- Godwin’s law says “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
- ProFootballTalk.com is a type of online discussion.
- As the online discussion at ProFootballTalk.com grows longer, the probability of a Pete Carroll to [insert NFL franchise here] rumor approaches one.
- Those reading a Pete Carroll to [insert NFL franchise here] rumor take the event at face value, conveniently forgetting the cumulative evidence of past crimes (untruth).
- Citizens of pre-1945 Germany took each action of Hitler and the Nazis at face value, conveniently forgetting the cumulative evidence of past crimes (untruth, suspicious moustaches).
- ProFootballTalk.com is pro-Hitler and pro-Nazi.
- We must invade ProFootballTalk.com with a two pronged attack through North Africa and Italy, and the coasts of Normandy. Also, maybe get PFT to besiege Stalingrad.
- Band of Brothers is really, really good.
How did I arrive at these conclusions? Number 8 is pretty easy since it’s absolutely true. The preceding seven are a little harder to come by, but they sprang fully formed into my mind after reading this post by FreeMethomps of WeAreSC.com:
The Pete Carroll Principle
I’m sure most of you have heard of the Peter Principle: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” Well, I’m about to (re?)introduce you to a principle that will hopefully attract lots of grant money for me to live off of: The Pete Carroll Principle.
I haven’t gotten it down as succinctly as the Peter Principle yet, but basically it goes like this: “If you repeat a rumor over and over, it may eventually come true and make you look like a genius for ‘calling it’.”
Today’s example of the Pete Carroll principle comes from Profootballtalk.com, an NFL rumor site that has been humping the “Pete Carroll to the NFL” rumor since…well, you’ll see. Now, here are most of his excerpts about Carroll to the NFL. I have omitted a couple entries where he only briefly mentioned it (which happened a lot when Leinart was going pro). Pay attention to the dates. He’s talked about Carroll to San Diego for several years.
Note, this is really long, but you can get a sense of it by just skimming the headlines if you want the quick gist.
POSTED 12:10 p.m. EST, LAST UPDATED 1:47 p.m. EST, January 11, 2004
CHARGERS TARGETING CARROLL?
Although USC coach Pete Carroll’s name has surfaced in the Oakland Raiders’ fruitless search for a new head coach, we’re hearing rumors that another AFC West team might have genuine designs on the head coach of the true national champions.
Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith announced last month that coach Marty Schottenheimer will return for his third season with the team. But, as we said at the time, we won’t believe it until we hear it from a member of the Spanos family.
And the Spanos clan still isn’t fully sold on Marty Ball, especially after the team has limped through the past two seasons — in the face of increasing expectations.
So with Carroll, who has coached (and been fired by) two other AFC teams (the Jets and the Pats), suddenly becoming the hottest head coaching prospect west of Louisiana, the Spanos family is intrigued about the possibility of swapping out Schottenheimer for Carroll.
Of course, the process would be far from simple, given the minority hiring guidelines. With each passing day, a decision to fire Schottenheimer would be met with greater speculation and/or skepticism regarding whether the Chargers already have their sights set on their new coach, which could make it hard to line up minority candidates.
Also, if the Chargers cut Marty loose and then can’t pry Carroll away from the Trojans, where would they turn? Sure, there would be options, but it’s hard to identify many candidates who give them a better chance at winning than if they venture forward with year three of the Schottenheimer experiment.
POSTED 11:22 p.m. EST, January 11, 2004
CHARGERS PLANNING A CHANGE?
In response to Sunday’s report that Chargers ownership might quietly be coveting USC coach Pete Carroll, we’ve heard that current coach Marty Schottenheimer’s staff has been informed that they are free to look for other work, their contracts with the team notwithstanding.
The thinking is that a change could yet be coming in San Diego . If the assistants find other work before a new head coach (and a new staff) arrive, the Spanos family won’t be on the hook for the remainder of their contracts.
It’s possible, of course, that Schottenheimer is merely looking an opportunities to upgrade the staff. But it’s hard to imagine Marty turning all of his assistants loose — such an approach usually means that only the best ones will find other opportunities, and that the turds will be left behind.
POSTED 8:52 p.m. EST, February 4, 2004
CARROLL WANTS BACK INTO THE NFL
To read this story, click here.
