The early TV reports show that more people watched Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks than any other sports program. Over 110 million people were watching. I don’t know if people were really watching the ballgame or the commercials.
Everybody predicted it would be a very close game. Nobody was favored. It soon became apparent that on this given night the Seattle Seahawks were far better than the Denver Broncos. The Broncos had experience – the Seahawks had youth. Normally experience beats youth.
But not Super Bowl XLVIII. From the outset the Seahawks appeared to be much quicker, more prepared, more physical, and displayed a lot more speed. All of that began to pay off early, and the Seahawks never let up. It looked like the Broncos had heavy hoofs and the Seahawks had wind-filled wings!
The Seahawks were the second youngest team ever to win a Super Bowl – which points to a pretty good future. But the secret of the Seahawks was not in their youth or speed or coaching, etc. The most valuable player in the game was Malcolm Smith, a linebacker. He was interviewed and asked about the secret of the win. He quickly said that it was the whole focus of every player to be a team – not an individual star. In fact you couldn’t name many of the players on the Seahawks team. They did not have the superstars, but they did have a lot of players who committed to playing together.
MVP Smith said that at the beginning of the season they committed this year to be one in which each player would focus on the team before himself. They talked about the team and support and encouragement in every practice, and all other activities. The games demonstrated that teamwork. They were committed to the fact that if the team won, everybody won and the greatest contribution any player could make would be for the welfare of the team.
Sometimes team play makes heroes out of people who never expected to be a hero. That is the case with Malcolm Smith. Coming out of college he wasn’t even invited to the NFL combine. When the draft came around he was the 242nd player chosen. Actually more than a third of all the Seahawks weren’t even drafted at all!!
The players who put the team first oftentimes perform at a level beyond what is expected. Coach Pete Carroll said, “Guys that are not the heralded guys coming in compete in our program and find ways to contribute in enormous ways.” Smith says, “I just wanted to be a part of the team and make my contribution.”
Coach Carroll said at the beginning of the year that he would join the players in their focus on teamwork. He gave them a vision of what could be accomplished if they played together as a team. He actually said that these concepts were not new to the Seahawks this year – they had been working on them for four years. This year they came to fruition.
Jesus put together a small team of twelve men. Later the team expanded to include leaders of the New Testament who were constantly encouraging the early church (team) to work together for Kingdom goals. Acts 2:43 describes that team as “all were together and held all things in common.”
Teams win – not individual stars. Someone said, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” Together accomplishes much.
Businesses, churches, families, sports teams, America – we could all learn a lot from the Seahawks about being a team. In a day of individualism, we need to get back to the concept of being a team. As it has been said, there is no “I” in team.