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Head coach Pete Carroll on Seahawks' penalties: 'We're not going to change the way we play'
By SP_COP on November 28, 2014 | From blog.seattlepi.com
Head coach Pete Carroll on Seahawks' penalties: 'We're not going to change the way we play' One day after his team’s 19-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in a nationally televised Thanksgiving night game, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was still thinking about one aspect of Thursday’s rout that didn’t go his team’s way: The officiating.

The Seahawks were called for 14 penalties – the highest in Carroll’s nearly five-year term with Seattle — resulting in 105 yards. Meanwhile, San Francisco was flagged just four times by referee Tony Corrente and crew. But while bemoaning the disparity in calls, Carroll said the team would continue to play its trademark physical, aggressive style of football.

“We’re not going to chance the way we’re playing,” Carroll told 710 ESPN’s “Brock and Salk” show on Friday. “The style of play that generates this kind of focus from the officials is somewhat emblematic of us, and I don’t want our guys to back off. What I wish would happen, I wish the game would be balanced out with our opponents being penalized equally.”

The Hawks’ penalty issues might not be that big of a problem. True, the team leads the NFL with 102 penalties called against them this season in 12 games — an average of 8.5 per contest, which ranks third in the league behind only the Denver Broncos (8.73 per game) and the New England Patriots (8.64). But after the Seahawks’ win Thursday night, those teams are a combined 25-9, which seems to illustrate Carroll’s point earlier this week that the refs tend to punish successful teams more than their opponents, something he noticed while coaching at USC.

“I think it’s interesting, fascinating,” Carroll said on Monday. “When we won the national championship the first year, the next year our opponents were penalized the least — for the next four years.”

Whether that’s because winning teams tend to play more aggressively or due to other factors, Carroll’s Seattle teams have been able to overcome the disadvantages caused by lopsided penalties. According to data from NFLPenalties.com, the Seahawks have the widest disparity between the number of flags thrown against them versus their opponents, being called for exactly twice as many infractions as the opposite side in 2014.

That continues a trend that’s been at play since Carroll took over as Seattle’s head coach in 2010, with his first year being the only season in which the Seahawks didn’t rank in the top six teams in terms of penalties called against them. That trend saw its zenith in 2013, when the Hawks led the league with 138 penalties.

So while Carroll continues to blow up at officials on the sidelines in just about every game this season and complains from the podium in post-game press conferences, he sees the silver lining in the increased scrutiny.

“If you guys take a look at the disparity between the penalties called on us and called on our opponents by the same crew in the same game, that’s really startling. I don’t know what to tell you,” Carroll said on Friday. “In some crazy way it may be even a little sign of respect from the officials. I don’t know. It just seems like we draw a lot of attention. We are pretty crazy and wild, the way we play, and we don’t want to change that.”...
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