Without the coaches, 49ers-Seahawks wouldn’t even be a rivalry. Pete Carroll embodies the Seahawks and their fans perfectly: a ray of arrogant sunshine where there used to be nothing but darkness. We in the Bay Area used to either be ambivalent or even have positive feelings about Carroll. He was the guy who used to coach for the 49ers who never really made it work when he got his shot with the Patriots.
Then Carroll went to USC and started winning all the time, and in the process he became icky.
In stepped Jim Harbaugh, who turned around Stanford’s football program and became a local hero. He didn’t just upset USC, either. He upset Carroll, which seemed almost impossible since Carroll struts around as if Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” is constantly playing on a loop just for him.
Then Carroll left USC before the floor caved in and headed north to Seattle. The Seahawks have improved every year since his arrival. Harbaugh jumped to the NFL a year after Carroll, taking over the 49ers and winning the division twice in two years.
49ers fans think Carroll is a smarmy jerk. Seahawks fans just think Harbaugh is a jerk. Some officials probably agree.
The two head coaches are not really alike in any way other than jaw structure and their chosen profession, and the contrasts were on display during Sunday’s game — which the 49ers won 19-17, in case you were unaware.
On the western sideline, you had Harbaugh: bespectacled and always in motion:
On the eastern sideline, Carroll wore out his gum like a Marin County version of Mike Ditka:
Here’s how the two reacted to a holding call against the Seahawks:
I’ve gotten several requests for “Carroll Face,” so let’s get to it. First, Harbaugh’s reaction to Phil Dawson’s fourth and final field goal. Understated compared to what we’re used to seeing.
Before we get to the grand finale, here’s what Carroll looked like during the Seahawks’ win on Dec. 2 against New Orleans (slightly altered).
Fast forward to six days later. Different city, different situation, much different look from Carroll. And here’s why you clicked on whatever link took you here: Carroll’s face after Russell Wilson threw the interception that sealed the game for San Francisco.
And that’s it for the GIFs posts this week. Thanks to my wife for capturing all these moments — if you want to check out the other GIFs she made from this game, they can be found in these two posts from earlier today: