Under the Radar

Which SEAL Can Inspire Your Team to Victory?


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Former SEALS Marcus Luttrell and Robert O'Neill love them some football.

If you're a football coach selling that "football is war" metaphor to your team, which high-profile SEAL veteran do you want to deliver that pregame motivational speech? The one wrote a book about his heroism under orders from the brass or the one who some say broke the code by going on TV to announce that he was the guy who took out Osama bin Laden?

Last Saturday, Lone Survivor author Marcus Luttrell gave a pregame speech to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide before they took on the #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Washington Redskins brought in the newly famous Robert O'Neill on Saturday night to inspire the squad before their Sunday home game against the woeful 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Guess what happened.



Marcus shows the Tide some love by hugging an elephant.

Marcus told the story of Operation Redwing to a group of young men who might have seen the movie and illustrated it with clips from the film. As the story went on, the images change and the team starts seeing highlights of their season so far. Marcus builds up to a climax: "Navy SEAL wasn't my job. It's what I am. If you're a Bama football player (and a good one), that's what you are." The team went out and dominated: the final 25-2o makes the game look a lot closer than it was. Alabama is now the #1 team in the new College Football Playoff rankings.



Redskin WR Pierre Garcon poses with the guy who shot Osama bin Laden.

Aside from some social media postings from team members, there aren't many details about Robert O'Neill's speech to the Washington team. O'Neill, a Montana native, has been vocal about his support for the Redskins, going back to the notorious 2013 Esquire article where he didn't reveal his name but gave enough biographical details that a lot of people figure out who he was. The next day, he sat in the owner's box at the game and watched his beloved 'Skins get thumped 27-7 by a team that earlier this season lost to the woeful Atlanta Falcons 56-14 (after being down 56-0).


Draw your own conclusions here. Is there a SEAL life lesson lurking in these facts? Does Marcus Luttrell just have better taste in football teams than Rob O'Neill or has he just had more practice at giving motivational speeches?

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