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Saturday, September 08, 2018

Social hierarchy and success

The implosion of the once-champion Seattle Seahawks is almost a primer in the masculine hierarchy and how not to manage it:
The dismantling of a great defense dates back to one random 2014 practice, which ESPN first reported last summer as a catalyst for the Seahawks’ rift. That afternoon, Sherman intercepted Wilson, the two traded words and Sherman yelled “you f------ suck” as he flipped the ball back at the quarterback.

The pick itself wasn’t as important as what happened afterward, when several players who spoke to SI said Carroll gathered his offensive and defensive leaders and told them they needed to protect Wilson, to treat him more gently than they would their other teammates. Those same players had been indoctrinated into the NFL the exact way they were trying to teach Wilson, with merciless competition as the way to bring out the best in each other, by never letting a lapse slide, by talking s--- after interceptions, even in practice. In the meeting, they told Carroll exactly that. “This is making him one of our own,” one player said, while several others nodded, according to two who were in the room. “He’s got to go through the process.”

No, Carroll told them. Not Wilson. “He protected him,” one Seahawk says. “And we hated that. Any time he f----- up, Pete would never say anything. Not in a team meeting, not publicly, never. If Russ had a terrible game, he would always talk about how resilient he was. We’re like, what the f--- are you talking about?”

That Seahawk uses a pack of wolves as an analogy to explain his thinking. It’s as if Carroll sent his pack out to hunt but kept one wolf back, and that wolf still ate when the others returned with food. “We talked about that,” says Tony McDaniel, a defensive tackle with Seattle in 2013, ’14 and ’16. “Russell had his f----ups; he never got called out. If I was Pete Carroll, I’d tell Russell, I have to call you out in front of the team so there won’t be any problems.”

One former Seahawk says he and a handful of teammates speculated that Carroll judged Wilson too emotionally fragile to handle the criticism, be it from them or his coaches. That presented Carroll with a difficult choice: between the environment he’d fostered and the franchise quarterback he’d found in the third round. He chose the quarterback, the former player says—a choice many coaches would have made—adding “[Carroll] realized Russ couldn’t handle being part of the dynamic we had.”

Not every teammate felt that way. Some noted that it’s in Carroll’s nature to stress the positive, quarterback or not. But roughly half the locker room had issues, according to its inhabitants. Some complaints were pettier than others: that Wilson had his own space for treatment in the facility, which some thought was off-limits to his teammates and others insist was not; or that he didn’t interact with other players at the team’s annual Christmas party.

All these accusations, though, spoke to the same theme: that Wilson was both treated differently than his teammates and, in some instances, willingly stood apart from them. When McDaniel arrived in Seattle in ’13, he went to dinner with several defensive players and asked them why things seemed off between the defense and the quarterback. He was told by those players to be careful speaking frankly when Wilson was around, because they believed what they said could wind up on Carroll’s desk. The players said that had already happened—subjects that had been discussed in the QB’s presence had come to the attention of Carroll, an assertion four other players who spoke to SI also made. “When guys would talk candidly in front of Russell, somehow all that stuff got up to Pete,” one player said. “And after a while, after a few instances, everyone started noticing that, and everyone made sure not to talk about anything that could be misconstrued near Russell.”
There is a lot to be learned from this brief description of the collapse of what could have been a football dynasty.
  1. Keep your actions consistent with your message.
  2. The process and the infrastructure is ultimately more important than any one individual, no matter how important he appears to be.
  3. A meritocracy must be pure or else it does not exist.
  4. The whole is more than the simple sum of the parts.
  5. A leader must be more willing and able to take heat than anyone else. Anyone who cannot take the heat cannot lead.
  6. Know your place and do your job.
  7. Never praise those who are not worthy of it, especially at the expense of those who are.
  8. If you are the subject of false praise, always refuse and redirect.
  9. Be the kind of player you would want on your team. Be the kind of man you would want beside you in battle.
It's fascinating to consider how the Seahawks defenders appear to actively loathe the 4x Pro Bowler Russell Wilson, whereas the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defenders always spoke highly of Trent Dilfer, a less-accomplished quarterback dismissed as a game manager who could lose a game for you, but never win one on his own. Ray Lewis, the Ravens Hall of Fame linebacker, even went so far as to say that cutting Dilfer after the Super Bowl victory was "the biggest mistake in Ravens history."

