The pundits will talk (and talk) about X’s and O’s, offensive and defensive schemes and, of course, proper ball inflation leading up to the Super Bowl, but why not take a look at the personalities of the coaches and quarterbacks of the two teams in Sunday’s big game. They are often looked upon as the leaders of their teams and one can see how their personalities rub off on their players and teammates and have helped lead them to this point in the season.
For the AFC Champions, the New England Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback, Tom Brady, have created one of the most successful coach-quarterback pairings in NFL history. This Sunday marks the sixth Super Bowl the pair have reached, and if they win it will mark their fourth Super Bowl victory. The two men have a similar passion for competition and winning but they have very different personalities. Belichick exhibits high cautiousness behaviors. He is known to be task oriented and his press conferences are well known (and often mocked) for his terse, direct answers. He prides himself on knowing all the data, many consider him something of a football historian, and he sets high standards for his team and himself. The Patriots have had an unprecedented amount of success with him at the helm, winning numerous division titles and conference championships. He grew up around football programs and learned to break down game film at the age of nine years old. Belichick is undoubtedly theoretically motivated when it comes to football.
Brady, like most professional athletes, demonstrates high dominance traits. He is extroverted, likes to win, wants results and has a need to direct. The quarterback is the leader on the field and Brady is practically legendary for his success in leading hurry-up offenses and game-winning drives. He thrives as the center of attention and is comfortable in the spotlight and in front of the cameras.
This combination provides the other players on the squad with the knowledge that the research has been done, the plan is sound and the leaders know how to put it to good use. The players on the Patriots have been known to adopt Belichick type answers when approached by the media and also tend to echo Brady’s confidence on and off the field.
Pete Carroll, the head coach of the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, has an energetic and positive personality. You would not confuse him for the often dour Belichick. Carroll is one of three men who have successfully led teams to win both a Super Bowl and an NCAA National Championship. He coached the USC Trojans and definitely had to have a lighter, genial coaching personality to deal with college-aged players and a more laid back, West Coast mentality. Carroll has high influencing behaviors. He has been known for his youthful energy, passion and being player-friendly. Prior to Belichick’s tenure as the Patriots head coach, Carroll led the team for several seasons. His lighter demeanor was the antithesis to his predecessor, Bill Parcells, but it didn’t prove to be successful at that time. Carroll also has some cautiousness tendencies, as many professional coaches probably do, especially in needing to have control over all decisions. One clear example of this is the fact that he is also the executive vice president of football operations for the Seahawks, which means he has the final say in football matters.
Carroll’s quarterback, Russell Wilson, is a rising star in the NFL and shows more steadiness behaviors with some dominance tendencies. Wilson is competitive, positive and likes challenges, all characteristics of those with dominance behaviors, but he is often calm and methodical, likes to have a team environment, is traditionally motivated and has a service background (all steadiness traits). Wilson is a devout Christian and often makes references to his faith. He makes frequent visits to the Seattle Children’s Hospital and is involved in numerous fundraisers for various charitable organizations. Many professional athletes are involved in similar causes but Wilson has also proven himself on and off the field to be people-oriented.
His personality fits well with Carroll’s. He is 26 years old and has only played three full seasons with the Seahawks. He has had unprecedented success and has continued his rise as one of the top players in the game. It is likely that he responds well to his coach’s exuberance because of his age and enthusiasm. Carroll has also done a superb job in allowing his other players’ personalities to flourish. Players like Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin and Marshawn Lynch are allowed to be who they are and speak their minds (or in the case of Lynch, hardly speak at all). The important thing is that their actions on the football field often back up what they say and speak louder than their words.
It is hard to say which team will win on Sunday, but fans should expect a good game either way.