In blasting Pete Carroll, Seattle forgets it grew through similar risk-taking

Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll (via Wikipedia)

Right now, I’m not sure Pete Carroll could even get elected King County dog-catcher. The vaunted 12 Man legion of Seattle Seahawks fans are still bitterly second-guessing the coach’s decision on how to get that last yard for victory at the end of SuperBowl XLIX on Sunday. You know, not by sending running back Marshawn (Beast Mode) Lynch crashing through the line again but by throwing a short pass that was intercepted.

Now, I’m not much of a football strategist. But if viewers of 115 million TV sets thought Lynch just should be given the ball, maybe, just maybe the tough New England Patriots defense thought that, too, and would prepare accordingly. So Carroll’s decision to call for a quick pass play pattern with a historically low chance of interception that would stop the clock if caught by no one maybe wasn’t such a stupid call. It was simply a calculated risk that didn’t work out.

My goal here, though, is not to defend Carroll, who is more than capable of defending himself. It’s to gently point out to my fellow Seattleites what I see as an inconsistency in their mindset. The people here bitching about Carroll’s risky decision live here only because of a century-and-a-half of audacious risk-taking by the folks who built up Seattle in the first place.

Hear me out on this.

What could be more risky than that small boat full of gringos from Illinois–most of them children–who landed in 1851 on Alki Point in front of Indians who could have wiped them out but didn’t, triggering a real estate development boom that really hasn’t ended? Or the adventurers who set out north from here during the Yukon Gold Rush of 1897, some bringing back fortunes or spurring others, like the shoe store that became Nordstrom and the delivery service now known as UPS?

Or the decision of Bill Boeing, who crash-landed the first plane he ever owned, to start an airplane-building business in 1916 out of a boat-building plant on the banks of the Duwamish River? Or the preposterous decision decades later to cross 22-mile-long Lake Washington with long bridges that actually float because the lake was too deep and squishy at the bottom to anchor them, a move that opened up the now-prosperous eastern suburbs?

Or the showdown by Bill Gates (who co-founded Microsoft with Seahawks owner Paul Allen) against IBM over software to operate personal computers? Or Jeff Bezos‘s vision that books–and, eventually, almost everything else–could be sold online and quickly delivered by his Amazon.com, even it it might take decades to turn a decent profit for investors?

I believe I have just covered an awful lot of the Seattle-area economy, and the jobs therein.

As I see it, Carroll, like me relatively New To Seattle, was simply following a grand tradition hereabouts of grand plungers. Not every initiative works out as planned, as witnessed by Bertha The Stuck Underground Tunneling Machine gumming up the downtown waterfront and a fair chunk of taxpayer money. But the concept of risk-taking is part of the city’s fabric.

Seattle residents are a disparate lot, the overwhelming majority of whom were born elsewhere. But besides finding work here, they have found rare common ground with the Seahawks. I believe they will come to accept Carroll’s decision.

Of course, in dog-loving Seattle it might take another SuperBowl win to do it.

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In blasting Pete Carroll, Seattle forgets it grew through similar risk-taking — 2 Comments

  1. I liked this article – you are much kinder that most Seattle residents. I thought Pete Carroll behaved like a gentleman and for that I give him high marks !
    I wanted to add another name to the “risk-taker” list. The Worthington family who brought their money west and we still see Kenworth trucks on the road.
    I have watched and listened to so many Seahawk games where I thought the seat of my pants were in danger – so I was disappointed but not surprised by the results of the game.

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