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50 Comments:

Blogger maniacprovost September 08, 2018 11:10 AM  

It's interesting that the quarterback is universally considered to be the leader of the team. It's a combination of the rules, the demographics and the way humans demand hierarchy.

In theory, the quarterback is just another guy doing a job, part of which is giving some directions on offense. But no one would follow his calls if he were just an equal.

It's the same situation where workers grudgingly accept a manager that they consider to be a useless idiot, as ling as he's part of a higher caste- college educated, wears a different style of clothes, etc. Whereas they are jealous and try to tear down a manager that is promoted from within the ranks.

I suspect that there are more subtle social dynamics going on than the Seahawks realize.

Blogger Ostar September 08, 2018 11:13 AM  

I condemn my self as a racist for noticing that this particular quarterback is black.

Blogger Dave Lemieux September 08, 2018 11:15 AM  

Contrast this style of leadership to the Patriots and BB. Tom Brady is treated like every other player and perhaps worse at times. Points 5 and 6 stand out when looking at the Patriots. The leaders always take responsibility when things go wrong and they each know their specific role.

Blogger maniacprovost September 08, 2018 11:15 AM  

Let me clarify that... I don't dispute the facts, merely the interpretation. Any kind of special treatment or being thin skinned will be tolerated, if the team sees you as their leader.

Blogger Daniel September 08, 2018 11:17 AM  

The thing that is really stupid is that Wilson could have handled it, even if he didn't appreciate at first. He is soft, but not as soft as Coach Hippy Drippy thought he was. Carroll is frustrating in that way: he knows what to do, but he can't help Boomerfying the process to hell.

Blogger Daniel September 08, 2018 11:21 AM  

Carroll didn't think Wilson was black enough to handle the talk, nor white enough to want to be accepted by the defense. Hippies have hated the half-breed since at least the days of Charlie Manson.

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 11:25 AM  

>>maniacprovost wrote:Any kind of special treatment or being thin skinned will be tolerated, if the team sees you as their leader.

Another way to say it is that it depends on the person and the circumstance. In the military the final step in becoming the commander of troops is to "assume" command. Effectively, you self will it.

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 11:29 AM  

According to the old coach Madden, the one person on a football team you are not allowed to yell at is the punter.

Blogger Dave September 08, 2018 11:30 AM  

If Ray Lewis had had a choice between Wilson and Dilfer, he would've taken Wilson every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Tom Brady is treated like every other player and perhaps worse at times.

Bullshit. How many other Patriot players had their business partner/body coach travel on the team plane, have sideline access, and work with them in their own private suite at Gillette Stadium?

Blogger Daniel September 08, 2018 11:36 AM  

Not if Lewis wasn't allowed to ride Wilson into the dirt, Dave. That is the point.

Blogger Dave September 08, 2018 11:50 AM  

Ray Lewis wasn't driving any QB on his team into the dirt. Other team's QBs, well, that's a completely different story.

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 11:54 AM  

>>A meritocracy must be pure or else it does not exist.

That is why the PC stuff is such a killer.

Blogger Billy September 08, 2018 11:55 AM  

Gum chewing wigger Pete

Blogger Othello September 08, 2018 12:05 PM  

Wilson wifed a rapper’s baby mama and had a girl middle named Princess.

Blogger Lurker September 08, 2018 12:06 PM  

"Somehow all that stuff got up to Pete,” one player said."

Another SJW named Wilson, who would have thunk it?

Blogger Daniel September 08, 2018 12:09 PM  

Wrong, Dave. It is a metaphor. He gave Dilfer hell. He would have punked Wilson, too. And Billick would have been ok with it.

And eventually, so would Wilson. Wilson is touchy, but I think he's a natural low Delta who has become a gamma under Hippy Drippy's far out tutelage.

Blogger Daniel September 08, 2018 12:11 PM  

They drafted Carleton but turned him into Urkel.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother September 08, 2018 12:14 PM  

Disgusting. Wilson let it happen, too, which is the kiss of death.

Blogger Longtime Lurker September 08, 2018 12:18 PM  

That's how we did it in Marine Corps infantry. And you know what? Some guys just can't cope with the constant emotional pressure, especially when everybody is watching. Those guys, however, do not get multimillion $ contracts or the battalion CO's shoulder to cry on.

Blogger Dave September 08, 2018 12:29 PM  

He gave Dilfer hell.

Think I'll listen to Dilfer hinself:

In 2000 you replaced an injured Tony Banks, and the Ravens had lost a couple games. Was Ray Lewis telling you, "Hey, don't screw it up"?

No, no, no. I was never once told, "Don't go screw it up."

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother September 08, 2018 12:35 PM  

"I was told, if you fuck it up I'll stab you."

Blogger Dave September 08, 2018 12:39 PM  

"I was told, if you fuck it up I'll stab you."

Ray Lewis version: "if you fuck up, my friends will stab you"

Blogger Daniel September 08, 2018 12:47 PM  

Lewis and Dilfer talked trash on each other ALL THE TIME. Dilfer loved it. SHerman wasn't allowed to talk trash on the QB. The Ravens would not have made the SB with that rule in effect.

Blogger Resident Moron™ September 08, 2018 12:48 PM  

How can anyone be that stupid?

Let alone an experienced coach. Beggars belief.

Blogger Jack Amok September 08, 2018 12:57 PM  

Ray Lewis version: "if you fuck up, my friends will stab you"

Mychal Kendricks version: "if you don't fuck this up, I have some lucrative stock tips for you."

And people wonder why ratings are down.

I condemn my self as a racist for noticing that this particular quarterback is black.

Not black enough, according to some folks, unlike Colin "look like an Egyptian" Kaepernick. Who, BTW, is so toxic he even tanked Nike's reputation with his fellow Afro-Americans.

Blogger Larson Dillon September 08, 2018 1:10 PM  

Along with Science Issues; and on the Jordan Peterson "Studies show" front, I found an interesting recent article that states: "Scientists only able to reproduce 13 out of 21 Human Behavior Studies". On the face of it, JBP's wealth of knowledge based on Behavior Studies - has a 61% chance of relevance at best. From the article "if the experiment can’t be repeated, if the hypothesis is biased by the data, or if the results are different when someone else conducts the test, then we haven’t really learned anything." Among the failed studies, “there was essentially no evidence for the original findings,” according to the paper published today in Nature Human Behavior. Apparently the Human Behavior field is incredibly unreliable and inconsistent. While I can't say that Jordan P's credentials have less validity, he may be in a field has a wide range of variability in study results.

Blogger Jack Amok September 08, 2018 1:15 PM  

Carroll looks for players with a particular mindset - massive self confidence, internal drive, chips on their shoulders - basically high Alpha (Sherman, Chancellor, Wagner) and Sigma (Thomas, Bennett). That sort of group can produce magic, the LoB had potentially the best run of any defense ever, especially when you consider the changed rules favoring the offense.

But Alphas and Sigmas have a hard time getting along together for very long. It's fine for a while when they're young - Richard Sherman just out of college could accept a position a couple of rungs down the ladder from Kam Chancellor and Kris Richard (the DB coach). But a couple of years into the league, with success and accolades under his belt, he wanted to climb that ladder. By 2016, not even Chancellor - who everybody, even Sherman - acknowledged as the alpha dog in that locker room - could control him. Earl Thomas - maybe the ultimate Sigma - has been mostly rudderless the last two years.

Whether protecting Wilson (talk about not having actions match words, have you seen the O-line they put together?) was a contributing factor of just a convenient excuse is a question, but ultimately this group was destined to implode. Groups like that are inherently unstable. Alphas can work together, but they need room to grow - if they don't get it, they'll tear each other apart fighting over what's there. NFL teams have limited rosters, they can't spin off a new project for a rising Alpha to run. A lesson for anyone building any sort of organization.

Worth noting, Pete Carroll's best long-term success has been in college where guys always move on after four years and there's an implicit knowledge among the best players that college itself is a stepping stone.

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 1:36 PM  

The two biggest issues I have had with bosses is competence and being willing to take responsibility.

The responsibility thing will show up as vagueness in leadership. They wont make a clear statement about what they want so as to evade responsibility if things don't work out. Usually after the fact evasion is less effective.

And then there are the people who just don't know what they are doing. They don't delegate when they should, or command when the situation requires it. And of course, bad decisions.

Blogger Were-Puppy September 08, 2018 1:52 PM  

Slasher Ray Lewis, haven't heard that one come up in a while.

Blogger Crew September 08, 2018 2:13 PM  

Carroll judged Wilson too emotionally fragile to handle the criticism

Wait. So quarterbacks are pussies now?

Blogger Crew September 08, 2018 2:14 PM  

Maybe Carroll was under orders to produce a magic Black Quarterback!

Blogger Damelon Brinn September 08, 2018 2:26 PM  

So quarterbacks are pussies now?

Have you heard about the new rule that says you can't squish them? If you sack the QB, now you not only have to make sure you don't touch his head or legs or hit him too hard, but you can't land on him either.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan September 08, 2018 2:29 PM  

Lombardi was a professional HoF ass chewer and supposedly he left Starr alone in that department, so let's assume in pre-PC days he told Ray N. to keep his yapper shut. Of course Burt Reynolds in "Longest Yard" (good version) handled Ray the way QBs should have.

Wilson was coddled by the caste sucking media more than anything, and I give credit to Carrol for giving Wilson a game plan he could execute, roll right pass right, run left.

Blogger Daniel Paul Grech Pereira September 08, 2018 2:29 PM  

The recruits who I treated the most like shit turned out to be the best and loved me most. So I began to treat them all like dogshit. My reputation as a drill instructor rocketed beyond all the others. Kids these days are raised like pum pum so they take it personally and shatter under the pressure that is supposed to strengthen them.

Blogger VFM #7634 September 08, 2018 2:36 PM  

Assuming a man is emotionally fragile (i.e., Gamma) and not making him "go through the process" doesn't help the man. Or the team, obviously.

If Carroll wanted a magic black quarterback, treating Wilson with kid gloves is the last thing he should've been doing.

Wilson wifed a rapper’s baby mama and had a girl middle named Princess.

@14 Othello
Okay, so it would appear Wilson is in fact a Gamma. Single moms are much less likely to make men "go through the process" than young childless never-married women.

In which case, Carroll should've looked for a different magic negro.

Blogger Rough Carrigan September 08, 2018 2:49 PM  

#9. When Chad Johnson was a Patriot for one season he was stunned at how Bill Belichick criticized Tom Brady in team meetings. The season before Johnson played for them, 2010, the Patriots season ended in a loss to the Jets. Brady had had a bad, for him, game.

The first team meeting watching film in 2011, with Johnson now on the team, was spent largely dissecting Brady's screw ups in that playoff loss to the Jets. That's the way the Patriots are run. No one is above criticism.

But one is left to infer that the Bengals, where Johnson had played, had a caste system like the Seahawks where they didn't criticize the quarterback.

Blogger bob kek mando - ( We The Pepe 9001 - 0 Rick Wilson ) September 08, 2018 3:25 PM  

8. Johnny September 08, 2018 11:29 AM
According to the old coach Madden, the one person on a football team you are not allowed to yell at is the punter.


well, to be fair, the Punters ( and Placekickers ) are the only members of the team who don't play tackle football.

https://operations.nfl.com/the-rules/nfl-video-rulebook/roughing-or-running-into-the-kicker/

Blogger pyrrhus September 08, 2018 3:34 PM  

The NFL has become pretty pathetic in every way...Good thing most of those who are still watching have never played football.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants September 08, 2018 3:41 PM  

You think Kaepernick looks Egyptian? I think he looks a lot like his birth mother-he has her (((nose))).
The weirdest thing to me is how all these white boomers think Nike made a bad move, with their Kaepernick ad. They didn't. They made a great decision. Their target audience isn't upset Boomers and GenXers who buy a pair of shoes every 3-5 yrs or black and brown kids who buy new kicks every few weeks, and they're gonna play hard on the anti-white narrative.
That's not to mention their international market of mud people.
The (((guy))) at the head of Nike is a wily (((international merchant))).

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 4:07 PM  

Mr.MantraMan wrote:Lombardi was a professional HoF ass chewer and supposedly he left Starr alone in that department


Lombardi was emotionally flamboyant and he really did lose control at times, but most of the time he was calculating. More than anything he wanted to win. If he didn't go after Starr it was because he didn't think it would help.

For his part, Starr was a reserved sort of person. Curiously they worked well together. Apparently because one could draw on the strengths of the other.

Green Bay's latest hot shot quarterback that is the now retired is Bret Favre. Toward the end of his career he had his own private locker room. The apparent reason for it, I think, was he got too wound up pregame and they wanted to keep him as calm as the situation allowed. Which is to say you can tolerate preferential treatment if most think it is for the general good.