(Can you blame us for shooting some traffic over to our new college football site?)
[Editor’s note: the link no longer worked, so I removed it]
POSTED 9:15 a.m. EST, January 5, 2005
PETE POLITICKING FOR NINERS GIG
Even before his Trojans pulverized the Sooners in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday night, USC coach Pete Carroll was working behind the scenes to move up the coast to San Francisco , as the new coach of the 49ers.
According to a league source, Carroll is posturing to succeed Dennis Erickson in San Fran, who like Carroll has been to the top of the college game . . . and has been a two-time failure in the NFL.
(Okay, so Erickson hasn’t been fired yet. We’re hearing that his exit — and the termination of G.M. Terry Donahue — is a sure thing, and will happen very soon.)
Carroll could fare better than Erickson, in our view (and, of course, it would be hard to do worse). Shortly after the foaming-mouthed pursuit of Nick Saban commenced in Miami, we questioned why owner Wayne Huizenga was so willing to back the truckload of money up to the front door of the LSU coach at a time when the USC coach — who unlike Saban has experience as an NFL coach in the free agency era — isn’t getting a sniff despite one of the best two-year runs in the history of college football.
We’ve made our feelings clear about recycled NFL head coaches. But our objection to the notion of hiring guys who’ve been fired by another NFL owner relates primarily to the phenomenon of former pro coaches being on the short list for a new top job within a year or two after getting canned. In Carroll’s case, he’s done something very significant at the college level. If/when he re-enters an NFL locker room, he will have a greater level of respect.
Still, there are folks around the NFL who question whether Carroll can get it done. If he makes it to San Fran, he’ll likely bring along his good buddy Pat Kirwan (who was spotted on the sidelines with Carroll during Tuesday night’s game). Carroll is a former personnel exec who’d have a better chance getting a cabinet position in the Bush administration than another NFL gig — but for the fact that his pal Pete might be in position to get Pat hired.
A year ago, it was revealed that Kirwan, a supposedly objective NFL analyst for the league’s official web site, was getting a piece of David Dunn’s fee for the representation of former USC quarterback Carson Palmer, whom Kirwan helped recruit for Dunn via Kirwan’s relationship with Carroll. Amazingly, Kirwan barely drew a slap on the wrist for allowing his integrity as a quasi-NFL journalist to be so grossly compromised.
We’re also hearing that Carroll tried on several occasions to get Kirwan into the Patriots front office when Pete was the head coach there — and that Bobby Grier consistently blocked Carroll from doing so.
So, even as we listen to ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit proclaim that Carroll won’t be leaving Southern Cal , the wheels already are in motion for Carroll’s long-anticipated return to the NFL.
And it looks like Kirwan will be tagging along.
POSTED 7:58 a.m. EST; UPDATED 8:36 a.m. EST, January 6, 2005
YORK PLAYING INTO PETE’S HAND
On Wednesday, we reported that USC coach Pete Carroll was working behind the scenes before the Orange Bowl to get in line for the 49ers head coaching job. After Tuesday night’s 55-19 win over No. 2 Oklahoma, it appears that any politicking by Pete won’t be necessary, and that he can now play coy in the hopes of grabbing as much coin and control as possible, a la Nick Saban in Miami .
Indeed. the Los Angeles Times reports that the San Francisco 49ers plan to pursue Carroll aggressively.
Per the Times, an unnamed source says that 49ers owner John York plans to do something “exciting and dramatic” to boost a sagging franchise.
“You’re dealing with a desperate man,” the source told Sam Farmer of the Times. “I think he’s willing to go to the wall for anything that will stop the bleeding.”
In short, York “wants to take a page from Daniel Snyder” (and that’s a good thing?), paying Carroll $5 million or more per season and handing him total control of the franchise.
Carroll, if he’s smart (and he is), will milk this for all it’s worth. He’ll continue to say, as he did on Wednesday, “If somebody’s going to call you, they’re going to call you. If they want to come after you, they’ll come after you. If people are calling about jobs, you have to feel good about the fact they’re considering you. That’s always nice. But I’m not interested.”
That’s right, Pete. Don’t slam the door, but don’t invite them inside. Yet.
