Jason Garrett And Pete Carroll: More In Common Than You Know


Sep 16, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll shake hands after the game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Dallas 27-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

For most Cowboys fans, I imagine it was hard to watch the Super Bowl this past Sunday. Not only was the game one-sided, but seeing the Seahawks’ utter domination confirmed how far the Cowboys are from playing on the game’s biggest stage.

The Seahawks won with a stifling, #1 ranked defense.

The Cowboys rank 32nd in the league.

The Seahawks are in salary cap heaven, with a franchise quarterback that will only cost them $800,000 dollars next season and multiple contributors still playing on Rookie contracts.

The Cowboys are in salary cap hell, guaranteed to be pushing the cap limit for the forseeable future while still in dire need of help at multiple positions. But, hey, at least the kicker is signed for seven seasons!

Yes, fellow fans, the future looks dire.

If you want to look at things that way.

I would rather not. While the Seahawks can teach us lessons about the importance of cap and game management, they can also teach us important lessons about some of the more intangible traits it takes to succeed in the NFL. And if you recognize those, you might realize the Cowboys are closer to them than you think.

One of the best articles I read all year was on entitled Lotus Pose On Two by Alyssa Roenigk. The subtitle was: The Seahawks believe their kinder, gentler philosophy is the future of football.

While that might make you do a double-take after watching Denver run into the Hawks’ buzzsaw on Sunday, once you read the article you will realize Roenigk is talking about Seattle’s mental preperation, not their play.
In the article she details how the Seahawks are thinking out of the box in a league that has been dominated so long by the same, old school, mentality. Think Bear Bryant and Parcells chewing out their players for a simple mental mistake.

Pete Carroll decided to take a different approach in Seattle: “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?”

You see the Seahawks organization prides themselves in taking care of their most important asset: their players. They have a team psychologist that leads them in meditation. They eat locally sourced, organic meals. Players are encouraged to seek help when they are having a problem (physical or emotional), not to just “suck it up”.

According to Roenigk: “The big idea is that happy players make for better players. Everyone in the facility, from coaches and players to personal assistants and valets, is expected to follow Carroll’s mantras regarding positivity of thought, words and actions.”

And this is where we can find the Cowboys connection.

Garrett is similar to Carroll in his emphasis on positivity. During his opening speech of training camp, he told Cowboys players that a positive attitude is important because it is the only thing we can control in our lives. Just like Carroll, he seeks to  make his players better by making them happier.

Many fans hate this about Garrett. They can’t stand the clapping as players come of the field after settling for a field goal instead of a touchdown. They hate hearing about the good things that the team did after a tough loss.

What they don’t understand is that it’s part of Garrett’s system.

To him, staying positive isn’t a product of success. It is the reason for it.

Of course, Garrett’s method has yet to bear any results. Three seasons are down and no-one is satisfied with what the team has accomplished.

But I will continue to stand by his method. I think it is very similar to what Carroll is using up in Seattle. Pete might be getting better results, but he also inherited a much better situation.

Give Garrett time, I think his process will pay off in the end.