PHOENIX (AP) — Nate Carroll almost passed on the chance to own a Super Bowl ring.
Following the 2012 season when Gus Bradley was hired as the head coach in Jacksonville, Carroll was offered a job on the Jaguars’ staff. Doing so would have meant leaving Seattle, where Carroll was serving as a defensive assistant, and leaving his dad, Pete Carroll.
“I went down there and interviewed and I honestly thought about taking it just to show I could get a job outside of my father,” Nate Carroll said. “That was a big selling point for me.”
Nate Carroll ultimately stayed in Seattle when his dad offered him a position as an assistant wide receivers coach. It was a chance for the younger Carroll to learn the offensive side after starting his career with the Seahawks working under Bradley when he was Seattle’s defensive coordinator.
“I couldn’t turn that down because the opportunity to learn offense after you’ve learned defense is rare,” he said. “In the football business most guys stay on one side and that’s what they get and football is two different sides of a coin. It’s night and day. I’ve been very lucky.”
Both the coaching staffs in Sunday’s Super Bowl have family connections. Pete Carroll’s son is in his fourth season working for the Seahawks, while Bill Belichick’s son, Steve, is in his third season as an assistant for the Patriots. Steve Belichick was a lacrosse player at Rutgers before walking on the football team as a long snapper.
“Obviously, the passion’s in the family and they love what they do and Steven works his butt off,” New England special teams coach Scott O’Brien said. “There’s a lot of times he doesn’t even go home. He just stays there. If you enjoy what you’re doing why don’t you stay there?”
Generations of sons have followed their fathers into the coaching ranks. The names Ryan, Shula, Schottenheimer, Shanahan, Mora, Kiffin, Nolan and numerous others have seen multiple generations coach in some capacity in the NFL.
“It’s truly a treasure for me. To have the chance to have Nate to be on this staff and watch him develop over the years he’s been with us and grow as a coach,” Pete Carroll said. “To compete with your son, really at this level, to battle and to work day and night to try to figure out ways to try to win football games and you’re doing it with those that you love, it just makes it a cherished time for us.”
Nate Carroll turned down a chance to play college football at San Diego — where he was recruited by Jim Harbaugh — to attend Southern Cal and later was hired by his dad in Seattle. While Nate Carroll’s primary job is working with Seattle’s wide receivers, he’s also the one who at times has to be blunt and honest with his dad when others might shy away from speaking that way with the head coach. It’s a learned skill, molded from saying the wrong thing at times when he was younger.
“I’ve learned what he needs to hear, too, at times. He is ultra-positive and he will spin everything in a positive light because it’s better, he thinks and he’s right, I think,” Nate Carroll said. “But at the same time I think it’s part of my role to give him the perspective of an outsider. What does everybody else see that is going on? I keep my ear to the pavement and try to listen to the media stuff, just a little bit here and there so I know how everyone else views it so he is informed about that stuff, too.”
AP Sports Writer Howard Ulman contributed to this report.
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