What Pete Said

Years before Pete Carroll won the Super Bowl as the coach of the Seattle Seahawks, and before he led the USC Trojans to a title, he was the head coach of the New England Patriots. He won some games there, but his brief tenure was somewhat middling — nothing terrible, nothing remarkable. Then Carroll was let go.

On Sunday before the Super Bowl, Fox aired a pre-taped interview between Carroll and former head coach Jimmy Johnson. Johnson asked Carroll about what happened in New England and why Carroll was ready to give the NFL another shot in Seattle, and I found the response fascinating.

Carroll began by intimating that he didn’t have as much control over player personnel in New England as he wanted or maybe deserved. Then he said that when he decided to take the Seattle job, he spoke to Seahawks general manager John Schneider (aka Carroll’s new boss) and said this:

“I want our relationship to be famous.”

In other words, I want us to be on the same page. I want us to define our roles, own our roles, and trust one another to play those roles. I want us to work so well together — you as the GM and me as the coach — that football teams, basketball teams, hockey teams, creative teams, and executive teams come to us to study how we cooperate and collaborate.

As a football fan, I thought that was fascinating. Then, in an instant, I was hearing Carroll’s words again in my context as a communications pastor.

“I want our relationship to be famous.”

Have I said that to my supervisor or my executive pastor or my senior pastor? Have I thought it? Honestly, it never occurred to me. But more than saying it, could I mean it? What about my attitudes and actions would have to change? What would it take for church leadership teams around the world to come to Irving Bible Church and study how I cooperate and collaborate with my leadership?

I don’t know exactly what would need to change yet. The only answer I’ve come up with so far is, “A lot.” Evidently I’ve got some work to do.

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