Seattle Seahawks: A Culture of Winning


I was driving in to work this morning and was listening to a Podcast by John Clayton. He was talking about Pete Carroll’s comment that he wouldn’t have left USC just because of impending sanctions. Mr. Clayton was pressed on his answer by the interviewer and he went on to explain that he implicitly trusts Carroll and believes what he says. I started thinking about integrity and what that kind of attribute means to those around you. Can you lead any organization if you don’t have integrity? Will those around you trust what you have to say? Will you earn their respect if integrity isn’t part of the fabric that makes you who you are? I think it would be very difficult. But as a rule, every player that talks about Pete, whether on the current roster or not, indicates that they respect and trust him.

What has happened since Mr. Carroll was hired in January 2010 by the Seahawks? The very first move, one week later, was to hire John Schneider. A very shrewd move by Pete…very shrewd indeed. John has proven to be a wonderful community member, honest in his dealings and looking for players that fit the mold of quality people. So after evaluating the 5-11 team that they inherited and realizing that they didn’t have many options in the cupboard, they started to tweak with it. They released many players with a long tenure that didn’t fit their vision and John and Pete got to work replacing those players. Okay, so I could rehash the whole sordid history of how they have turned this team around in three short years, but I won’t. There is another story that deserves re-telling…

The intangibles, the quality that the Seahawks possess set them apart from other teams. The first item is the concept of “Team.” I wouldn’t be surprised that prior to anybody being signed by the Seahawks they have to turn in a 10-page essay and Power Point presentation on the term ‘team’ and what it means to them. I watched a YouTube video of Malcolm Smith and Michael Bennett talking about their team and there was no doubt that they were a close-knit sports family. But this is the same impression you get if you listen to anybody that plays for the ‘Hawks. They talk about each other if they were all brothers. If you have a feeling of family you will look after each other like a family. You root for each other. You support each other. And if you mess up your family will let you know about it and then pick you up, dust you off and become your biggest cheerleader. These are the Seahawks.

Pete and John look for naturally gifted athletes that fit their mold, and having a chip on a shoulder or two doesn’t hurt either. They also look for those that they can indoctrinate into this program. They want Kool-Aid drinkers, not to the point that they are mindless followers, but they want minds that they can mold and shape. Take that aggression and channel it. Does this alone make a winning team? Nope. Not in the least. If you indoctrinate players to a program that is empty and weak then you simply have indoctrinated for the sake of indoctrinating. But if you take those minds and bodies and lead them down a path with the right plan, then the execution should be something of beauty. These are the Seahawks.

Nothing makes me prouder as a Seahawks fan than seeing players giving back to the community they live in and represent. I love to see all of the service that they provide throughout our Pacific Northwest community. And frankly there is nothing that endears a team more to their community than service. It is one thing to watch a team on the television and feel like you know them, but it is completely different when you can see them out of their uniforms visiting sick children, doing job shadows, hosting softball events and donating service to those in need, then you begin to realize that they mean more to this community than just four hours every Sunday. These are the Seahawks.

A recent perusal of indicates that three of the top six selling NFL jerseys in 2013 belong to Seahawks. Yeah, I know, I can’t believe it either. But taking a step back I think to myself that that is the way it should be. Two of the three are characters, but not in a bad sense. Au contraire, their personalities are what makes them. Yes, I am speaking of Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch (could it be anybody else?). The other is Russell Wilson, our mild-mannered superman in a NFL disguise. Does this not speak to the change in our winning attitude? Sales represent society’s perception and perception is buoyed by what is apparent and appearance molds our opinions and our opinions help to decide what we are going to spend our hard-earned money on. These are the Seahawks.

Thank goodness we have Paul Allen who has the wisdom and means to keep good people around, as evidenced recently when he opened up his wallet to retain Pete and John. This will guarantee that the culture of winning that is already in place will stay. I had a cringe-worthy moment today when I started to think of the day that either John or Pete depart this organization. Undoubtedly whoever is hired will come in with new ideas of how to do things better and this scares the living daylights out of me. But until that time just remember and be sure to give thanks for…these are your Seahawks. Go Hawks!

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