Instilling ‘Win Forever’ mindset

first_imgI don’t know about everyone else, but I’m still in shock over what I witnessed during last weekend’s NFC Championship Game.In my opinion, the Seattle Seahawks don’t deserve to head to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona less than a couple weeks from now. Based on what I read in the box score and watched with my own eyes on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers should be the ones preparing to play the New England Patriots.Though “Deflate-gate” also questions the integrity of whether Bill Belichick’s team should be playing in the big game, it’s these conspiracy theories that actually need to be deflated. I’m not a football equipment expert or anything, but are you really going to try and tell me that a couple of psi are going make a difference in a game that running back LeGarrette Blount scored three touchdowns on the ground en route to a 45-7 win?  Thought so.However, what I continue to have trouble resonating with is how the Seahawks remarkably scored 15 points in 44 seconds to force a game in which they turned the ball over five times into overtime.It still feels like a magician was playing a trick on me when Seattle receiver Jermaine Kearse caught a 35-yard strike from Russell Wilson to win the game, causing Wilson to cry his eyes out.One could say it was a product of the continuous support and cheers by the dignified “12th man,” but even some of the record-breaking crowd didn’t believe in their team anymore and pulled their best Miami Heat fans by heading for the exits early.I believe that there is really only one person that could have possibly made what seemed to be impossible into a reality.And that man is none other than Seahawks’ field general and former USC head coach Pete Carroll.Yes, Carroll does also have to give a lot of credit to his special teams coordinator and former assistant at USC, Brian Schneider, who managed to pull off a couple of special teams miracles by executing a fake field goal for a touchdown and an onside kick all in the same game.But the decision making and instilled belief that the team is never out of the game, regardless of the score, all starts at the top with a guy like “Big Balls Pete” and his “Win Forever” philosophy.I still get goose bumps from the day Carroll came to discuss his philosophy with the student body here at USC, and he said that “Win Forever” originated back during his 1994 season opener when his New York Jets took on the Buffalo Bills.In his first game as head coach, the Jets won 23-3, but Carroll’s post-game discovery of the Bills’ consistent success, a display that showcased the team’s division five division championships over six years, gave him the nerve to coach teams to win forever.This must be where the term “Big Balls Pete” originated, as it’s one of those ideas that sounds so crazy that you just have to believe it.Nonetheless, it’s this foundation that paved the way for Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII victory and their miraculous comeback last Sunday.I know its a cliche and all, but the best team on the field doesn’t always win the game. And flat out, the best team on the field that day didn’t win the NFC conference championship.However, one can argue that special teams on the field is not what won the game for the Seahawks on Sunday. It was the “special teams” on the sidelines, rather, that really sealed the deal.I don’t think anything can outweigh the mentality of knowing you’re going to win the game, despite all of the adversity. This all starts with Carroll applying that “Win Forever” mindset and continuing it in perpetuity.USC fans all remember the golden era that he produced in his nine years at USC, where he went 83-19 (97-19 but 14 wins were vacated) en route to producing two national championships and 60 players who were selected in the NFL Draft.I truly believe that if there’s one thing that current USC head coach Steve Sarkisian can learn from his predecessor and former colleague, it’s to try and figure out how he can instill a similar type of “Win Forever” belief in his program because “overall foundation” is one of the areas in which I think he is currently lacking.I can’t really think of a game during the 2014 season in which USC exhibited a sense of resiliency or persistence when they faced adversity or trailed an opponent by more than a touchdown. Rather, we just witnessed some utterly atrocious collapses, cough cough Arizona State, that are just unacceptable for such a high-caliber program.Games and, as a result, wins, were indeed, thrown away by the Trojans last year, but none were taken away from the opponent by the means of making a valiant come back.Just take into account the UCLA game where the Bruins got up 28-14 on USC after one half and it seemed like all hope was lost.If the Trojans really do want to make a run for the College Football Playoff and a national title, I believe that a foundation like “Win Forever” or a similar mantra to build on is absolutely necessary, especially for the younger guys like sophomores Adoree’ Jackson and Juju Smith.Before you know it, spring practice will be in session, and then fall camp will quickly follow, so Sarkisian beter take a page out of Carroll’s book sooner rather than later.Darian Nourian is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Persian Persuasion,” runs Thursdays.last_img

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