Who’s Got Heart? A Comparison of Coaches

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The Desert Bowl approaches!!! The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots are vying to win themselves a cup on the biggest night in football,  and the annual question of which colour face paint to buy is looming in the distance.

I’ll tell you right now, you’re safe either way with Navy but over the next two weeks, I’ll explain as concisely as possible,  all of the reasons why one team deserves your support and cheek space. Now before I begin, I must point out my incredible bias in this particular Superbowl. I really love the Seahawks! They’re very lovable and I’m going to tell you why, but I also solemnly vow to dig up all the positivity I can muster for the Patriots. Let’s start with the Coaches.

Coaching Style – One Hundo Pete

There are three stereotypes of football coaches. The first is a large screaming man, reliving his football glory days, chewing tobacco, rubbing his championship ring and calling absolutely everyone ‘son’. The other is the kind they make movies about, the unorthodox guy that comes in and replaces guy #1. Think Matthew McConaughey in We are Marshall and the beloved Kyle Chandler as Coach Tayor in Friday Night Lights – This is the Pete Carroll type.

Then let your mind wander to type #3. The aging bachelor who will do anything to win because winning and the pile of money that comes along with it is all that they have and all that they want. Think Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday but with a winning streak. Here is Bill Belichick.

Now if football movies aren’t your thing (you crazy kid) then let me explain further. You couldn’t ask for two more different coaches. Pete Carroll doesn’t coach in a typical sort of way. One of his players, the ever amusing Michael Bennett, recently described him as being “Like google man – he’s just laid back”.

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He throws big BBQ’s during training camp, takes his teams bowling and plans elaborate practical jokes often involving celebrities. He brings in rugby players to help with tackling and a goalkeeper from the US National Soccer team to help with kicking. His weekday practices are themed – Tell the Truth Mondays, Competition Tuesdays and Turnover Thursdays. In 2005 he was interviewed by Mens Vogue who described his personality as “a nine year old boy who’s having a very good christmas.”

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Seattle player Richard Sherman certainly doesn’t mind, saying “I don’t think anybody thought his system could work, It shows you can win with positivity, with having a great mindset. They say you have to be a hard coach to win in this league, but that’s not who he is. We love it.”

In an interview with Jim Trotter, Pete says his coaching style “…basically comes down to taking care of the people in your program and making them the best they can be—not giving up on them and never failing to be there for them.” But I think his coaching style can be summed up better by Jefri Chadiha of ESPN who recently wrote,  “He seems capable of having more fun in one afternoon than most coaches have in an entire season” and “he’s a man who ultimately wants to see the best come out of everybody, mainly because of how much joy he would take in seeing somebody else attain that level of success.”

Now Bill Belichick would never be called Joyful. This is his face post win.

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Although I should note that a few of his players have tried to tell the world that he can actually be quite funny – We’re waiting on proof. He’s certainly very stoney to the rest of us and he’s not throwing any BBQ’s either. He doesn’t like talking to the press and he’s not one for elaborate gestures – though one time he did bury a game ball with his team after a terrible loss. He scoffs at hints of emotion in football, believing that winning comes down to hard work and diligence. He runs a very tight ship. More than one of his players have admitted being nervous around him.

But his approach does work. He is considered one of the greatest coaches of all time. He starts off each week with a quiz where a wrong answer is not taken lightly.  He recruits players that come from notoriously disciplined programs because those are the ones that thrive in his incredibly tough and disciplined program. But that’s not to say he doesn’t occasionally lead with positivity. Kevin Faulk has spent his whole NFL career with Bill Belichick and insists that he gives praise. When asked for an example though, he answers “No one would really understand it.”

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It’s worth noting that there are only three coaches in the NFL who act as Head Coach AND General Manager to their team. Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick are both on this list. This gives them huge amounts of control over all aspects of their team,  and is something that both of them wrote into their contracts as conditions upon being hired.  It seems to be working for them.

So it’s really a matter of preference, they certainly both get the job done but In an annonymous ESPN survey 320 players were asked who was the coach in the league they would want to play for. Who do you think won? Pete Carroll received 72 votes claiming him 1st place in the poll. Bill tied for 5th with 22 votes. So I’ll let the players decide this round for us!

