From there he goes on to talking about passion. You see, simply believing in something is not good enough according to Garrett. Changing the world also takes a group of “passionate men.” He talks about the Ancient Greeks and what they did when someone died. They didn’t have obituaries. They simply asked whether the person lived with passion. Garrett equates this to a person’s attitude:
“Great attitudes. It’s really the only thing we can control in our lives is our attitude. Can’t control the past, success, failure, what this person says, what that person says. When you get up in the morning you can control your attitude. And the best people I know in my life, the most successful people I know in my life, the happiest people I know in my life…they have great attitudes. Great attitudes.”
Again, we see that this isn’t about football. Garrett is laying down a philosophy for life here. He knows that coaching is more about psychology than anything else. Especially now that he doesn’t call plays. His role on this team is to lead these players, on and off the field, and he’s embracing that.
Garrett then talks about the players having a single-minded focus (read: Super Bowl). He says it will take mental and physical toughness. This is important because, in his words:
“The NFL is hard. It’s hard. It’s a journey now, it’s f—ing hard. It’s hard to play one game in the National Football League. Let alone 16 of ‘em. Mentally tough. Physically tough. To be your best regardless of the circumstances. It’s what it takes.”
Garrett says this toughness has to be part of the player’s identity. He explains that we all have different identities throughout life; we all change. What he asks the team is to present their best identity at all times, the “best version of themselves”. That best version is supposed to be a culmination of the traits which he has talked about throughout the introduction: passion, great attitude, single-minded focus, mental-physical toughness, relentless spirit. By being that individually, he believes it will create a team identity that embodies those features. This is his goal. He says if Vince Lombardi came to a practice, he would say:
“G– damn, these guys play like a team. They respect the ball. They attack, compete, relentless. Physical, execute, finish. That’s the identity of our football team. Never miss an opportunity in life, as a person, as a player, as a coach, as a football team, to establish the identity that you want. They’re all in front of us. Life is about opportunities and about taking advantage of them. We’ve gotta be the best versions of ourselves to get it done. Individually and collectively. Establish the identity. Make a name for yourself. People will know your name. We’re gonna establish an identity that’s gonna last forever. It starts today. Life is about opportunity. Create them, we’ve created one. Now let’s go take advantage of it.”
And that is how the “philosophical” section of his speech ends. Pretty good, eh? Garrett’s tenure in Dallas may never produce what we are all hoping for, but I will be the first to say that at least he believed in his mission and preached it like the Gospel. The man has confidence. You’ve gotta like it when your coach is talking not just about winning games, but about changing the world. Garrett loves talking about the crazy ones. Because he’s one of them.