Leadership vs. Coaching


I love football. I have since I was 4 and sat next to my dad, listening while he explained how downs worked. One of my favorite aspects of football is the multiple roles of leadership that exist on a team. The balance of competent coaching and the organic process of allowing leaders to emerge based on their play can be magical, engaging players and fans alike. (see Earl Thomas)

As fans, we evaluate coaching regularly, on every down… on both sides of the ball. Whether it’s a line coach, a position coach, or a head coach, evaluations are real time and very public. Further evaluations are done on the head coach via daily pressers and post game shows. For me, one of the most public evaluations was probably Mora Jr toward the end of his coaching era here at Seattle. His post game interview in which he tossed Chris Spencer firmly under the bus for errors in hiking the ball with a cast on his right hand really stuck with me as an utterly wretched example of poor leadership.

In contrast, when I look at how Pete Carroll handles his public leadership duties, I’m impressed by three things:

  1. He doesn’t throw his players under the bus for poor game play
  2. He creates an environment in which players want to play and improve
  3. There’s a total accountability process, top to bottom, players and coaches alike

Rather than blathering on about leadership and football, I’ll get to the point so I can go prepare for the intimate relationship I’m about to have with this turkey…

The Point: It really grinds me to listen to Mora Jr provide game commentary. It grinds even more when he provides game commentary on the Seahawks as the former coach. Why? Because the man has less coaching insight than the turkey in my fridge. He uses his technical knowledge of football to cloud the fact that he doesn’t understand what it takes to lead a team or develop a player. It’s kind of like listening to a vegan discuss how to make a great sausage stuffing.

On the other hand, Mora Jr may have found the perfect career… using his knowledge of football to amaze an audience while not being allowed in the vicinity of players or fans.

Either way, I’m glad I’ll be in the stadium Sunday and not home listening to him like I had to during the Browns game.

Now I’m off to make sausage and apple herb stuffing!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!