Before The Bowl – Pete

This is Pete Carroll’s third NFL team. He was considered a failure with both of his previous teams for using the same coaching style he uses now. When no NFL team would look at him for a head coaching position, he took a year off and then decided to follow his volleyball playing daughter to USC. He was their 4th pick for head coach of the football team. Lucky for him the other three turned it down, because it was here that he found his stride. He drastically turned the program around, becoming one of the most celebrated coaches in college football. After ten years he was finally offered the kind of coaching position he had been waiting for – the head coach and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks. He took it, and after two unsuccessful seasons he took his team to the Superbowl last year and won them their first ever rings. He’d like to get them a second.

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Bill Belichick hit his stride with the New England Patriots after their owner fired Pete Carroll. That’s right, Bill Belichick replaced Pete Carroll and went on to be the winningest coach that the franchise has ever seen. That’s got to sting just a bit. This is his 15th year with the Pats, and in that time he has taken the team to 5 Superbowls, winning three of them. Since he became Head Coach, the Patriots have become Football royalty, holding the record for most wins in a decade and dozen other accolades. Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has said repeatedly that the Patriots are the Lannister’s of the NFL and Drew Karyshyn, a Star Wars video game writer has named Bill Belichick as most likely to become the Sith. So there.

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Bill has a better resume and this is his 6th Superbowl appearance but he hasn’t won this title in 5 years. This is only Pete’s second Superbowl appearance, but he coached the reigning champions, and overcame such adversity to get there that I think he can take this round too.

Side Line Style – It’s a Wash

Pete is always smiling, Bill is always frowning. Pete is a silver fox. Bill is balding. Pete has squeaky white shoes that have become a running joke on twitter,  but Bill looks great in a hood. I’ll let you decide this one. Twitter links attached.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/the_sklar_brothers_riff_on_pete_carrolls_white_shoes/18117449?linksrc=story_team_seattle_seahawks_auto_module_head_18117449

AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots

Nerve– Bill

Pete Carroll was nicknamed Big Balls Pete at USC,  but honestly Bill Belichick is going to win this category. Before being named Head Coach of the Pats, he was named Head Coach of their biggest rival – the New York Jets. He held that position for exactly 1 day before resigning to a stunned press group and very stunned Jets staff. Then he promptly took the Pats up on their offer. He also seems to have no qualms about cheating. In the 2007 ‘Spygate’ incident he was fined $500 000 (the largest fine ever imposed on a coach) for illegally taping the defensive hand signals of the New York Jets. Just this Sunday the Pats were accused of deflating footballs in the AFC championship.

This isn’t to say that dear Pete hasn’t gotten into his fair share of trouble too, but he doesn’t do it in that same ‘Bull in a china store’ way that Bill does and I think we owe him this one. 

Off Field Personality – King Pete

I would love to say that Bill is an evil old man who dates cheerleaders half his age, but the reality is that he isn’t evil at all. He grew up with football. His dad played for the Lions, and later started coaching with the US Naval Academy Football Team – that’s where he learned how to breakdown game tapes, and no doubt inherited some of his more militant style. In fact, his dad came on as an advisor early on his career. He has three kids, all of whom are athletic, and two of them coach in their own right. His son Steve works alongside his dad as an assistant coach to the Pats. 

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And he’s not dating a cheerleader. He’s in a relationship with an age appropriate, seemingly lovely lady by the name of Linda Holliday who has a great sense of humour and seems to lighten up his stoney persona. In fact, just last year there was a fun little rumour going around that he  named a play after her ; Brady had been heard to shout ‘Cougar, Cougar, Linda’ before a play. Oh – and he’s good friends with Jon Bon Jovi!

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So Bill is not evil but Pete is a bit of a saint. Pete is still married to his college sweetheart Glena, and they have three kids as well, plus two adorable grandkids. Their son Nate works with the Seahawks as a Wide receiver coach. But what puts Pete a notch above Bill is his charitable work. When he worked in California he was strongly impacted by the youth and gang violence he saw in low income neighbourhoods. He started a charity called ‘A better LA’ that aims to reduce youth and gang violence and provide better opportunities for the impoverished to succeed. When he moved to Seattle his work continued and he developed ‘A better Seattle’. He even has the headquarters in the Seahawks building so he can be around as much as possible. He gets his  players to help out and raise awareness at events. He doesn’t just donate, he takes a very active role in what they do, and for that, he wins the off field category. Oh and he’s pretty close with Macklemore and Will Farrell.

If we were just looking at coaches, The Hawks would most likely have earned your support. BUT stay tuned for posts on key players and team overviews and find out Who’s got heart!

 

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