We’re not knocking him. He’s earned the ultimate leverage — especially now that it’s known that York is willing to do whatever it takes to get him.
For Carroll, a little thing called ego might also be driving him to squeeze as much as possible out of York , and to enjoy every nanosecond of the squeezing process. After all, Carroll was bypassed for the head coaching job in San Fran for Steve Mariucci in 1997, even though Carroll had spent two years as the team’s defensive coordinator. (Carroll later landed that same year as the head coach in New England , after Bill Parcells bolted town.)
And Carroll justifiably should be miffed at the fact that Nick Saban has been the top-of-the-A-list NFL candidate for the past two seasons, even though Carroll has done as well — if not better — than Saban in the college ranks.
So if Carroll can get everything he wants, he’ll go. And he’ll continue to deny interest until the day he accepts the job, since no college coach in his right mind would openly flirt with an NFL team in the final month of high school recruiting.
What about the Rooney Rule, you ask? Well, as we now know, the league office has provided the Art Shell Exception to the provision requiring at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for every head coaching vacancy. Shell has said he’ll interview for any job, any time, any place. So all York needs to do is fly Art out to ‘Frisco for a few hours, and then the Niners will have a clear path to working out a deal with Carroll.
Here’s one last name to keep in mind — Mike Holmgren. We’ve heard he wants out of Seattle , given the looming free agency clusterfudge, and that he’d like to come home to the Bay Area. If Carroll simply asks for too much at the bargaining table, Holmgren could emerge as York ‘s much more affordable Plan B.
POSTED 8:40 a.m. EDT, October 22, 2005
CARROLL EYEING VIKES, PACK, SAINTS?
USC coach Pete Carroll, we hear, is monitoring the situations playing out in Minnesota , Green Bay , and New Orleans/San Antonio/Baton Rouge.
For the full story on this rumor and two other NFL-related college football scoops, click here to pay a visit to our newly-reconstituted sister site, Collegefootballtalk.com.
POSTED 9:16 a.m. EST; UPDATED 1:38 p.m. EST, December 10, 2005
PETE PULLING A BILL CLINTON?
USC coach Pete Carroll said Friday on ESPN Radio 710 in L.A. that he plans to stay at USC in 2006.
“I’m going to have the chance to recruit eight or nine first-round draft picks. In the NFL you can get one a year. So we’re really excited about the place we are, I’m happy to be here.”
The interviewer took it one step farther, as demonstrated by the following colloquy (hey, we borrowed Steve Young’s thesaurus):
ESPN Radio: “Does that mean you’re going to pass on the chance to interview for any jobs outside of SC this year?”
Pete Carroll: “I won’t interview for any jobs.”
ESPN Radio: “Wow.”
Pete Carroll: “I won’t interview for any of them.”
But pay particular attention to his choice of words. He won’t “interview” for any of the jobs.
But a guy like Carroll doesn’t need to interview. He has “interviewed” via his run of unprecedented success at USC. He’s now one of the few guys who can sit back and wait for the NFL teams to pursue him.
And keep this in mind — college coaches can’t afford to say or do anything prior to the national letter-of-intent day to give other teams ammo to claim that the coach won’t be there. As a result, many college coaches who make the climb wait until after the recruits are committed (this year it’s Feb. 1).
When it happens, it’s often without warning (see Dennis Erickson in 2003).
So it’s possible that Pete is merely mincing words, a la our former Commander-in-Chief, in the hopes of getting those eight or nine first-rounders in the door, before Carroll walks out of it.
POSTED 7:26 a.m. EST; UPDATED 8:19 a.m. EST, December 29, 2005
CARROLL TRYING TO HOLD RECRUITS TOGETHER?
As speculation mounts that some NFL team looking for a new head coach will offer USC boss Pete Carroll a deal worth $6 million per year including total control of the football operations, Carroll has agreed to a contract extension with the Trojans.
But the details are extremely sketchy, which prompts us (and likely others) to conclude that the measure is nothing more than a Band-Aid aimed at keeping the incoming recruiting class on track through February 1, the national letter-of-intent signing day.
