View From The Top
Inside the mind of a coach winning big at halftime of an NFL game.
A commanding lead at halftime for a head coach means only one thing, you’re still holding your breath until the second half kicks off. The players won’t want to even leave the field for the mandatory break.
But as the Seattle Seahawks headed in to the locker-room up 38 to nada over the hapless Arizona Cardinals the players bided their time doing equipment adjustments while hardly breathing heavily.
The position coaches were working with their groups, still tinkering with the game-plan. But something was racing too fast to be clocked.
The mind of head coach Pete Carroll was a blur.
It’s happened before. Images of Dolphins-Jets and Bills-Oilers no doubt flashed in his mind. The crippling thought of losing a game with such a halftime lead probably crept in at the corners of his psyche.
Then the questions filter through: How’s Ken Wisenhunt going to adjust?
When should the starters come out?
When should I go with Matt Flynn over Russell Wilson?
Who’s banged up?
The internal chatter is muted when perspective is added to the mix. The first priority of any head coach is to never show doubt in front of his charges. Up or down 38 points, the image is always the same: positive.
There are two schools of thought when in such a commanding position: call off the dogs and tread water for 30 minutes or keep up the attack and hope not to give up the big play.
The opposition will often times dictate the strategy and in this case, the Cardinals were never going to threaten the Hawks, allowing Carroll to invoke the latter tactic: giving the green light to run up the score.
But how to keep the emotions running high?
Easily. He gets to deliver one of the best coaching tactics ever. Winning because they can. His players have spent the past two quarters dominating so let them play with that swagger. After thirty minutes of systematically destroying an opponent coach Carroll can let go of the reins and let his players decide the outcome.
With this type of game, or street fight, X’s and O’s go out the window; the battle is won by emotion not strategy.
For Pete Carroll, motivation tactics have never been an issue and as he corralled his herd the motivating factor was “message sending”. Often forgot about, the little brother of the NFL all tucked away in the Pacific Northwest, the Seahawks had to come out of the break in full statement form.
Their win over Green Bay has an asterisk, the Chicago victory left doubts on playing with a lead and the New England win…no-one but Seattle wins at the CLINK.
A massive victory over a division rival and Seattle can kick the inferiority complex to the curb.
Nope, this wasn’t just going to be a 12th man victory either. This was to be a beat down by the hands of 46 professionals.
Erase all doubts, maximize statistics and solidify their presence as the number one team in the division.
And with the players performing so well, the coach just needs to guide the ship and play on his team’s positive emotions, let today be a gift for the fans.
Cheers, The Bartender