ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz showed his team a clip from the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” last Saturday night before his team’s game against Minnesota. When he was done, after he spoke, his defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham was impressed.
Then again, Cunningham said he had used the same movie clip before in his first season as the head coach in Kansas City. But Cunningham wasn’t impressed as much by the clip, but by the speech Schwartz made after. About explaining how some things you can’t control and about resiliency.
“The night before the game, the way he presented things that are going to happen in the game was really good,” Cunningham said. “I was really impressed with his talk to the team. Lo and behold, it happened.
“We rallied back and played.”
This particular movie is a common staple amongst teams at pretty much every level of sports. So it’s nothing new. But it is what Schwartz used to help reinforce his message to the Lions last week.
Schwartz downplayed the showing of the clip Friday. He wouldn’t say how he decides his theme each week, other than that it comes to him.
But the “Saving Private Ryan” clip, he’s pretty sure it’s been used everywhere.
“There’s 32 teams in the NFL, good gracious,” Schwartz said. “I bet you "Saving Private Ryan" has been played a couple hundred thousand times for different teams. There’s a lot of those movies the DVD grooves are worn out from stuff like that.
“All of that has a message, all of it is designed to reinforce a message and prepare players and things like that. That doesn’t take the place of scheme, doesn’t take the place of players, doesn’t take the place of practice or working and all those different things. That stuff wears off pretty quickly once you take the field.”
But sometimes it does get the mind right, and for the Lions last week, it worked.