Previously, Carroll said that he wouldn’t interview for any NFL jobs, sparking speculation as to whether this also meant that he would spurn any and all offers that might be made absent a formal interview. Indeed, there have been reports that Carroll’s intermediaries are testing the waters regarding a possible return to the NFL. Surely, recruiters from other schools have been hammering away at USC’s targets with such information.
Even now, Carroll is less than unequivocal regarding his lack of interest in an NFL gig.
“I’m not looking.” (But they could come looking for me.)
“I don’t care about those [NFL] opportunities.” (But I might not turn up my nose at a jaw-dropping offer.)
“They don’t fit right now.” (As in “right at this moment.”)
“They haven’t even really been a consideration at any time in the five years I’ve been here.” (But they could be in the immediate future.)
Look, the reality is that any coach with an NFL pedigree who has tremendous success at the college level will be mentioned as a potential candidate for a return to the pro game, since the NFL generally is regarded as the pinnacle of the sport. Besides, how many championships can a guy win at the JV level before taking another shot at vindicating his abilities in the professional ranks?
So Carroll can’t be upset with the fact that he’s on the short list of viable candidates for the coming round of NFL vacancies, and that he’ll continue to be on that list until he takes a pro job — or until the Trojans fall of the map and another coach with an NFL background becomes the perennial flavor of the month.
POSTED 9:53 p.m. EST, January 17, 2006
SAINTS KEEPING THEIR OPTIONS OPEN?
Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com was first to report that the Saints will hire Cowboys offensive coordinator Sean Payton as the franchise’s fourteenth head coach.
Some league insiders believe that, a year from now, the team could be hiring head coach #15.
There’s a theory making the rounds in league circles that owner Tom Benson will go through the motions for 2006 in Louisiana , and then sell the team to L.A. interests for close to a cool billion.
And, as the theory goes, the new owners will then offer the G.M./coaching gig to USC coach Pete Carroll.
Of course, this means that the new owners will be required to deal with the current coach’s contract — which in Payton’s case comes with a relatively modest “thanks for giving me another chance to be a coach after I pissed away my shot in Oakland” compensation package.
In the interim, Payton can be counted on to keep his mouth shut while Benson gradually implements his likely plan to pull the franchise out of Louisiana , for good. After being pooped on by guys like Jim Fassel and Bill Parcells, Benson’s a breeze.
POSTED 12:42 p.m. EDT, April 30, 2006
RUMORS OF CARROLL RETURN TO NFL ALREADY CHURNING
In the wake of arguably that worst seven-day stretch that any elite college football program ever has endured, there already are rumors wiggling along the NFL grapevine regarding a possible return by USC coach Pete Carroll to the pro game in 2007.
As the rumor goes, Carroll has concluded that he has little or no control over the kids on the team beyond the white lines.
The problem is that Carroll’s star has been tarnished (in our view) by the recent string of embarrassing episodes involving Reggie Bush, Winston Justice, LenDale White, Mark Sanchez, and Dwayne Jarrett. Although Carroll likely will be in the mix for any vacancies that arise after the 2006 season, he might not be the top-of-the-list, no-brainer candidate that he was in 2005 — and he also likely won’t be in position to dictate the terms of his arrival (such as full control over personnel decisions and a front-office job for long-time pal Pat Kirwan).
Prime candidates for Carroll’s services could be the Chargers, Cowboys, and Ravens.
POSTED 6:24 p.m. EST; LAST UPDATED 7:04 p.m. EST, January 1, 2007
WHAT NEXT FOR FALCONS, CARDINALS?
We previously heard that the list of potential candidates for the vacancy in Arizona will be USC coach Pete Carroll, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
We’re now told that Chargers offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is expected to get a look for the job. Another name that has surfaced for the Arizona job is that of former Saints coach Jim Haslett, who currently is the defensive coordinator with the Rams.
In Atlanta , we’re hearing that the preliminary list includes Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. It’ll be interesting to see whether former Bucs coach Rich McKay makes a run at Colts coach Tony Dungy. Though Dungy is under contract beyond 2006 in Indy, a mutual separation could be in the offing if the Colts lose early in the playoffs. (The ultimate irony then would be Jon Gruden getting hired by the Colts, and winning the Super Bowl next season.)
