pete carroll laugh2

Everything about Pete Carroll in Seattle feels right. The fanbase that quite literally shakes the Earth with its gameday roar has the league’s most energetic head coach, a man who’s seemingly on a constant caffeine drip as he defies all laws of human behavior at his quite elderly age. If you weren’t reminded nearly every game, it would be a very funny joke when someone told you that at 62 years young Carroll is behind only Tom Coughlin in age among NFL head coaches.

Now he’ll age a few more years in Seattle, though you’ll never know it. Late last night the Seahawks announced a press conference for later this afternoon, and the dot connecting didn’t take long.

We’re still waiting on the terms, or at least the estimated ones as coaching salaries are difficult to nail down. Carroll’s existing contract was set to expire at the end of next season, and it paid him $35 million over five years. That annual figure put him just behind Sean Payton, who’s the league’s highest paid head coach at $8 million yearly. After a Super Bowl win, a second division title in Seattle, and a regular-season record of 24-8 over the past two seasons, Carroll should at minimum match that. Or more likely, exceed it, as here’s no better match for a team brimming with youthful exuberance on both sides of the ball.

But Carroll isn’t the first or last sideline boss to bleed charisma. His is a special blood and he’s far ahead of the rest in that regard, but what makes him unique is that — at least from what we see on the sideline — he takes that same goofy grin into important interactions with his players. I won’t claim to be a human behavioral expert, though I feel confident saying this: I would be much more open to engaging with the bouncing, cool Carroll than I would be with the screaming, maniacal Jim Harbaugh.

He just seems to understand the basic principles of fun, and that while there are times when hard-assery is necessary along with some tough love, football men mostly become football men because playing football is just the best. It’s fun, a childhood concept that gets lost far too often.

In fairness there are many other coaches around the league who seem to have a basic understanding of that concept, and there’s a reason why Rex Ryan is likely right behind Carroll on the list of coaches players want to have on their side at least once. But Carroll’s creative approach to fun is unmatched.

Beyond the rah rah and laughter, the matter of money here has an impact that goes past just Carroll.

Harbaugh is in a similar situation while also seeking a contract extension in San Francisco after leading his 49ers to three straight NFC Championship games in his first three professional seasons as a head coach. That stretch has included one narrow Super Bowl loss and a regular season record of  36-11-1. Pretty remarkable for a guy who inherited a team that hadn’t advanced to the playoffs in eight years, and as a quarterback whisperer he coaxed enough out of Alex Smith for one of those playoffs berths, and then had the bravery to insert Colin Kaepernick in the middle of a season while he was still developing.

That’s the next coaching contract frontier elsewhere, and it’s become highly contentious. In Seattle the attention can now turn to allocating the necessary dollars to maintain Carroll’s roster, and achieve dynasty status. Russell Wilson is still dramatically underpaid because extension negotiations can’t begin with him until the end of his third season, and both Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are entering the final year of their contracts.

So there’s work to be done yet, including an upcoming draft when Golden Tate’s replacement will be selected at some point. But the figurehead standing above it all is secured now. We are all Pete Carroll.