CORONADO, CA - MARCH 19: Michael Phelps and members of the U.S. National Swim Team carry a rigid-hulled inflatable boat during an exercise March 19, 2009 at Naval Special Warfare Center at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California. This is one of several physically demanding evolutions the team went through as they experienced a morning in the life of a Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL student.
It's as common as the Redskins missing the playoffs for coaches to bring in troops to motivate their team. Positively, a solid message gets across, but how often do these speeches truly motivate someone months down the road? Surely, it's different for everyone. For the Giants, however, a plan was instilled, which Eli Manning has been using in game film sessions. More on this interesting tactic in a bit, but first, here are a couple of examples of Navy SEALs being used in Pro Sports motivation:
- Coach K brought in some Navy Seals to talk to the US Olympic basketball team before their eventual gold medal run. Coach K wanted to get across what it truly means to represent the USA. All of the players ended up in tears, and of course the team went on to win gold. Players never argued with refs, did not get into TMZ-related stories - the message got through.
- January 2nd, Mike Shanahan had Navy Seals and a Marine address the team in lieu of a personal exit meeting, where Marine Cpl. Todd Love shared his story of losing his legs and arm after stepping on a IED. The theme of his talk was the importance of preparation and training for a mission. Stephen Bowen: "His message wasn't about the playoffs. It was just about being accountable for your teammates and putting it on the line, and you always have somebody depending on you to do your job, so you don't want to let anybody down."
- VCU went a little further making their team actually undergo Navy SEAL training for endurance and team-building. (They're 16-5 currently).
- Here's video of a Navy SEAL addressing the Oakland Raiders....spoiler alert: THIS IS BAD ASS. I'm ready to run through a wall. It gets really good at 3:00 mark.
The process is simple: Plan, Brief, Execute and Debrief. The first three phrases are self-explanatory, the last the one that interested the players the most. In the military, a debrief is nameless-rankless, where the officers leave the room and the crew members break down what exactly happened on a mission.
To replicate this process, Eli Manning picked out 30 plays and as the clip of a single play ran, anyone who saw something he felt he could've done better was supposed to speak up. If a player didn't own up to an error, one of his teammates could point it out.
Only, that never happened, receiver Michael Clayton said. When a Brandon Jacobs run came on the screen, the running back almost immediately said, "I should've hit that hole harder." On a pass play, a lineman said, "I need to knock that end's hands down so you've got a clearer path to throw, Eli." Receivers said they needed to catch balls and block safeties better. Tight end/fullback Bear Pascoe said only a couple times did Manning maybe add a point or two. That, the Giants said, is the power of the nameless-rankless debrief. "It takes away from a coach calling guys out,"
Fletcher: "OK good."
(silence....play ends in a touchdown...silence...he rewinds to McCoy hitting the hole...)
Fletcher: "Even though both Guards got to the second level to block me, I should have gotten through it."
Orakpo: "YOU F*CKIN BLIND MAN? DHALL...what the hell are you doing standing there? Play with some passion man...I'm fighting double teams here."
DHall: "There's two other guys closer to Shady that coulda made the play...why you makin' me the goat? If anything, I'm the G.O.A.T."
Kareem Moore: I guess I could have done a better job on my angle.
Phillip Daniels: ALBERT!!! WAKE THE F*CK UP!
Haynesworth: Whatever. If the coaches used me right we'd be watching game film of Shady getting carted off. I gotta take this call...."What up girl?.....I aint givin u no more damn money...."
Fred Smoot: HAHA....that dude's dick is a Vegas' ATM. Who wants some Waffle House? On me!
Andre Carter, Carlos Rogers: (in low voice) I can't wait to get out of here.