We also like the idea of West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez getting some consideration for the Falcons’ job, even though we don’t like the idea of Rodriguez leaving. The Mountaineers’ full-blown spread option offense would suit Falcons running back Mike Vick perfectly, and the challenge for Rodriguez would be to find more running backs like Vick to run the offense if/when he gets hurt.
POSTED 6:13 a.m. EST; LAST UPDATED 6:57 a.m. EST, January 10, 2007
CARROLL FULL OF CACKY?
So USC coach Pete Carroll says that he’s not leaving USC.
So what? Nick Saban said he wasn’t leaving the Fins. A year ago, Herm Edwards said he wasn’t leaving the Jets. The list goes on and on.
So we now believe the words of no one on matters of this nature, and we’re even more suspicious of a college coach who says he’s staying put less than a month before it’s time for the next class of recruits to formalize their verbal commitments. For a college coach thinking about a jump to another team or to the NFL, reports, rumors, and speculation regarding his possible departure will make it harder for him to seal the deal with his incoming recruits if, in the end, he chooses to stay, for at least another year.
In Carroll’s case, our guess is that he would have said nothing on the topic if we hadn’t been tracking Wayne’s plane to Costa Rica, and then with the aid of a tip putting Carroll (and close friend/former NFL exec Pat Kirwan) in Costa Rica, too. Surely, Carroll’s meeting with the Dolphins would not have been disclosed along with the list of other candidates that have been interviewed absent the dot-connecting regarding Carroll.
For a college coach who leaves, the best outcome for the coach in question is for the news of his potential exit to break five minutes after he signs a contract. Bobby Petrino pulled that off in leaving Louisville for the Falcons, and a few years back Oregon State coach Dennis Erickson stayed under the radar until he suddenly showed up as the surprise candidate for the 49ers’ job.
So when Carroll says “I absolutely expect to be here,” the reality is that Carroll’s expectations can change. Quickly. And dramatically.
Especially if the Fins cough up $5 million a year and total control over the operations.
And we won’t be surprised if that happens. It could be that the maze of formal interviews was primarily intended to provide cover for the covert negotiations with Carroll, just as the Falcons’ sit-downs with named candidates kept NFL observers from realizing that Petrino was the guy. We’ve heard that Dolphins Enterprises CEO Joe Bailey is pushing for Carroll to be the next coach, and Wayne Huizenga and his top lieutenants surely wouldn’t have gone to Costa Rica on a Sunday if they weren’t serious about getting Carroll on board.
POSTED 9:41 p.m. EST, January 12, 2007
CARROLL STILL IN THE MIX FOR FINS’ GIG?
There’s a rumor making the rounds in league circles that USC coach Pete Carroll asked Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga for a week to consider the possibility of becoming the head coach of the team.
Published reports indicate that there are/will be five finalists for the job. Whether Carroll is one of them is unknown.
Carroll has been saying publicly that he has no interest in leaving the Trojans. But we’ve all heard that routine before, and we’re never going to believe it again.
POSTED 8:47 a.m. EST; UPDATED 9:11 a.m. EST, January 15, 2007
We’ve gotten an uncorroborated tip from one of our friends in the media regarding the possibility that the San Diego Chargers will immediately target USC coach Pete Carroll if, as has been reported, Marty Schottenheimer is fired on Monday.
The talk is that Carroll would want control over the football operations, which means that G.M. A.J. Smith would have to take a back seat.
But we think, frankly, that the Chargers should take it one step farther and send Smith out the door with Schottenheimer. Smith has done a decent job of acquiring talent, but in a quest to build a winner Smith has picked up more than his share of losers, as evidenced by the string of arrests and other embarrassments this season.
There’s also a rumor that Carroll wants $7 million per year to make the jump to the NFL from USC, and that if the move is made it will happen “real quick.”
But keep this in mind. Under the Rooney Rule, it can’t happen as fast as Carroll or the Chargers might like. Instead, the Spanoseses must interview at least one minority candidate before hiring Carroll. And if the available minority candidates believe that Carroll is getting the job, it might be hard to convince one or more of them to sit for the job.
POSTED 9:12 a.m. EST, January 27, 2007
CARROLL TO CHARGERS IN 2008?
