Great Sports Writing: “23 Reasons Why A Profile Of Pete Carroll Does Not Appear In This Space”

J.R. Moehringer’s 2007 profile on the then USC-coach for LA Magazine turned out to be one of the best pieces written that year.  It’s a bizarre tale and details how a man connected to a city in ways you may not have ever known about and also sheds light into just how hyper-competitive Carroll is when it comes to, well, everything in life.  In the wake of the Seahawks historic upset of the reigning champion Saints last week, who better to feature in this week’s edition of Great Sports Writing??  From LA Magazine:

These are some of the things Carroll doesn’t do:






Think negative.

That is, I haven’t seen him do any of these things, not the way most people do them, with regularity. I, however, do all these things, sometimes at the same time, and following Carroll around, therefore, doing everything he does, not doing anything he doesn’t do, I’m always hungry, tired, thirsty, and need to find a men’s room. He pushes me to the limits of my endurance, until I’m barely able to function.

After we’ve spent the night cruising South-Central, after Carroll has catnapped on the floor of his office, I expect to find him exhausted the next morning. I want to find him exhausted. Instead he looks as if he’s slept ten hours, eaten a heart-healthy breakfast, then enjoyed a 90-minute deep-tissue massage.

It’s emotionally as well as physically demoralizing. Under the best of circumstances, emasculation is a major concern when hanging around the USC football team. Heritage Hall is a hypermasculine, phallocentric environment, and with your little notebook, and your nettling questions, and your trick knee, you can’t help but feel like Woody Allen’s kid brother. It doesn’t help that, while interviewing the defensive star, you hold the tape recorder above your head and wish there were a step stool handy. But when the head coach outworks you, outlasts you, when the head coach grinds you into a fine dust, you feel like Dakota Fanning.

If I shut my eyes and try to picture my time with Carroll, one scene comes quickly to mind. It’s late. He’s pacing outside his office, glancing at a game on TV, tossing a football to himself, talking to me and several assistant coaches all at once. Suddenly and unaccountably he leans against a leather chair and starts doing pushups. Slumped in a chair, eyelids heavy, I can’t help wondering if he might secretly be using crystal meth.

Carroll’s wife says that when he does sleep, he sometimes shoots awake in the middle of the night, seized by inspiration. A new play, a new solution to some Xs and Os problem. Carroll likens his mental state to the movie Phenomenon. He says he feels something like that John Travolta character, whose mind is racing with ideas and flashes of insight. I remind Carroll that at the end of the movie, doctors discover that Travolta’s character has a tumor. Carroll says something to the effect that I’m carrying the metaphor too far.

While watching Carroll in practice one day, I’m vaguely thinking I need to start taking vitamins more regularly. He’s smiling, throwing the football, chewing a wad of gum, inspiring everyone, pumping everyone up. He’s 14 years older than I am. His job is harder than mine. His hours are longer. His path is strewn with greater hurdles—Cal and Oregon, to name two. But here he is, on the balls of his feet, running and jumping, leaping through the air while happily blowing his whistle. Baryshnikov as a Baywatch lifeguard.

I think: Maybe if I had a whistle.

Do yourself a favor and sit down and read the piece before the Seahawks look for a second straight upset this week over the Bears.

[LA Magazine]


Seattle Seahawks Fans Caused A Small Earthquake After Marshawn Lynch’s 67-Yard Touchdown Run

Pure awesomeness.  From Seattle’s Fox affiliate Q13:

With every yard Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch gained, Qwest Field got louder.

But by the time his 67-yard, eight tackle breaking scamper in Saturday’s playoff game against the New Orleans Saints was over, the 12th man was rocking.

And apparently so was the earth below the stadium.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network recorded a small tremor at exactly 4:43 p.m. Saturday afternoon from an old monitoring system near where the Kingdome used to stand.

That time is almost exactly when Lynch broke what turned out to be the game-deciding touchdown run in the 4th quarter, sealing the improbably win by the Seahawks.

And while Qwest Field is famous nationwide for it’s crowd noise, PNSN scientists think their readings show that was the first recorded 12th man tremor, ever.

After all, the “quake” was recorded only at that single SoDo station.

Who would have thought this could happen?  Pete Carroll with a very realistic chance of making it to the NFC title game??  This is hilarious and unbelievable.  It’s also realistic because the Seahawks have already gone on the road and beaten the Bears in Chicago this season. 

What does it mean?  It means we’re a Falcons upset away from Seattle hosting the NFC title game. 

The year of the takeover indeed!

Here’s video of the run in case you missed it.

[Fox Q13 Seattle]


Remember Brian Bosworth?

The Seattle Times ran an excellent profile this weekend that detailed one writer’s search for the man who called himself “The Boz.”  If you were a fan of 80s college football, or any kind of football, we highly endorse this article for your sports reading pleasure.  It’s a classic tale of hubris that chronicles one athletes fall from notoriety to obscurity.  Among the highlights:

“The Boz printed T-shirts and planned on selling jeans. Seattle’s first modern superstar was an American pioneer. The first NFL player to truly conceive himself as a brand. It has become so common now it’s hard to remember just how groundbreaking the concept was back in the mid-1980s.”

“The Boz made sure everyone had an opinion about him, and those opinions were as unambiguous as a pregnancy test. Either positive or negative. And then he made money off both sides.  They sold shirts in Denver, “Boz Busters.” They featured his picture with a circle and a line through it. Check the tag, though: 44 Blues.”

“Seattle was backed up to its own 2-yard line when Bo Jackson got the ball. Bosworth hit Jackson at the 1. When The Boz collided with Bo, an equally large persona, guess who ended up on his back in the end zone? It is remembered as the moment everyone realized the emperor had no clothes. The Boz was stripped of all the hype and exposed.” [Seattle Times]