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Chargers could ruffle feathers in LA market by making this coaching hire

Could Pete Carroll help Chargers find footing in southern California market?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers are struggling to find their footing in the southern California market. The Los Angeles Rams have been much more interesting and competitive since they relocated from St. Louis in 2016. What was supposed to be a down year for the Rams this season turned into a playoff berth while the Chargers are in set to pick fifth overall this spring in the NFL Draft.

If the Chargers want to ruffle feathers and gain traction in Los Angeles, they could turn heads by choosing Pete Carroll to fill their head coach vacancy. The Seattle Seahawks recently fired Carroll after a disappointing 9-8 record in the 2023 campaign that left them on the outside of the playoffs.

Carroll, of course, spent the 2000’s as the lead man at the University of Southern California (USC). The Trojans had an unmatched 83-19 record during his tenure, including a 34-game win streak between the 2003 and 2005 seasons.

But controversy struck surrounding USC’s recruitment processes and whether players on the football, men’s basketball, and women’s tennis teams had accepted gifts and forfeited their amateur status. Star running back and eventual draftee to the New Orleans Saints, Reggie Bush, was at the center of the football investigation. OJ Mayo, the future Memphis Grizzlies first rounder, was under the spotlight for the basketball program. Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy win was vacated at the conclusion of the investigation, but Carroll jumped ship to the NFL as head coach of the Seahawks before punishment came down to the football program.

That’s all to say that some within the city of Los Angeles may still be holding a grudge over Carroll for how his time at USC ended, but he’s still one of the greatest football coaches in the market since the turn of the millennium.

Maybe even more reason for the Chargers to hire Carroll is the fact that it would get under the Rams’ skin. Rams owner Stan Kroenke and COO Kevin Demoff are hoping to grow the team’s roots in Southern California—they certainly don’t want a living LA legend leading the opposition even if the Rams are on an upward trajectory.

Ultimately winning is the best way to build a fan base, and the Rams have won much more often than the Chargers since they started sharing the LA market in 2017. The Rams have earned two trips to the Super Bowl and emerged as world champions in Super Bowl LVI—a win at their own SoFi Stadium with all eyes on the city of Los Angeles. The Chargers have only made the playoffs twice in seven seasons, and they have a 1-2 record in the postseason.

The Rams are sure to be paying attention to who the Chargers hire as their head coach. Pete Carroll as a surprise entrant would certainly heat up the battle for Los Angeles. Could the Chargers be interested?