Inside The Logistics Of Being The Pro Bowl Coaching Staff

Seahawks coaches will lead the NFC squad in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, but being the selected to coach the game requires a lot more than just a coaching staff. 

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The truck left Wednesday evening, a full 11 days before the 2020 Pro Bowl will kick off at Camping World Stadium, and just two and a half days after the Seahawks returned early in the morning from a season-ending playoff loss in Green Bay.

As the highest-seeded teams to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Seahawks were assigned to coach the NFC team and the Ravens were tabbed to coach the AFC squad in this year's Pro Bowl. But while that means Pete Carroll and the rest of his coaching staff will be leading the NFC squad in Sunday's game, there is a ton more that goes into being the Pro Bowl coaching staff than Carroll and company leading a few practices and a game… Starting with the dry cleaning.

While players were conducting exit interviews and physicals a day after their divisional round loss, assistant equipment manager Chad Sensibaugh was already on the phone setting up a large, rushed dry cleaning order so the gear worn by coaches, athletic trainers, team doctors and equipment staff would be ready to pack up and make it on Wednesday's truck.

Also going in the truck was rain gear, footballs—it's easier to prep balls ahead of time than in Orlando with a smaller staff—and, this being a Carroll-led operation and all, basketballs that, along with the hoop ordered for this occasion, will help liven up team meetings.   

The Seahawks will have two players in the game, quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Shaquill Griffin—linebacker Bobby Wagner won't participate due to a knee injury—but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the team's presence in Orlando.

In all, the Seahawks will have 27 coaches—the entire 2019 staff minus Steve Shimko, who was recently named the tight ends coach at Boston College—four athletic trainers, four members of the equipment staff, three members of the team video staff, three doctors, five members of the football support staff, one member of the communications department, and three members of the digital media department.   

After director of equipment Erik Kennedy and his team arrived in Orlando Sunday, they spent Monday setting up the locker room, getting gear ready for coaches and staff, and putting out practice gear for players. After that set up is finished, they could begin work on preparing for Sunday's game. Whether it was prepping the balls back in Seattle or doing things like getting jerseys onto shoulder pads ahead of Sunday, the goal is to make gameday as efficient as possible for everyone involved.

Kennedy and assistant equipment manager Derin Lazuta worked the Pro Bowl when it was in Hawaii four years ago, and came away from that experience with some lessons learned that they hope will help them have a smoother, more efficient experience this time around.

"That gave us a lot of experience," Kennedy said. "In Hawaii, we worked about 14 hours a day, and we're trying to not do that again. So we prepped a lot of that stuff so we didn't have to do it when we got down there."

The Pro Bowl adds a couple of extra weeks to the season for Seattle's coaches and staff even after they were eliminated from the playoffs, but in addition to mixing in plenty of family time—many of the coaches and staff working this week will have family on the trip with them, including Kennedy, who will have one of his sons on the sideline with him on gameday—there is also some football-related value to being around so many talented players, Carroll said last week.

"Really to see the caliber of the other players," Carroll said when asked what he is looking forward to about coaching the Pro Bowl. "I mean, we've been with our guys for six months. To have a chance to compare what these guys are capable of looking like. It's not going to be the most intense preparation that we'll ever go through. We'll be around them. I'm looking forward to the game as much as anything. For comparison purposes, it'll be good."

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll joined Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and the NFL in their efforts to help beautify the campus at Jones High School, a local Orange County Orlando school, as a part of the NFL's Huddle for 100 initiative.

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