Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jay Leno is Michael Jordan

Just watched Oprah for the first time ever.

She told the story of a celebrity who was the best at what he did, was forced into retirement, tried something new and failed, and so came back at the expense of someone else.

So why are so many against Jay Leno for pulling a Michael Jordan?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pete Carroll

The Seattle Seahawks have been in the headlines this past week (although for not exactly the ideal reasons in January). As the news broke, I tweeted some short bits which you can follow here @Vishal620. I spent the weekend gathering and organizing my many thoughts, so it's about time I chime in already:

The Seahawks were a mess. They forced Mike Holmgren into retirement in favor of phasing in Jim Mora as per general manager Tim Ruskell's choice. After just one year running the show together, Seattle fired Ruskell and Mora, along with most of their staffs. This means the Seahawks have cleaned house and are starting with a somewhat of a blank slate. Recall billionaire owner Paul Allen doing the same with his Portland TrailBlazers a few years back.

The excitement was greater in Seattle when Paul Allen brought in Mike Holmgren to run the show because he was a sure thing who had proved he was an offensive genius in the pros. Holmgren won Super Bowls in San Francisco and Green Bay and had coached up quarterbacks Montana, Young, and Favre. In comparison, Pete Carroll is not a sure thing, although I think he will have success now that owner Paul Allen and CEO Todd Leiweke allowed him to choose new GM John Schneider while seemingly maintaining final say on player personnel decisions.

Pete Carroll does have professional experience with the Jets and Patriots...during the 1990s. Because that was over a decade ago, a large part of me wants to throw it out. Since then he has shown his brilliance in evaluating and recruiting talent, albeit at the collegiate level, in route to a couple national championships while dominating the Pac-10.

When Carroll came to USC nine years ago, critics bashed the hiring on the basis that Carroll was a coach in the pros had no head coaching experience at the collegiate level. I think Seattle is getting a seasoned and experienced Carroll, who has learned from his many experiences at multiple levels.

Mora and Carroll are eerily similar NFL coaches. Mora is 31-33 as an NFL head coach; Carroll is 33-31. Mora is 1-1 in the playoffs; Carroll is 1-2. Mora was fired after one year as head coach in Seattle after three years in Atlanta; Carroll was fired after one year as head coach in New York before coaching three years in New England. They are both are 4-3 defensive guys, players' coaches, and touted as motivational 'rah rah' guys. That being said,when Mora defended himself by saying going 5-11 was a one win improvement over last year's 4-12 disaster, I was ready to fire him too. Of those 11 losses, 7 were by 17+ points. Seattle lost its last four games under Mora by a combined 123-37 points. Instead of the team coming together and finally beginning to gel under its new coaching staff, it was clear that Mora and his staff had lost the players.

The hiring of Pete Carroll is not only great because of Carroll himself, but because he brings along several great coaches from USC. Seattle's new offensive coordinator will be Jeremy Bates, a young and up and coming coach whose value has shot up after working with Jay Cutler in Denver.

The linebackers coach will be Ken Norton, Jr. A UCLA Hall of Famer and Super Bowl winner with the Cowboys, Norton was a great linebacker himself. In his five years coaching linebackers at USC, he recruited and developed the likes of Dallas Sartz, Keith Rivers, Brian Cushing, Kaluka Maiava, Clay Matthews III, Rey Maualuga, and of course, Seattle's own Pro Bowler Lofa Tatupu.

Pete Carroll was once asked something like if there was any one player he ever coached that was the most memorable. Carroll essentially said that Lofa Tatupu was the player who was most like him, who had the same thought process, was like a coach on the field, and was most in tune with Carroll. The Seahawks already have in place a great group of athletic and skilled linebackers alongside Tatupu in Aaron Curry, LeRoy Hill, and backup David Hawthorne. I am getting giddy at imagining how effective the Seattle Seahawks can be now that Pete Carroll and Lofa Tatupu are reuniting to run the defense.

Not surprisingly, former players of Carroll on the Seahawks like Lawrence Jackson and Lawyer Milloy have already more than endorsed the hiring and are rallying the players to support Carroll and buy into his program faster.

There are several NFL players who previously had success under Carroll and could easily be available this offseason. Carson Palmer. LenDale White. Reggie Bush. Matt Leinart. And someday Matt Barkley. I am just tossing out names, but do not be surprised to see Seattle end up going after one of these former USC legends.

Imagine if Seattle drafted Mark Sanchez last year.

In any event, the Seattle Seahawks hiring of Pete Carroll marks a new era to open up a new decade. With Kurt Warner's retirement coming up, looks like Carroll should be able to lead the Seahawks back to dominating the, NFC West.