoff appearance (1999). They did have 5 straight playoff appearances with Mike Holmgren and a Super Bowl appearance in the 2005 season. The Super Bowl appearance was the only one in franchise history, prior to 2013-2014.

Pete Carroll should be a Hall of Fame coach when it’s all said and done. He made a college football program and he rebuilt and branded an NFL franchise as his own.

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.