Peter in a Pickle?
The media scrutiny surrounding the nation’s most widely watched sporting event of the year can be characterized as overkill. Eventually the correspondents in attendance of the daily briefings begin to meander off the beaten path and into territory which has nothing to do with the team, the strategy or the game itself. Every reporter is looking for a unique angle or an opportunity to rattle the cage. Enter Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
While the Broncos coaching staff is thoroughly immersed in planning to mitigate whatever effect the weather will have on their game, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is looking at the glass half full - as always. He is running practices punctuated with enthusiastic slaps on the helmet and encouraging words from the sidelines. He is engaged, involved and tuned into the players’ morale in addition to the pedantic attention he devotes to the X’s and O’s.
Carroll is widely known as the ever optimistic leader of a team with a tough-as-nails defense and a talented young quarterback. He is the opposite of the crusty curmudgeon Tom Coughlin who scowled his way through two Super Bowl titles in New York. Carroll is a charming guy on the outside with a hippy, dippy product-of-the-60’s attitude on the inside. He believes we all should live and let live which is why his players adore him though Seattle’s penchant for penalties may be a result of his laissez faire approach. Strong safety Kam Chancellor summed it up when he stated, "He believes in us. He wants us to be the best we can be."
Carroll stated yesterday that he thought the NFL should explore the possibility of medical marijuana being allowed as a means of assisting players whose injuries and ailments would be aided by such treatment. Well, let’s hear Pete’s perspective straight from the horse’s mouth.
"I would say that we have to explore and find ways to make our game a better game and take care of our players in whatever way possible," Carroll said at a news conference Monday following his team's first practice of Super Bowl week. "Regardless of what other stigmas might be involved, we have to do this because the world of medicine is doing this."
You can almost hear Pete’s players trying to stifle a laugh as they take a big hit off that doobie. Seven Seattle players have been suspended by the NFL since 2011 for violating the league’s substance-abuse or performance-enhancing policies. And that number doesn’t even include the controversial Richard Sherman who suspension was overturned last season on appeal. There is no doubt that Carroll’s tacit approval of allowing a little reefer madness into the NFL went over big with many of his own players as well as those who indulge from other teams around the league. But the question is how far can you extend the leash before discipline suffers? When does ceding authority for the benefit of camaraderie result in anarchy? Thus far it’s hard to argue with the results particularly when you review their accomplishments over the last two seasons.
According to SBR odds virtually all the offshore books are dealing Denver -2 and there doesn’t appear to be any movement off that position. If you recall, the moment the Super Bowl matchup was set, the books made Seattle a 1 ½ point favorite in NFL odds but before you could tease the Broncos to +7 ½ that line vanished and Denver has been the constant neutral site chalk ever since.
However, if we are looking for a betting edge in our NFL picks, could the Seahawks soaring penalty count be indicative of a lawless program where the inmates are running the asylum? If Denver does what they’ve done so many times this season and exploit their opposition’s defensive lapses, could the Seahawks lose their cool before they ultimately lose the game? Maybe the current odds reflect that and perhaps Denver truly does deserve their role as the favorite in Super Bowl XLVIII.