The 33rd Team’s Insiders Network is a group of former NFL coaches and front-office executives who are here to provide insight and perspective into all things football. Each week during the season, we reach out to members of our Insiders Network to get their thoughts on a topical question. Here is this week’s question:
How do you keep a team motivated after you’ve been eliminated from playoff contention?
Many coaches motivate through adversity by appealing to the self interests of players and coaches (next contract, next job, personal pride). The best coaches are able to create an environment where playing for others and the team not only a remains a priority during adversity, but understood (and bought into) as the best way to maximize individual skills and opportunities.
You first use your player leaders to bring forward a message that is about both pride in the team and individual self interest. The latter is about what tape you create and how it affects your future financial success. You reinforce this with position coaches and coordinators. The HC is really the key when all is said and done, and it’s for these moments that you made hiring a HC who was a great leader your top criteria. His tone in words, and even more importantly his actions, will resonate or not. That will be the difference in overcoming this challenge.
It takes a lot of leadership from coaches, team leaders, etc.
It is very hard to motivate pride. Very few have had any success in that scenario.
We have standards for the organization that we’re always going to enforce as far as winning and competing. Players are always being evaluated not only short term, but long term. If we’ve done a good job in the front office, we’ve filled our organization with highly motivated, highly competitive players that want to compete, regardless of their circumstance.