Although USC coach Pete Carroll rebuffed the advances of the Dolphins earlier this month, and despite the fact that Carroll might well be the mystery candidate to whom FOX’s John Czarnecki referred when he reported that the Chargers would have poop-canned Marty Schottenheimer if said mystery candidate would have been willing to take the job, there’s a strong feeling in some league circles that Carroll will be the coach of the San Diego Chargers in 2008.
“Write it down,” one source told us recently.
Of course, Carroll isn’t going to talk about this or any other possibility at the NFL level, especially on the eve of letter-of-intent day. Some of those incoming USC recruits, after all, might be under the impression that Carroll will be sticking around for more than the first year of their college careers.
If Carroll should make the jump a year from now, look for offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian to get first dibs on taking the thing over. Sark was in line to become the head coach of the Raiders, and when he pulled his name out he talked about his desire to be a head coach at the college level. We’ve got a feeling, then, that part of the effort to keep Sark at SC included some winking and nodding regarding his prospects for replacing Carroll.
And that would also explain why former co-offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin took within a week the job Sarkisian didn’t want.
So why would Carroll leave? Maybe it’s just time. Maybe he wants to take care of unfinished business at the NFL level, where he was fired twice in the 1990s. Or maybe he sees the storm clouds gathering regarding the Reggie Bush fiasco, and wants to run for cover before the lightning begins to strike.
POSTED 9:12 p.m. EST; LAST UPDATED 9:29 p.m. EST, February 12, 2007
The San Diego Chargers, their coaching staff decimated by the loss of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and linebackers coach Greg Manusky, have fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer.
The move comes nearly four weeks after it was announced that Schottenheimer would be back for 2007.
And now that a new crop of recruits have signed on to attend USC, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Chargers court, and land, Trojans coach Pete Carroll.
In a statement issued by the team on Monday night, president Dean Spanos attributed the move to a “dysfunctional situation,” and that an “intense search” for a successor will begin.
“Our fans deserve to know what changed for me over the last month,” Spanos said. “When I decided to move ahead with Marty Schottenheimer in mid-January, I did so with the expectation that the core of his fine coaching staff would remain intact. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be the case, and the process of dealing with these coaching changes convinced me that we simply could not move forward with such dysfunction between our head coach and general manager. In short, this entire process over the last month convinced me beyond any doubt that I had to act to change this untenable situation and create an environment where everyone at Charger Park would be pulling in the same direction and working at a championship level. I expect exactly that from our entire Charger organization in 2007.”
Although G.M. A.J. Smith has not yet been fired, keep in mind that the bulk of a front office’s work is done in the days leading up to free agency and the draft. Come early May, we’ve got a feeling that Smith will be sent packing, too.
Back to Carroll, we’re not swayed by the fact that Spanos promises an “intense search.” If he says now that Carroll is the guy, the Chargers will never be able to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for the job.
Regardless of where the team goes next, the move marks a stunning end to an otherwise stellar season.
POSTED 11:01 p.m. EST, February 12, 2007
CARROLL ALREADY A DONE DEAL?
Early speculation in some league circles is that the Chargers already have a wink-nod deal in place with USC coach Pete Carroll to succeed Marty Schottenheimer.
Consider the evidence.
After it was announced that Schottenheimer would return to the Chargers, John Czarnecki of FOXSports.com reported that the Chargers would have cut Schottenheimer loose if they could have lined up the guy that they wanted to take his place. Czar didn’t name the mystery candidate, but our guess was/is that it is/was Carroll.
Four weeks later, Carroll was able to lock up another class of recruits, who signed their letters of intent on February 7.
Also, remember how Steve Sarkisian abruptly pulled out of the running to coach the Raiders? He said at the time that he wants to be a head coach at the college level, prompting speculation that he’d been given a wink-nod of his own that, if/when Carroll leaves, Sark will get the Trojans’ gig.
And that might have prompted USC co-offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to look elsewhere so soon after Sarkisian said “no thanks” to the Raiders.
Then there’s the looming Reggie Bush mess, which could eventually cause serious problems for USC. But it’s generally accepted at the college level that the NCAA doesn’t come down as hard on a program if the coach who presided over the mess is gone when the poop hits the propeller.
