Pete Carroll has won a Super Bowl and national championship in college football and is one of the best football coaches in history. But he’s had some painful misses that prevented him from winning more.
One of Carroll’s most notable misses came late in the 2006 National Championship Game that ESPN re-aired on Thursday night. Carroll’s Trojans were leading 38-33 and facing a 4th-and-2 at the Texas 45 with around two minutes left. They gave the ball to LenDale White, who was stopped short of the first down.
Texas got the ball and later scored a touchdown to win the game 41-38.
Seeing USC come up short on the run led some to recall the Seahawks’ 28-24 loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2015. Seattle was down 28-24 and had a 2nd-and-1 at the Patriots 1 with under 30 seconds left. All they had to do was give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in a short-yardage play and they probably would have scored and won the game. Instead, they passed and the ball was intercepted by Malcolm Butler to seal an improbable New England win.
So why did Seattle make the unconventional decision to throw the ball in that situation? Maybe because the White run didn’t work out for Carroll a decade earlier. That’s what a Patriots source joked in a text to Yahoo’s Pete Thamel after watching the game on replay.
Patriots source texted me tonight after watching White come up short on fourth down for USC and Pete Carroll: “No wonder he threw it against us.”
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) April 3, 2020
That is as good of a theory as any for Carroll’s decision. You’re just never going to be able to change Richard Sherman’s mind about the decision.