“Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”
These now infamous words spoken by Richard Sherman after winning the game that sent the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl were spoken at precisely the wrong time. Live, on camera, to Erin Andrews.
Should we excuse him?
Yes and no. It is that very intensity, passion and emotion that make him the player he is on the field. Unfortunately he unleashed it off the field.
What did his coach, Pete Carroll have to say about this in his interview with ESPN?
“It’s unfortunate that it was so crazed, but that’s who he is. His mental makeup to get ready for that matchup was expressed right there so he could play the way he can play. Unfortunately, sharing with the world, it didn’t come across so well.”
Defense, protection and forgiveness. Being a coach is about more than getting the best out of your players and clients- it’s about understanding who each one of them is.
It’s about understanding how their very strengths can be weaknesses if used incorrectly. But even our mistakes can lead to opportunities. According to Carroll:
“How we handle it is we try to grow and learn and work our way through who we are and figure out who we want to be. This was an extraordinary learning opportunity. You’ll see some benefit from it.”
Carroll managed to coach a Super Bowl team by infusing a lot of common sense and optimism into his tactical leadership. He looks at his team as a family. In reaction to how he felt about Sherman’s outburst he replied:
“When you really love somebody and care for them, you do everything you can help them be everything they can be. At times they are going to make mistakes and break your heart, but if you love them, you stay with them. You give [them] the best chance to be all they can be.”
He then added:
“Richard is a wonderful spirit. He’s got an amazing heart, and he has great sensitivity. He goes all the way to the end of the spectrum when it comes to expressing himself.”
Carroll’s coaching technique is one that can be applied to all relationships. One of forgiveness, understanding and hard work.
So while the media frenzy focuses on Sherman’s aggressiveness, I think the truly remarkable story is about Carroll’s perspective, coaching genius and level headed coolness.
Seahawks fan or not, there’s a coach we can all look up to.