As he sits on the precipice of football immortality - of winning not only his first Super Bowl, but of becoming just the thirdfourth coach in the history of the game to win a college and NFL championship - Pete Carroll talked about how he got to where he is today. He didn't talk about his brilliant game-plans, his eagle eye for talent or his Matt Foley-level motivational skills. He talked about getting fired.
“It really took me getting fired a couple times, getting kicked in the butt, to get to where I am now,” Carroll said on Friday. “It’s taken some shots to get here, but it’s a tremendous time for us now.”
It was hard to see Carroll in a Super Bowl back in 1994, when he was let go after one 6-10 season with the New York Jets. Or in 1999, after he was dismissed by the New England Patriots following a 27-21 three-year run. Or even as recently as 2011, as Carroll started 14-18 two seasons into his Seattle tenure.
Carroll has always been relentlessly positive. That never changed. But what he learned at USC and carried with him up the West Coast was his knowledge in how to run an entire program around that positivity.
"I personally don't think I've changed that much," Carroll said. "I've just grown and learned."