I arrived in Phoenix last night with the team and am enjoying a sunny day in Arizona prior to our prime time matchup against the Cardinals. I spent most of the flight reviewing interviews from the week, reading through the game notes and preparing my sideline notes for the game.
There’s always a lot of talk about the safety of playing a Thursday night game just 4 days removed from a Sunday game. I couldn’t help but notice this week there were a few Cardinals players who voiced their opinions about the disadvantages of playing during a short week and the potential for injury as a result. The Seahawks on the other hand took a different approach when fielding those questions.
I think Richard Sherman gave the best answer when he said, “You always want your next opportunity on the field. It’s fun. I think players like to play more than practice.” In other words, playing on Thursday isn’t a big deal.
Everyone in the Seahawks locker room shared similar comments. It didn’t come as a surprise to any of us covering the team because it’s the same message that head coach Pete Carroll has communicated time and again. It’s part of the overall philosophy that you should control what you can control and forget about other distractions.
There’s a bigger business application here than simply getting work done under less than ideal circumstances like playing a Thursday night football game.
The thing that jumped out very clearly to me this week was how the message started at the top and filtered its way throughout the locker room and the organization. Pete Carroll set the tone and expectation that a short workweek wasn’t a problem. The players followed his example and refused to get involved in the discussion about how many problems this game could cause.
Arizona’s head coach made comments about how Thursday night games could compromise player safety. The Cardinal players followed his lead and made similar statements.
I’m not saying that one side is right and the other is wrong. I just want to draw your attention to how the message filters through a team or organization.
Think about the way you communicate with your team and your organization. Where is the message coming from? Who’s setting the tone and what is it saying?
Jen Mueller is the radio sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks, as well as, a reporter for ROOT Sports NW out of Seattle. She is also a professional speaker and the author of Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day, the go-to resource for new and novice sports fans. The book is available on Amazon.