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Pete Carroll And The NFL: A Talking Head-to-English Guide

Please join me in welcoming Signal to Noise to our editorial team here at Conquest Chronicles. I am really excited as S2N does some fine writing over on his own site. He will continue to write there while also sharing his witty prose with us here...Welcome!

It's about that time of year again. between the final game of the regular season and the bowls, when the perfect storm of talk regarding which top-flight college football coach might consider leaving the D-IA ranks to press his luck in the NFL. As we USC backers well know, this speculation invariably involves surmising what it will take to get Coach Carroll back to the NFL.

Hey, there are analysts at ESPN and columnists who need to fill air time and space on the page until the bowl games get underway. I understand. Before these things reach a real full head of steam for yet another news cycle, let's first state the obvious, as far as we know: any report of Carroll leaving Heritage Hall for the NFL is not to be trusted until he actually signs on someone else's dotted line.

With that, let's run through a few phrases you might hear or read and what they really mean:

Talking Head: "Candidates for the position with Franchise A include Coach A, Coach B, and Pete Carroll."

English: These are the trial balloons floated by owners, GMs or other front office folks to gauge interest from said candidates. It serves two purposes: to make the offer interesting and seem enticing. This is done to flatter the ego of the men they'd like to interview.

TH: "It has to be a dream situation for Carroll to leave USC to return to the NFL."

English: After running a championship program here at USC, he probably wants full personnel control. This is an arrangement that doesn't work very well in the pros any more unless you are Bill Belichick. (I am a Broncos fan in the pro game -- ask us how we feel about Mike Shanahan holding on to his prez of football ops title.)

TH: "GM A has talked with Pete Carroll about Franchise A's head coaching vacancy."

English: Bunk. If a GM is doing the talking, it's not going to happen. They're shooting the breeze, for reasons noted in the previous entry.

TH: "I'm told that Owner A has spoken to Pete Carroll about the job."

English: Phone conversation, but it's at least semi-legitimate. Not much will come of it, and you'll hear repeated mentions of things like this until --- whoops! -- Carroll decides he'd prefer to stay at USC.

Frankly, it won't happen again this year -- there are no coaching opportunities in the NFL that could offer Carroll the money he'd probably like and the authority, either -- but it won't stop the chattering class (including yours truly, so, grain of salt!) from discussing it because they've got time to fill.