Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates their 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - Two months after leading the Seattle Seahawks to the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, head coach Pete Carroll signed a new three-year contract to keep him in Seattle through the 2016 season.
"This was a huge priority for us coming into the offseason," general manager John Schneider said. "We knew it was around the corner, and quite honestly we're trying to take care of our own people and keep our young players together. But where do you start? You start at the top."
The contract replaces the final year of his initial five-year deal signed with the Seahawks in 2010 and extends the contract an additional two seasons.
“It was important to me because it was important to them,” Carroll said of getting a further commitment from the team. “Whether this came about or not I was going to keep busting it and going for it. It wasn’t going to matter in that regard but I think the statement that they wanted to validate the commitment to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it was extraordinary. It was an extraordinary effort on their part and I’m just humbled and thrilled they see it that way.”
Seattle won just nine games in two seasons before Carroll arrived in 2010. Carroll has led the Seahawks to two NFC West division titles and three playoff appearances in his four seasons as head coach in Seattle. All three trips to the postseason have yielded at least one victory as well.
“Fortunately we’ve had a pretty good little run and we’re in the middle of something pretty special,” Carroll said. “There’s no reason that either one of think ‘OK, we did this one time and that was it and that was our shot.’ We think we’re right in the middle of a great opportunity here.
"Our young players, the great leaders we have on the team, Earl [Thomas] and Richard [Sherman] and Russell [Wilson] and Max [Unger] and all these wonderful guys that have bought into our program and carry our message for us give us an opportunity to extend this challenge to come back and play great football again and be a leading organization and be something really unique and special. I’m just thrilled to be a part of it.”
Carroll has compiled a 38-26 record in four seasons with a 5-2 record in the playoffs. Carroll has led the turnaround for Seattle after a 4-12 season under Mike Holmgren in 2008 and a 5-11 season under Jim Mora in 2009.
Carroll built a Super Bowl winner from a team that had become old, small and slow in comparison to other rosters around the league under previous general manager Tim Ruskell.
Carroll hired Schneider as general manager and the pair have been in lock step ever since.
“We’re a little different and we do things in maybe a little different fashion. We ask people to come our way and come along with us and they’ve done that," Carroll said.
“This program has been one that has been built on in-depth evaluations of guys across the board from all walks. The free agency market, the Canadian league and every opportunity with the draft, John [Schneider] has done a remarkable job building this thing together. The statement about this relationship is so important. I hoped that some day we would be able to say that so other teams could see it and see that this format is a great way to do it.”
With Carroll's extension now done, Seattle can turn its focus toward getting new deals for Thomas and Sherman. Both players are set to enter the final year of their rookie contracts and are prime candidates for new contracts.
Like Carroll, the team extended S Kam Chancellor last April to show they intend to keep their own guys taken care of into the future.
“Hopefully this is all a statement and our connection is a statement that we’re here for the long haul and we want our players to come along with us,” Carroll said.