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 4:19 PM  

Zeroh Tollrants wrote:You think Kaepernick looks Egyptian? I think he looks a lot like his birth mother-he has her (((nose))).

The weirdest thing to me is how all these white boomers think Nike made a bad move, with their Kaepernick ad. They didn't. They made a great decision. Their target audience isn't upset Boomers and GenXers who buy a pair of shoes every 3-5 yrs or black and brown kids who buy new kicks every few weeks, and they're gonna play hard on the anti-white narrative.

That's not to mention their international market of mud people.

The (((guy))) at the head of Nike is a wily (((international merchant))).


Well, we will see. What it looks like to me is one more step in the general direction of making pro football and basketball essentially "black" sports. Maybe okay for Nike but damaging to the sports industry. Alas, I can not boycott them because I have genuinely lost interest.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan September 08, 2018 4:21 PM  

Life long Packers fan and Favre needed a new start after 2005 at the latest, but management effed him over and wasted time.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash September 08, 2018 5:27 PM  

Zeroh Tollrants wrote:Their target audience isn't upset Boomers and GenXers who buy a pair of shoes every 3-5 yrs or black and brown kids who buy new kicks every few weeks, and they're gonna play hard on the anti-white narrative.Nike's goal is to drive sales to $9 billion by 2025. Europe's market is already saturated. China is at stasis. Getting more Urban Youth to shoplift your product from retailers is not a marketing program that will quadruple your sales.

Blogger Jack Amok September 08, 2018 7:55 PM  

You think Kaepernick looks Egyptian?

Arab. Close enough.


The weirdest thing to me is how all these white boomers think Nike made a bad move, with their Kaepernick ad. They didn't. They made a great decision. Their target audience isn't upset Boomers and GenXers who buy a pair of shoes every 3-5 yrs

Nike's reputation is down among Youths, Blacks, and, well, everyone. Maybe Black kids realize he's got more Arab slaver in him than Bantu slave. Or maybe they just think he's a loser who lost his job and tried to make an excuse. Or that anyone named 'Colin' is just a joke.

He's not going to sell sneakers to the Chinese. East Indians (the least athletic people on the planet) have no need for them. Maybe Nike figures the New Europeans will buy from Kaep. Likely, they're just like the typical Virtue Signaler. Too out of touch and unused to critical thinking to consider the possibility they might be wrong about something, at least wrong enough to suffer any personal consequences.

Blogger Jack Amok September 08, 2018 8:02 PM  

Nike's goal is to drive sales to $9 billion by 2025. Europe's market is already saturated. China is at stasis.

Here you highlight one of the great weaknesses of the modern corporate creature - the need to always grow. It forces them into bad moves because they can never be content to just keep what they have working. It's a consequence of a parasitical approach. Things always need to be in motion or the rubes will realize the execs are just a bunch of leeches providing no value.

Blogger Johnny September 08, 2018 8:11 PM  

>>So quarterbacks are pussies now?

They don't like it when a hot shot quarterback goes down because they lose attendance. When they asked Terry Bradshaw if there was anything they could do to make the game safer for the quarterback he said, "Have them wear a skirt."

Blogger Brian Dean September 08, 2018 9:05 PM  

So a bunch of guys are angry because someone they don't know 1000 miles away, failed to kick a ball between two poles.

Blogger Crew September 08, 2018 10:30 PM  

Nike's goal is to drive sales to $9 billion by 2025. Europe's market is already saturated.

OK, so I guess we can look forward to them going after the LGBT market next, the single mothers. What about the Muslims? Maybe they can claim Mohammad would have worn Nikes!

Blogger Nikephoros II Phokas September 08, 2018 11:00 PM  

"Okay, so it would appear Wilson is in fact a Gamma. Single moms are much less likely to make men "go through the process" than young childless never-married women."

@35:

Wilson didn't just marry a washed up R&B thot turned rapper's baby momma.

He waited until marriage to bang her.

Blogger Nihil Dicit September 08, 2018 11:40 PM  

You don't need to have ever played sports to know one set of rules for one person and a different, harsher set for everyone else is a dangerously stupid approach to running anything bigger and more complicated than a lemonade stand.


He's not going to sell sneakers to the Chinese

Correct. American football does not travel well, and American cultural conflicts travel even less well. The Asian markets are bat-shit for basketball (and soccer, but that has nothing to do with the US).

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