David Mandel
Chief Executive Officer, OHEL Children's Home and Family Services

The Silent Leader

Did you see the play near the end of the Super Bowl last Sunday?

No, not Russell Wilson’s errant interception throw with six seconds left that cost Seattle the Super Bowl.

It was Bill Belichick’s show of leadership with 2:02 left in the game.

A profound demonstration of leadership without even uttering one word.

Down by 3 points with two minutes left in the game Tom Brady the Patriot’s quarterback calls a time out. Josh McDaniels the Offensive Coordinator walks on-field to talk to Brady.

The image you see unfold on your screen (computer, HiDef, curved screen) are McDaniels and Brady strategizing a play.

Into your screen walks the infamous coach Bill Belichick.

McDaniels and Brady are talking.

Belichick is quiet.

Run the ball, pass the ball, an end around, tens of millions couch warming at home or barroom half-drunk quarterbacks are all second guessing the play.

Belichick is quiet.

All this takes a mere 15 seconds as McDaniels and Brady part.

They made a decision.

The most important play of the Patriot’s season is about to take place.

Success portends a Super Bowl victory. History for New England.

A legacy for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady as the greatest ever.

Sure bragging rights well deserved.

Conversely, the play flubs Seattle wins and Belichik and Brady will remain the great ones but not iconic Super Bowl’s greatest.

Yet with all this and more on the line, the moment at hand where a coach coaches, Belichick lets his Offensive Coordinator do all the talking with his star quarterback.

He walks off the field not having spoken one word, not second guessing his star assistant nor his star quarterback. He didn’t say let’s hear what you decided. No what do you think?

Displaying a quiet confidence in his team he believes the moment at hand is merely another event in the process called leading.

If his coaches and players have excelled until now then they will continue doing their job. He walked onto the field to lend support. His physical presence is required.

Quiet coaching not talk coaching.

With 2:02 left in the game Julian Edelman catches a touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

The Pats lead 28-24.

With 6 seconds left in the game and Seattle on New England’s one yard line Russell Wilson throws a game ending interception.

Patriots win Super Bowl XLIX 28-24.

The world over is second guessing Seattle coach Bill Caroll’s decision to have Wilson throw rather than Marshawn Lynch bulldoze his way into the end zone.

This game ending football tragedy has been replayed thousands of times. It’s been called the worst decision in football history.

Belichick on the other hand didn’t speak with the game on the line. He led.

No need to replay Brady’s touchdown throw to Edelman. No second guessing the silent one.

Like him or not Bill Belichick earned the title The Great One if not The Greatest.

I prefer The Silent Leader.

About the Author
David Mandel is CEO of Ohel Children's Home and Family Services. For more than 50 years, Ohel has provided a safe haven for those suffering in the community. Ohel cares for more than 17,000 individuals in the New York metropolitan area and across all communities offering a broad range of mental health services including outpatient counseling, trauma, anxiety, eldercare, respite and housing.