Belichick, Car­roll have dif­fer­ent styles

Post-Tribune - - Post-Tribune Sports - BY ED­DIE PELLS

PHOENIX — Put Bill Belichick be­hind a mi­cro­phone and he’s CSPAN — mi­nus the in­for­ma­tion.

Pete Car­roll is more like a Life­time movie. Or, as de­fen­sive line­man Michael Bennett puts it, “He has that Benjamin But­ton ef­fect on ev­ery­one.”

The Su­per Bowl coaches ap­proach their obligations to the public and me­dia from op­po­site ends. Belichick, coach­ing for his fourth cham­pi­onship in New Eng­land, is dry, of­fers lit­tle to no in­sight and rarely makes any­one laugh. Car­roll, look­ing for his sec­ond straight ti­tle, is a high-fiv­ing, fist-bump­ing extrovert who started one of his news con­fer­ences this week with a wel­com­ing, “What’s up?!?”

Dif­fer­ent styles have pro­duced sim­i­lar re­sults, though.

Belichick is mak­ing his sixth Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ance as a head coach and his Pa­tri­ots are as close as there is to a dy­nasty in the cur­rent NFL. Car­roll’s team is be­ing men­tioned as a pos­si­ble dy­nasty, as well, and that no­tion will only gain steam if the Sea­hawks win Sun­day and be­come the first back-to-back cham­pi­ons since, who else?, New Eng­land in 2003-04.

Dis­sim­i­lar as they are, they have both built their teams on a foun­da­tion of un­flinch­ing can­dor in­side their lock- er and meet­ing rooms — a qual­ity Car­roll brings to some of his public speak­ing, but one that Belichick es­chews.

“What you see on TV is what you get, pretty much, from the two,” said Pa­tri­ots cor­ner­back Bran­don Browner, who pre­vi­ously played for Car­roll in Seat­tle. “They have similarities too, though. Their foot­ball IQ is way up there. They are so dif­fer­ent, but at the same time they’re the same. That’s why they both have suc­ceeded at this level.”

Over his 15 years in New Eng­land, Belichick has made it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult for any­one out­side of Pa­tri­ots Na­tion to love him. No­body likes a bor­ing cheater, and that is how he’s some­times por­trayed. It’s all summed up in his han­dling of the con­tro­versy of Su­per Bowl week — De­flate­gate — a sub­ject he has re­fused to talk about since Satur­day, when he held a news con­fer­ence to deny wrong­do­ing and an­nounce he was mov­ing on. “We’re just fo­cused on Seat­tle this week,” he’s said, re­peat­ing some ver­sion of that time and again.

A much fuller pic­ture of the coach was painted in the 2013 NFL Net­work pro­duc­tion “A Foot­ball Life,” which gave an in­side and gen­uinely ab­sorb­ing look at the coach — miked up and be­hind the scenes dur­ing what turned out to be a dis­ap­point­ing 2009 sea­son.

“Hard not to get choked up about it,” Belichick said, barely con­trol­ling the tears as he toured his old stomp­ing grounds, the old Gi­ants Sta­dium, where he won his first two Su­per Bowl rings as New York’s de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor. “I spent a lot of hours in that room.”

One trait his old boss, Bill Par­cells, turned into an art was fig­ur­ing out how to get the most from each of his play­ers by treat­ing them in­di­vid­u­ally.

It’s not a trait Belichick shares, at least in the sense that no one seems to get the Su­per­star Treat­ment in New Eng­land: High-priced cor­ner­back Darrelle Re­vis got sent home one day for be­ing late for a meet­ing. Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards in a win against In­di­anapo­lis but has barely been heard from again af­ter show­ing up late for a meet­ing.

“He’s done a good job of treat­ing every­body fairly, treat­ing every­body the same,” said Pa­tri­ots line­backer Rob Ninkovich. “If some­thing goes wrong, he makes sure we know about it. It’s all about know­ing how to get the best out of every­body.”

Car­roll does the same thing — just dif­fer­ently.

Quirky as they come, he once said a book that guided many of his core philoso­phies was, “The In­ner Game of Ten­nis,” a 1974 self-help manuscript by W. Ti­mothy Call­wey that is about find­ing “the state of ‘re­laxed con­cen­tra­tion’ that helps you play your best.”

It’s also about ten­nis, but “the stuff re­ally res­onated,” Car­roll said in an in­ter­view while he was coach­ing South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.

In keep­ing with the touchy-feely theme, he has re­peat­edly made it clear this week that he re­spects the in­di­vid­u­al­ity of his play­ers — from Richard Sher­man, who is will­ing to speak on just about ev­ery­thing, to Mar­shawn Lynch, who doesn’t want to talk about any­thing.

The coach’s will­ing­ness to bend, how­ever, does not mean he de­vi­ates from the con­sis­tent rou­tine he es­tab­lished when he came to Seat­tle af­ter nine years at USC. Wed­nes­days are “Com­pe­ti­tion Wed­nes­days.” Thurs­days are “Turnover Thurs­days.” And so on.

“He’s got a phi­los­o­phy he stays true to,” said of­fen­sive line coach Tom Ca­ble. “For a lot of us who’ve coached a long time, we’ve been around a lot of great teach­ers, but their philoso­phies can go up and down. For him, he’s the way he is ev­ery day.”


Seat­tle Sea­hawks coach Pete Car­roll (left) and New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots coach Bill Belichick will em­ploy dif­fer­ent styles at Su­per Bowl XLIX on Sun­day.

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