Upon hearing the news that the Seahawks have selected USC’s Pete Carroll to be their next head coach, I couldn’t help but reminisce about a particular scene from the movie Major League II.
In the first few minutes of the film, a couple of hardcore Cleveland Indians fans are hanging out when a buddy of theirs comes running on screen and delivers a dose of good news:
Fan #1: Guys! Guys! We signed Jack Parkman!
Fan #2: Parkman? We signed Parkman! Alright!
Fan #3: Hey, you can add 42 homers to our lineup! At least!
Fan #2: Guys, this is the year we go all the way!
(Chanting in unison): All the way! All the way!
For those who haven’t seen the movie, the euphoria surrounding Parkman’s arrival is short-lived.
Though he’s a superstar player who has had success in his previous stops, Parkman never quite pans out with the hometown Indians, and the team cuts bait with their high-priced investment a short time later.
Interestingly enough, Parkman is painted as a villain prior to his arrival, a hero upon arriving, and a villain once again after departing.
The reason I bring this comparison up has everything to do with the circumstances surrounding Carroll’s hiring, which happens to mirror the Indians’ signing of the fictional Parkman to an absolute tee.
Carroll, like Parkman, is seen as a villain. People hate him because he’s been ridiculously successful at USC, while enduring the constant nature of scandal throughout his tenure. There’s no denying his pedigree, but the controversy surrounding his methods have often been viewed as a blemish on his record (see Reggie Bush and Joe McKnight for examples).
At USC, Carroll has been the enemy of Seattle sports fans for nearly a decade. Whether you support the University of Washington, Washington State University, or another Northwest institution, chances are you haven’t thought much of the Trojans’ figurehead in recent years.
In one day, however, Carroll goes from being the bad guy to the hero.
The answer to all the Seahawks’ problems (or so we’re led to believe), Carroll is set to receive a five-year contract worth somewhere around $35 million. He will become the team’s head coach, as well as the president, wielding a great deal of power within the organization.
How are we really supposed to feel about all this?
Undoubtedly, some of us will react the way the fans in the movie do.
So what if the guy was the enemy a day ago? He has a track record, and he’s one of us now. Nothing else matters. We should embrace that.
But for certain there will be those of us who can’t quite stomach this hiring, for any number of reasons.
Carroll hasn’t coached in the NFL for 11 years, we’re paying him too much ($7 million a year is too much, let’s face it), and there are more proven coaches (Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden) still without jobs.
On top of that, the velocity of the transition from Jim Mora to Carroll can not go unnoticed. In a matter of minutes, the team went from having a head coach (Mora), to firing their head coach, to having a new coach already in their sights (Carroll). All of which leads us to believe that the team had Carroll pegged as the successor from the moment the season ended, knowing all the while that Mora would be out.
The whole thing screams “publicity stunt,” and one can only wonder whether this is the right move for this franchise at this moment.
In reality, we’ll have to wait and see what direction the organization goes in now. Will they flounder or flourish? Will Carroll ultimately become a hero or villain?
The answers to these questions and more will play out in the coming weeks, months, and years. For now, we’ll just have to embrace Pete Carroll for what he is: the newest head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.