Grit and the Seattle Seahawks

Like them or dislike them, the Seattle Seahawks of recent memory are a talented football team. Despite my loyalty to the Buffalo Bills (and contempt for Richard Sherman from Monday Night Football on November 14), I admire the tenacity and “grit” that they bring each week on the football field. Duckworth in Grit discusses how she had correspondence with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll while writing the novel. The focus of their communications were in regards to a “culture of grit” and how it can have profound effect on those who buy-in to that culture.

In particular, the more noteworthy members of the Seahawks are on their defense. Take a look at this short clip and observe the respect and expectations members of the Seahawks defense have for one another:

Kam Chancellor (31), Earl Thomas (29) and Richard Sherman (25) tend to be the standouts and more outspoken leaders of the team. Chancellor, Thomas, and Sherman are demanding success from their other team members and are also being expected the same of themselves. Observe a quote in Grit stated by one of the assistant coaches: “Always compete. You’re either competing or you’re not. Compete in everything you do. You’re a Seahawk 24-7. Finish strong. Positive Self-Talk. Team first (p. 265, 2016)”.

With the cultural pedigree and grit of the Seahawks well established and proven (Super Bowl XLVIII win), I think about the culture of my own work environment. Is there grit? Do people want to succeed? Is there friendly competition among colleagues?

Think if it were a more negative environment at your school. Are there people showing up just to earn a pay check? Is there a lack of sincere effort or pride into teaching? As school leaders establishment of grit and success should be a priority for us while still supporting each other as a team.

I reflect and think if more teachers and schools had a culture like the Seahawk’s defense. I have many friends who have left education within the first three years of working. They might still be teaching if their school’s culture was different.

If you’re thinking like the Seahawks, who’s got your back?

P.S.- Go Bills.


Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverence. New York, NY:                 Scribner.


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