If the Chargers didn’t have a damn good idea who they’d be hiring before firing Schottenheimer so close to the scouting combine and the onset of free agency, then they’re just plain stoopid. How in the world can an NFL franchise commence the process of shaping their roster for 2007 without the benefit of knowing who the head coach will be, and what systems he will run?
Still, if the Chargers don’t already have an officially unofficial deal in place with Carroll, the other possibilities are intriguing.
How about Jon Gruden? We heard last month that his situation in Tampa is not fully resolved, and the Chargers are just close enough to the top of the mountain to benefit from the short-term jolt he can bring to the table.
Or Ron Rivera? The Bears’ defensive coordinator is a California native, and is almost certain to get an interview under the Rooney Rule.
Ditto for 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary. He is widely respected in league circles, and many believe it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a head coach.
Other possible candidates (in our view) include Chargers receivers coach James Lofton, former Chargers tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski, former Chargers linebackers coach Greg Manusky, Texans assistant head coach Mike Sherman, former Cardinals coach Dennis Green, and former Giants coach Jim Fassel.
Here’s a curve ball — former Chiefs, Rams, and Eagles coach Dick Vermeil. Sure, he’s “retired.” But we think the lure of taking a 14-2 team to the next level could be enough to coax him to come back.
POSTED 3:44 p.m. EST, February 13, 2007
CHARGERS TO INTERVIEW RIVERA, RYAN, GIBBS
Jay Glazer of FOXSports.com reports that the Chargers have received permission to interview Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs for the position abruptly vacated on Monday when the Chargers fired coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Rivera will interview for the job within the next 48 hours. He was a finalist for the Steelers job. Word on the street, however, is that he has not been interviewing well.
Also, Glazer reports, citing team sources, that USC coach Pete Carroll is not regarded as viable option “at this point.”
We’re intrigued by the whole “at this point” thing. If, as we vaguely suspect, a wink-nod deal already has been done with Carroll, and if the team’s objective is to keep it all under wraps while a seemingly legitimate interview process unfolds, wouldn’t it make sense for the Chargers to put out the word that Carroll isn’t in the running until several other candidates have been “interviewed”?
We apologize for being so skeptical. But, the last time we checked, this business was full of people who are full of it. (And we all know what “it” is . . . don’t we, Nick?)
POSTED 12:03 p.m. EST; UPDATED 12:14 p.m. EST, February 14, 2007
RUMORS SPREAD THAT CARROLL-TO-CHARGERS IS A DONE DEAL
There is increasing talk in league circles regarding suspicions that the San Diego Chargers already have a secret deal in place with USC coach Pete Carroll.
Folks are pointing to some of the same facts we outlined on Monday night, after word broke that Marty Schottenheimer had been fired. Some think that the most convincing proof was/is USC assistant Steve Sarkisian’s abrupt about-face with the Raiders, followed days later by the decision of his former Trojan colleague, Lane Kiffin, to take the job.
Why else, the theory goes, would Kiffin take a job that Sarkisian didn’t want unless they both knew that Carroll wasn’t long for the USC gig, and that Sarkisian, not Kiffin, had been hand-picked to replace him?
Others are pointing to the fact that the first guy to be interviewed is Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who has no head-coaching experience but who helps the Chargers satisfy the Rooney Rule quickly, in the event that the Pete Carroll cat gets out of the bag prematurely and none of the minority candidates agree to sit for the job. (See Detroit Lions and Steve Mariucci.)
We’re also told that there is worry among the incoming class of USC recruits regarding the possibility that Carroll is leaving. But Pete has opted not to even address the situation publicly.
If he were not going to be the San Diego coach, he could easily say so. The fact that he has said nothing at all speaks volumes, in our view. Especially since he now has a couple dozen nervous high school seniors who signed papers seven days ago under the assumption that the head coach would be sticking around for at least the next month.
Stay tuned. We predict that the Chargers will go through the motions with several candidates, and that Carroll will then swoop in out of the blue as the guy.
If that happens, look for Pat Kirwan to soon follow him — and for G.M. A.J. Smith to definitely get the boot after the draft.
POSTED 4:38 p.m. EST, February 14, 2007
SCHEFTER GIVES LIFE TO OUR SMITH PREDICTION
Adam Schefter of NFL Network reports that the San Diego Chargers might part ways with G.M. A.J. Smith after the April 2007 draft.
