Niagara Gazette

Columns

June 8, 2014

SINGER: The tale of two football cities

Niagara Gazette — With the Bills’ future still to be decided, a new training season gears up amidst hopes simply for the coming football year. Meanwhile, straight across the country some 3,000 miles west on the 90 lies Seattle, where Buffalo alum Marshawn Lynch and a slew of other celebrated players, along with an entire city find themselves in the pleasant backwash of a well-earned Super Bowl victory.

That franchise is situated in proverbial La-La Land (only marred by inveterate winter rain, contributing to the recent tragedy in logged foothills of the nearby Cascades). Seattle remains the city of lattes made just so, and yes, that incessant drip from at least mid-October to the end of March; and in summer, sweet skies, no air conditioning, and lakes, ocean, islands, and mountains providing a near-at-hand playground.

The city’s Seahawks feature a coach (and exec vice-president) who couldn’t be more right for such a milieu. Despite his true individuality, industry and football smarts, very evident during last year’s march to the Super Bowl, and many previous laurels, Pete Carroll is a somewhat typical La-La Land guru. One denotes this in his newspaper quotations and in the self-help tone of his autobiographical book “Win Forever.”

Yes, Carroll worked as well in very different eastern milieus, such as Buffalo, and as head coach in Foxboro, where he got the best from a Patriots’ quarterback known here, too, Drew Bledsoe. Carroll also learned in the country’s mid-section from one of coaching’s greats, Minnesota’s Bud Grant, with a flint-like mien they don’t make anymore.

But let’s face it, Carroll was raised in tony Marin County (though far more expensive now), a lovely part of the SF Bay Area. And he cut chops under Bill Walsh of his favored NFL team growing up, the 49ers (whom Seattle ironically beat in the 2014 West Coast winner-take-all).

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