The coach of "win forever" is about to become the coach of "win it again."
Fresh off a dominant Super Bowl win, Pete Carroll is now faced with the most unique challenge of his career - motivating a team to win a second straight Super Bowl. It hasn't happened since the New England Patriots pulled it off in the 2003-04 seasons, back when Carroll pulled off his own repeat at USC.
Many coaches that once stared down the same problem Carroll deals with today realized they had to tailor their message to a different audience.
“I think the message is different every year, because every football team is different,” Mike McCarthy, who led the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl win in 2011 and a 15-1 record the following regular season, says. “The goal is the same, but the path and message of how you get there is something different. That’s the way we’ve always approached it.”
“The more success you have, the more you’ve got to demand it out of them. … I was an SOB that second year, that second Super Bowl. I would have been a bigger SOB the third year," said Jimmy Johnson, a back-to-back Super Bowl champ with the Dallas Cowboys. "That’s the only way I could get it out of them.”
“You’re constantly looking for new themes, new buttons to push. New ways for them to relate,” said Tom Coughlin, who has led the New York Giants to a pair of Super Bowl victories but no playoff wins the following year. “You have to challenge them after a Super Bowl year. The media is quickly going to throw the complacency thing in their face, which in reality gives you an opportunity to work your team with that.”
When asked about his plan for dealing with the year after, Carroll remembered a conversation he had with John Wooden shortly after he accepted the USC job. “I thought, Oh God, why did I ask that question? God dog it,” Carroll told MMQB.com. “He said, ‘Coach, you don’t change your philosophy; the players change.’ That’s my feeling now. You either have your philosophy or you don’t. You stay with what you believe in, you bring it to light as creative as you can. The philosophy never changes—sometimes the look of it changes, because the players change. The players will become more in tune to what’s expected of them. I think that’s how this works. We’ll see.”
With Operation Repeat now in its initial stages, Carroll is sending message to his jewelry-wearing team to expect more of the same from last year, just amped up.
“If a guy’s not having the best offseason of his life, he’s going to get beat out, I think. That’s kind of the way we roll.”