As the 2010 Seahawks continue the bass-ackward approach to building a football organization that the 2009 Browns employed (and we all know how well that worked out), we think it’s important to pay close attention to the early days of the working relationship between CEO Tod Leiweke and coach Pete Carroll.
In our estimation, Leiweke saw the departure of G.M. Tim Ruskell as an opportunity to consolidate and expand power within the organization. Initially, the scuttlebutt centered on the Seahawks hiring a “young” G.M., which struck us as an effort by Leiweke to bring into the organization someone who would defer to Leiweke.
At some point along the way, however, Carroll became the top candidate to coach the team, and we’ve got a feeling that Leiweke went along with that only if Carroll accepted the fact that Carroll wouldn’t be taking the place over.
Then came Tuesday, when Carroll’s introductory press conference created the distinct impression that he’s taking the place over.
Whether that’s the case will hinge on whether Carroll is able to drive the search for a General Manager toward someone he wants, or whether Leiweke will steer the process away from candidates who would defer to Carroll and/or align with him.
If, for example, Pat Kirwan gets the job, it would mean that Carroll clearly controls the football operation. If the Seahawks hire someone with no connection to Carroll, the jury would still be out on whether Carroll can finagle what many assumed would be handed to him once he returned to the NFL.
And to the extent Carroll doesn’t currently have the kind of juice he envisioned, winning will allow him to accumulate more of it.
Regardless of how it all turns out, the Seahawks have set the stage for a potential mess, with more of the in-fighting and turf battles that have poisoned the organization from time to time over the past decade or so.