“A relational organization”
So what exactly is the culture that Carroll and Schneider created in Seattle that led to such sustained success? It starts with how people are treated, and more specifically, focusing on the humanity of the players rather than seeing them as cogs in a football machine.
“We’re a relationship-based organization,” Carroll said. “It’s all about dealing with people and seeing them for who they are, trying to help them feel really comfortable in our surroundings. It’s being aware of assessments and assessments really individualized, and caring – it has a lot to do with caring. We realize that if we take care of people and take care of them, like you take care of your children, then you are going to give them their best chance. to be as good as they can be.
“It’s relationship-based, but it’s really about understanding how valuable it is to really take care of people and then creating as good an environment as possible for them to challenge them as much as possible, d ‘have the highest expectations for them and go wherever you need to go. Because if you really love someone, you’ll do whatever it takes to protect them, that’s basically where it goes.
And again, quantifying the value of that is next to impossible, but just about everyone who’s spent a lot of time playing for the Seahawks led by Carroll and Schneider agrees that players tend to give a little more on Sundays. they feel appreciated and cared for. other day of the week.
“I sincerely believe Pete and John when they first talk about how they conduct their relationship,” Seahawks legend Doug Baldwin said. “I’m learning that on the business side. The same lessons in sports translate to business. It’s all about the team. The team is made up of human beings, those individuals, those people who have desires and different desires and different quirks and all the different things, different personalities, and you try to put them together. But the only way to put them together and get the best out of people is to build relationships with them. I think it’s John and Pete are doing a really, really good job.
“I think what I’m grateful to Pete and John for is just that they always had a positive mentality. No matter how hard it was, no matter how hard it was, they always believed that there would be a solution or a better situation that would come about.”
Years out of an eight-year career that saw him establish himself as one of the best receivers in franchise history, Baldwin acknowledges he now has a different level of appreciation for how Schneider and Carroll run an organization only when he was in the middle of his career.
“It’s just a different perspective, but I’ve always appreciated their positivity and leadership in relationships,” Baldwin said. “I think that translated into us all feeling free to be ourselves and creating a culture where we were all honest with each other, real with each other, and you know that you liked going to work because they were people who liked going to work with you.”
Of course, the ultimate goal in the NFL is to win, so as great as a positive culture can be, it wouldn’t mean much if it didn’t lead to results, but for players who have spent years in Seattle or who are new to the program, it’s obvious the on-field product benefits from the culture that Carroll and Schneider have created.
“Think of it this way, when you’re genuinely connected to the person next to you, that’s an internal motivator, an intrinsic motivator for you to go further, an extra effort for that person and for this organization,” Baldwin said. “If it’s just surface-level relationships and you just don’t have that. It’s not quantifiable, but it’s the essence and the emotion and the vibe. It’s basically what it comes down to – when you have that connection with people you would have gone the extra mile for them It’s not just on the football pitch but it was also off the pitch when you generate relationships All of this grows in a positive direction for success.
Said wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who is in her first season with Seattle after spending time with five teams over the past nine years, “The unwavering level of respect that everyone has for each other in the building, you can’t discredit that, I think it goes a long way… There are a lot of positives and it allows you to be positive, to think positively, to come into yourself more, and you are able to open up and to be yourself.
“If you can be whoever you want to be, when you’re behind closed doors, if you can be that same person out in the open, that will help you be better overall. Obviously that elevates your game. “
Even players who may have good reason to hold grudges against Carroll and Schneider can, over time, appreciate what these two have built in Seattle. Take, for example, Richard Sherman, who was released in a salary cap decision after the 2017 season while still recovering from an Achilles injury. If anyone has the right to hold a grudge, it’s a player who was released with years and money still on his contract shortly after suffering a serious injury while playing for this team. And yet, Sherman has been there for the past two weeks, spending time on Seahawks walkthroughs and practicing giving advice to young defensive backs, especially rookie corner Tariq Woolen, who like Sherman was in 2011, is a tall, lanky former wide receiver trying to make his way into the NFL at a relatively new position.
“Pete just allows for a culture of being yourself, of not being anxious about things outside of the game,” Sherman said after practice Friday. “I mean, certain environments where you’re walking on eggshells because you’re going to get yelled at for the way you eat breakfast or where you sit in meetings, or meetings are stressful and it’s quiet It’s so much tension in the building.(Carroll and Schneider) make sure there’s no tension inside the building.So whatever you do, everybody’s optimistic. Coaches coach in a positive way. So the only stress and anxiety you have, which is natural, is competition. I’m competing for a job. I want to be the best, and that’s healthy anxiety. But they take the outside pressure off.
One of the reasons Carroll and Schneider hit it off from day one is that they came to Seattle with similar philosophies when it came to winning with young talent, even though they were working at home. era at different levels of football. As an executive at Green Bay, Schneider was part of a front office known for fielding one of the youngest teams in the league while constantly rotating the roster. As a college head coach, Carroll had no choice but to figure out how to win consistently without the benefit of continuity, even at quarterback. Once Paul Allen and Tod Leiweke brought Carroll and Schneider together, they realized they not only agreed on building winning teams, but also on how they wanted to treat people.
“Pete’s culture is not a culture of just putting people down,” Schneider said. “It’s about trying to instill confidence in them and build them up. When people who haven’t been around Pete ask me, ‘What would be your first takeaway that you didn’t know before working with him?’ I would just say his ability to instill confidence in people. He just has a very positive attitude, but he can instill confidence in people very quickly.”
Perhaps no player has benefited more from Carroll’s positive support culture than quarterback Geno Smith, who came to Seattle as a longtime backup but will open this season as a starter. from Seattle. Throughout Smith’s three seasons as Wilson’s backup, Carroll has consistently spoken of the confidence the Seahawks had in Smith, the confidence they had in him to get the job done, especially last season when Wilson missed time with a finger injury. That confidence showed in Smith throughout training camp and preseason as he won the starting job.
“It gave me that extra boost of confidence that you need,” Smith said of how Carroll trains players. “When you have a coach who assures you that he has confidence in you, it carries over to the team, which allows the whole team to have that confidence. And for yourself, it clears your mind. mind. When in doubt, it allows you to clarify that and just focus on the coach’s words. The positive way he speaks, it just gives you that confidence. You want to walk through a wall for a guy like that , you really do. The coach does a great job of that.