Six-time Super Bowl Champion. Sixteen division titles. A 225 win record and 19 seasons in New England. Put it all together and you get Bill Belichick.
The facts don’t lie. Belichick is one of the most successful coaches in the NFL ever. Heading into his 20th season, the next best coach in the league has a tough task trying to match up.
So who falls number two behind BB in the standings? According to NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison, it belongs to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
Carroll’s head coaching career began in 1994 with the New York Jets, three years after Belichick took his first head coaching gig in Cleveland. His first shot was short-lived, however, and Carroll was off to San Francisco the following two seasons as a defensive coordinator.
In 1997, Carroll replaced Bill Parcells as the head coach of the New England Patriots. That first season resulted in an AFC Divisional Game appearance. In his next two season, the Patriots would finish fourth in the AFC East.
After the 1999 season, Patriots owner Robert Kraft had a decision to make. Should he stay with Carroll or take a chance on another guy? The decision was to fire Carroll and hire Belichick and, well, the rest has made history.
Next, Carroll took the head job at USC. He spent nine seasons with the Trojans. They won four of five Rose Bowl appearances, among other Bowl games.
So what separates Carroll from Belichick? Well, numbers don’t lie.
In six NFC Divisional Games, Carroll has lost four. He has only one Super Bowl ring. The Seahawks made two consecutive Super Bowls, losing in their second appearance in 2014 to, you guessed it, Bill Belichick.
On the positive end, what makes Carroll number two is his production each season.
Throughout his nine seasons in Seattle, Carroll’s Seahawks have finished first in the NFC West four times. They have only missed the playoffs twice in his tenure.
The “Legion of Boom” era made the Seahawks the team to beat at one point but, like any team, they’ve dealt with injuries to key players. Russell Wilson struggled with an ankle injury to start the 2016 season. To end that same season, Richard Sherman revealed he had been playing on an MCL injury. Carroll was still able to lead his team to first in the NFC West and make the Divisional Game for the sixth time.
The gap between Belichick and Carroll is large, but that is due to taking different paths. Belichick remained in the NFL throughout his entire coaching career, while Carroll spent some time in the college game.
By the time Carroll returned to the NFL in 2010, Belichick and Brady had been on a 10-year run. Carroll was starting from scratch, trying to build a dynasty that the Patriots had long-established by then.
It’s hard to say that if Carroll spent those nine years at USC in the NFL that the coaching gap would be closer. One can assume, however, that it would be the case.
As he closes in on a decade with the Seattle organization, many expect Carroll to only add accolades to his resume. Surely he will give Belichick a run for his money whenever he gets that next opportunity.