The Seahawks final offensive play of Super Bowl 49 has sparked much discussion. Most has revolved around “Why throw a pass from the one yard line when you have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield?”
Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.
What I would rather talk about is how the key players reacted and interacted with the media following the interception and ensuing loss… Specifically Russell Wilson, and Seahawk head coach Pete Caroll.
I have written a few times about my belief how coaches, as adult, emotionally mature leaders, should react to the public and media after facing some adversity… as well as what should guide their thinking and speaking when something good happens in their program – like a win! That post can be found here: Chain of Accountability , Chain of Praise.
In a nutshell, what I believe is that Coaches, as adults should hold themselves accountable when things are not going well, and give credit to their players (who even in the NFL are really just big kids) when good things happen.
After the game, Coach Caroll handled a horrible moment with dignity and maturity, answered every question, and telling his inquisitors,
“Put it all on me. My fault, totally,”
Carroll held himself accountable for the outcome of that play and the game.
Russell Wilson did the same, saying,
“The message from Coach Carroll was he took the blame for it… that it wasn’t my fault. I put the blame on me for not making that play. I’m the one who threw it. … I thought it was going to be a touchdown. I don’t question the call. I thought it was a good call.”
Being able handle situations as these two did demands some emotional maturity… emotional intelligence… It is evident that both Wilson and Carroll posses that level of EQ… emotional intelligence.
But, how does that happen… how do you teach that… coach that?
I found myself trying to do this… taking baby steps… with some middle school athletes at our school.
Sometimes it is easier to do this when you are not directly coaching the sport. I am not a basketball coach. Our boy’s basketball team had an excellent season, and most of the players played football for me and have me in our Strength and Conditioning class.
After every contest it became routine for me to ask the players to “give me a recap” … whether I was at the game or not… just to get their perspective. After one tough defeat, I asked a couple of players who were congregating in the hall before school for this recap
The first thing they told me was that they gymnasium was small… that is was an elementary school gym… and that several times our team made 3 point shots but were actually out of bounds… that the 3 point line was that close to the out of bounds line. I asked them “was the opposing team playing on a different court?” After a few quizzical looks, the light bulb finally went on… and with a sheepish grin they answered, “No”. I followed up by asking, “Well, that being the case, what could you have done better individually, and what could you have done better as a team?” And they responded with great, introspective answers.
Another time, after asking for the recap after a loss, one player responded, “They were lucky”. I asked if he had played the best game possible… and he answered, “No, I could have played defense better and rebounded better”.
I was trying to get them to focus on things that are in their control, and helping them see that they have some accountability.
As the season progressed, I saw their responses, and them, gain maturity… both in the losses and wins. Maybe this is how EQ is learned.
What I do see, though, is that the Chains of Accountability and Chain of Praise, run both ways… particularly on a healthy team.
You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org