Carroll savors another playoff trip after decade in Seattle

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Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll smiles as he addresses a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, in Renton, Wash. When it comes to NFL reunions, this is as unlikely as it gets. Not just Marshawn Lynch back on a football field after more than a year away, but being back in Seattle. What I needed to hear from him is where his heart is. Is he in it and does he want to go for it, which he totally does," Carroll said. "He's worked to prove that. I don't doubt him one bit about that. He's very sincere about how he presents himself to this game and it's very important to him to be at his best and do well, and he's going to do everything he can to make that happen. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

RENTON, WA – When Pete Carroll was informed that nearly 10 years to the day had past since he was announced as the Seattle Seahawks head coach, the normally effusive coach was momentarily stunned.

Partly because it hasn’t felt like a decade. Partly because he’s never been anywhere for this long in his career.

“It seems like it just flashed by, really,” Carroll said.

It’s been nearly 10 years exactly — Jan. 11, 2010 is when he was officially hired — since Carroll left behind his reign over Southern California and embarked on a return to the NFL. His decision to come to Seattle was essentially a science experiment to see if the lessons learned and program created in Carroll’s time in college could be transferred with success to the professional game.

What seemed destined to be either a raving success or complete disaster has turned out to be the former. When the Seahawks face Philadelphia on Sunday in the opening round of the playoffs, it will mark Seattle’s eighth postseason appearance in Carroll’s 10 seasons.

Seattle had just 10 playoff appearances in its history before Carroll’s arrival. He’s the winningest coach in team history, picking up his 100th regular season victory with the Seahawks in Week 15 against Carolina. He’s brought the franchise to two NFC championships and its first Super Bowl title.

“I thought you guys would have me for a couple years and then kick me out of here,” Carroll said. “I never dreamed that we would be here 10 years because I’ve never been anywhere 10 years. This was a first. It really has been a flash. The amazing thing to me is that we’ve been through a generation of players. Guys have come through the program, played their whole careers and they’re on to the rest of their life. That’s an amazing thing to see happen. It’s been an amazing 10 years. It’s been a blast.”

While he may be the oldest coach in the league at age 68, Carroll still has the same youthful enthusiasm that he brought from college a decade ago. Some of his coaching decisions can be rightfully debated during that time, none more than the goal-line pass in Super Bowl 49 that was intercepted and cost Seattle a second straight title.