Thursday, January 10, 2008

Carroll's situation is different

If I gave you the choice to either live in southern California or Atlanta, I'm guessing that you would choose the sunshine. Then if I told you that the California job was solid with nearly guaranteed success, and the Atlanta job was in shambles, then you would definitely take the former. Unless you're Pete Carroll, that is.

Because if you were Carroll, you would consider leaving USC to coach the Atlanta Falcons. To everyone on the outside, this seems like a horrible decision. But coaches do this all the time; leaving good jobs to take bad ones. Usually, it has to do with money. However, it's not like Carroll and others make minimum wage. They are highly compensated. So what's really the motive behind these moves?

Coaches, like everyone who is involved in sports, are competitive by nature. Usually that equates into winning, but it goes a bit further than it does with players. For example, could you see Tom Brady signing with the Dolphins just to challenge himself? The answer, of course, is no. But with coaches, this kind of thing happens all the time. As long as they are getting paid, the idea of a challenge is enough to hire anybody anywhere. Look at June Jones, who gave up a solid gig in Hawaii to coach at SMU. From an island paradise to Texas. While money obviously helps, no way Junes would have left if it weren't for the fact that he could make himself a legend.

So it's kind of hard to blame these coaches for wanting to challenge themselves. That's probably why everyone came down on Nick Saban. He didn't want a hard job (Miami), so he took an easier one (Alabama). He even took a pay cut so he wouldn't have to deal with a bad hand. Bobby Petrino, who quit on the Falcons during the season, did the exact same thing, taking a pay cut to coach at Arkansas. I would normally applaud people who took jobs they liked for more money, but in the business of competition, this seems a little weak.

I'll give Carroll the benefit of the doubt. If he is willing to put his career on the line so he can prove to the world, or at least himself, that he can be a winning NFL coach, more power to him. I have to like a coach who is never satisfied. And you can't be mad if you're a USC fan, because Carroll has done everything you could have asked for.


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