How Pete Carroll’s Hall of Fame résumé stacks up after time with the Seahawks…

In his farewell press conference as the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach, Pete Carroll drew inspiration from the classic baseball movie “The Natural,” referencing the character Roy Hobbs and expressing a desire to be remembered as the best ever. Carroll, who is the only Seahawks coach to secure a Super Bowl victory in the franchise’s history, holds team records for both regular-season (137) and playoff wins (10). Despite this success, a lingering question remains: does his coaching career merit a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

While it’s acknowledged that Carroll may not be entirely finished with coaching, given his energy and willingness, the reality is that he turns 73 in September. If he were to return to coaching, especially becoming the oldest coach in NFL history, surpassing Romeo Crennel’s record, it could further enhance his chances of Hall of Fame induction. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee, including veteran NFL writer Bob Glauber, believes Carroll will be in the discussion when he becomes eligible, which requires coaches to be retired for five years.

Examining Carroll’s extensive coaching career spanning 18 years (14 with the Seahawks, one with the Jets, and three with the Patriots), he accumulated a record of 170-120-1. This win total ties him for the 15th most victories in NFL history. Among those ahead of him, seven are already in the Hall of Fame, and three others (Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, and Mike Tomlin) were active at the end of the most recent season. Notably, those retired coaches ahead of him who are not in the Hall failed to secure a Super Bowl win.

Carroll shares his 170 wins with two other retired coaches not in the Hall: Mike Shanahan and Tom Coughlin, both of whom won two Super Bowls. However, Carroll boasts a superior winning percentage (58.6%) compared to Shanahan (55.2%) and Coughlin (53.1%), each coaching two additional seasons. While Carroll’s winning percentage ranks 46th, it is worth noting that some coaches ahead of him have shorter careers, and Carroll outperforms several Hall of Famers in this regard.

In terms of playoff success, Carroll made the playoffs in 12 seasons, tying for seventh in the league. His 11 playoff wins are also tied for 10th. While critics may point to a 50% win rate in the playoffs (11-11), it’s essential to recognize the significance of his consistent appearances and victories in the postseason, especially amid an era of expanded playoff rounds.

One of the factors that could have significantly bolstered Carroll’s Hall of Fame case is the number of Super Bowls won. Winning just one Super Bowl may leave some questioning his candidacy, especially considering how close the Seahawks came to securing a second title. Among the 14 NFL coaches with two or more Super Bowl victories, nine are in the Hall of Fame, and Belichick and Reid are expected to join them once they are eligible. The remaining three—Coughlin, Shanahan, and George Seifert—highlight the importance of multiple Super Bowl wins.

In 2021, the Hall of Fame election of Tom Flores, who won two titles with the Raiders, provided evidence of the value placed on multiple Super Bowl victories. Flores, with an overall record of 97-87 in 12 seasons, secured his place despite a middling resume in terms of total wins.

In conclusion, Pete Carroll’s Hall of Fame candidacy appears strong based on his impressive coaching record, consistent success, and the impact of his Super Bowl victory. While winning more championships could have solidified his case, Carroll’s overall body of work makes him a compelling candidate for Hall of Fame consideration when the time comes.


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