This reports meshes with our prediction that Smith will be let go for his role in the dysfunction that resulted in the termination of coach Marty Schottenheimer.
It also bolsters the mounting speculation that USC coach Pete Carroll is being, or has been, privately courted by the Chargers. Carroll most certainly would want final say over the roster, and if Smith couldn’t get along with a head coach who didn’t have final say, he’d never be able to work for one who does.
Still, if Carroll gets the job, the biggest challenge will be for him to hire a personnel guru who can do the job right. It’s no coincidence that college coaches who have made the leap to the NFL in the post-salary cap era have struggled. It’s one thing to recruit 25 blue-chippers every year and line ’em all up three deep on the depth chart. It’s quite another to engage in the Peter-robbing, Paul-paying world of the NFL, where there are only so many quality players that can be signed without going over the total spending limit.
Though Carroll surely has Pat Kirwan on speed dial, Kirwan’s specialty is cap and contracts. Besides, he has been out of the league for a while now. Carroll needs someone with the skills to find the right players at the right price, and then Carroll will be required to take that talent and coach it up in a way that will allow the team to overcome a playing field far more level than the raw talent gap Carroll has enjoyed in at least seven or eight games per year at USC.
POSTED 9:09 a.m. EST; LAST UPDATED 10:21 a.m. EST, February 15, 2007
USC RECRUITS ARE SOL?
Several readers have asked us whether the kids who signed letters of intent to play football at USC have any recourse if coach Pete Carroll skedaddles for San Diego in the coming days and/or weeks.
Though we initially believed that the recruits were out of luck, the outlook might not be so bleak for players who believe that they were hoodwinked into thinking that Carroll would be there.
Here’s how the process works. An incoming freshman recruit signs a letter of intent. The letter of intent process is not governed by the NCAA itself, but by a separate organization to which most if not all of the NCAA schools belong.
By signing a letter of intent, the student agrees to attend the school for one year, and the school agrees to provide certain financial aid (usually, for the guys who sign on the first day of the process, a full ride). The penalty for a player who does not honor the letter of intent is the loss of one year of eligibility, plus a requirement that the player sit out a year (it’s technically known as a “year in residence”).
If, then, running back Joe McKnight decides to rescind his letter of intent with USC and attend LSU, he would not be able to play in 2007, and as of 2008 would only have three total years of eligibility.
But there’s also an appeals process, which potentially allows a player to revoke the signed letter of intent with reduced penalties, or no penalties at all. Relief may be granted based on proof of “extenuating circumstances.” Typically, this involves illness of the student, illness or death of a parent, or financial hardship.
So what if the player alleges that his head coach had a secret intention of leaving the university after the letters of intent for the coming year were signed, and that the player would not have signed the letter of intent if he had known the truth? If something like that could be proven, it’s possible that the player would be able to get out from under the obligation, without penalty.
And that’s another reason why Pete Carroll needs to stay under the radar for as long as possible, if he ultimately plans to take the Chargers job. Given the timeline, with Marty Schottenheimer fired only five days after the blue-chippers signed their letters of intent, things could get very interesting if one or more of the incoming recruits decide to file an appeal in an effort to attend other schools.
Finally, the schools have the option of releasing the letters of intent, and if Carroll is coaching the Chargers by the end of the month we think that it would be the right and fair thing for USC to do. But terms like “right” and “fair” don’t always get honored in an industry that involves millions of dollars flowing to the institution in exchange merely for a free education that plenty of the “students” don’t really want, anyway.
No one’s going to read all that. As Methomps said, all you have to do is look at the dates and the headlines and realize that the type of people who predict the end of the world and are going to be really satisfied in 4 or 5 billion years when our sun becomes a red giant and boils away our water and atmosphere are also the same type of people who write for PFT’s Rumor Mill. Apocalypse now! Apocalypse now! Will Pete get the Chargers over the playoff hump? CLICK HERE!!!!1
(Much thanks to FreeMethomps, who was once Methomps but escaped. Hopefully his post will be archived but, judging from the fickle nature of WeAreSC.com’s new bulletin board, probably not. Still… ProFootballTalk is the Fourth Reich. You heard it here first!)