Perhaps an interesting distinction I hold as a die-hard Seahawks fan is that I've never lived in Seattle. In fact, I've only seen them play one home game...a preseason game at the old Kingdome over a decade ago.
I was raised in California but ended up being whisked to Massachusetts during high school. For whatever reason, I never warmed up to the 49ers, who were the closest thing to a "hometown team."
I suppose it was the fact that I was too young to really know what was going on and the Seahawks had the "raddest" logo in professional sports. Of course, for the record, when I did get into the actual game...it was their defense that reeled me in, not the more obvious No. 80.
The point? I was able to adopt the typical New England sports frenzy with the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics, but I could never disown my beloved Seahawks.
However, I was here when Carroll coached the Pats.
I remember how vicious the media was. With most of the coaches who pass through New England, the fans typically wait until they are gone to crucify them. Not with Pete.
They lambasted the poor guy all the time. It takes a lot of moxie and a really tough person to take that kind of abuse and get back on the horse day after day.
When he left New England, I never really felt like he had been given a fair shot. I was elated to see what he did at USC and was really glad he caught on.
Then I read that Carroll was replacing Jim Mora. All sorts of thoughts rolled through my head.
I hadn't bought into Mora's camp much, and in a strange turn of events, I imagine that Mora is probably going through a lot of the same things that Carroll did after being fired from the Jets over a decade ago.
Of course, Carroll seemed to handle it much more professionally.
I thought about the accomplishments at USC, and about bringing that to Seattle. I thought about how they really needed that energy and competitive nature that seemed to have been sucked out of them since Holmgren's swansong.
Then, I remembered the New England media. It began to make me nervous.
It so happens that I found myself in New York City for a concert earlier this week. I made a day of it, and stopped in to the Time Warner Center Building. To my surprise, Coach Carroll was going to be there Tuesday evening for his book signing.
Naturally, I had planned to take the drive back Tuesday afternoon, but this was a chance to shake hands with the coach of the Seahawks. For someone who has to fly over 3,000 miles to watch his favorite team suit up, this was like a 10-year-old winning an all expenses paid trip to Disney World.
After watching him speak, and even the spattering of seconds I had with him as he signed my copy of "Win Forever" and a hat for my nine-year-old son, I could feel the intensity and energy off of this guy.
I found it intensely coincidental, considering the evening before I was watching a 50-something-year-old man jump all over Madison Square Garden.
Everything about Carroll seemed to radiate energy—the way he talked, the way he responded to questions, and the way he included those responsible for getting his book written as a team.
It was a completely different experience than reading or watching his press conferences over the past few months.
As I sit here thinking about it, I'm reminded of Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. More accurately, I'm reminded of Kurt Russell, who portrayed Brooks in the movie "Miracle."
It was all about conditioning and getting the best out of your players. It was about getting the Dexter Davises and E.J. Wilsons to play like Dwight Freeneys, if even for just one play.
If it's the "right" play, who really cares if it's Freeney or Wilson on your roster? What better players to impress upon the need to compete than the ones coming right out of college eager to make their mark?
His mood and persona are infectious, and for whatever reason, I find myself looking to next season and thinking, "Something good is just about to happen."
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