Death Crawl


Lessons from the inspirational Death Crawl scene of Facing the Giants are applicable to various forms of leadership. There is great value in empowering individuals and teams by helping them recognize they are capable of much more than they themselves realize. It’s also quite interesting to see what people take away after watching it.

Brock : That’s gotta be 50. That’s gotta be 50. I don’t have any more.

Coach: Look up, Brock. You’re in the end zone. Brock, you are the most influential player on this team. If you walk around defeated, so will they. Now tell me you can’t give me more than what I’ve been seeing. You just carried a 140-pound man across this whole field on your arms. Brock, I need you. God’s gifted you with the ability of leadership. Don’t waste it.

Facing the Giants (2006) PG

The Death Crawl Perspectives

Brock as the player doing the death crawl

Powerful takeaways for the individual are

  • You don’t/can’t realize your own potential until you believe it
  • Sometime you need others to believe in you first before you can believe in yourself
  • Just keep going and don’t give up
  • Having a support system around you on the journey is just as important as the journey itself

Brock as a Leader

  • By showing he’s capable of doing more than he or his teammates believed was possible, Brock models what’s possible when you don’t give up.
  • The blindfold helps Brock go further because he doesn’t realize he’s close to and then beyond what he thought possible. Sometimes our belief in what’s possible is precisely that which defines our limits.
Death Crawl - Brock you are the most influential player on this team - Don't tell me that you can give me more than what Ive been seeing

The Stunned Teammates watching the death crawl

  • The teammates hear Brock at the beginning saying he expects to lose Friday’s game. None of his teammates question that. They simply accept the negative outcome when confronted with a challenge.
  • As they see Brock go beyond the 35, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 yards they witness again and again that more is possible than any of them believed.
Death Crawl - Teammates in awe of what their captain is capable of.

Coaching a Player

  • The coach uses the blindfold and the continuous encouragement help Brock realize that he’s capable of more than he realizes.
  • The individual player Brock now has much more confidence of his own capabilities by realizing how much he can push beyond the point where he was ready to give up.

Coaching a Leader

  • By choosing the team captain, the coach helps Brock be the one to model what’s possible to his teammates. The demonstration is much more powerful and convincing than any words could have been.
  • By helping Brock show his teammates what he’s capable of, the coach has helped Brock earn greater respect from his teammates.
  • By not himself being the one to inspire and motivate the team directly, he’s being a multiplier by enabling Brock to be a leader rather than diminishing Brock by stepping in as the role model and leader himself. Teaching and enabling others to lead will make for a stronger team than if you take all leadership responsibilities upon yourself.

Coach Taylor Recognizing his own mistake

Death Crawl - Coach, I weigh 160

What I find the most interesting lesson from this video is also the one that’s most easily overlooked as it’s both subtle and meta. The above take-aways are fairly obvious to a leader or coach.

What’s more powerful yet is to recognize that even though we believe people can achieve more than they believe is possible, we may also in that still not recognize what is truly possible.
When Jeremy tells the coach “I weigh 160” (instead of 140), it leaves the coach surprised because he felt the Brock could carry 140 pounds 100 yards (which neither Brock nor the other players believed) – Brock could actually carry 160lbs 100 yards – which exceeded even the coaches expectations of what he believed possible. As great coaches, we believe our coachees can achieve more than they themselves or those around them believe. Sometimes even in that belief as a coach, we may still be underestimating the potential in those we coach.

Getting your team to believe in themselves starts with you believing in them

I think a lot of people see that video from the player’s (coachee’s) perspective and see the lesson he learns. Some see the perspectives of his teammates. Others see the coach’s perspective, but most miss that nuance of the 140 / 160 lesson for the coach. I believe the most is to be learned/gained by recognizing that every one goes through life at times in all of those roles. None of the teammates believed he could do it; the primary lesson the coach was explaining to him at the end was – you as a role model can demonstrate that the believed impossible is possible by believing it and doing it yourself
Conversely, if you choose to buy into your own limitations, you are modeling a behavior and belief the others will also buy into as well. Once you recognize this, realize that in life we can and perhaps should always see opportunities for ourselves in both roles 🙂

Another example of what’s possible when we shift our reality to believe we are capable of more...

See Also

  • What it means to be 10x and have a 10x Mindset
    It is questioned whether “10x-ers” exist – people that add 10x the value of those around them. Are such people mythical creatures that exist only in our imagination or are real but simply elusive. If elusive, how do we find them or how do we become one of them?
  • Facing the Giants
    “Finally, if you are leader of people I cannot imagine a more motivational clip to show at your next team meeting.”

  • 5 Lessons From The Death Crawl Scene In “Facing the Giants”
    1 – Don’t Write A Bad Month Off As A Loss Before It’s Over
    2 – Once You Hit A Goal Don’t Give Up
    3 – Give Your VERY Best
    4 – You Inspire Others When You Perform At Your Best
    5 – No Matter What, Refuse To Walk Around Defeated

  • Look up, you’re in the end zone
    1. “Keep Moving, Keep Driving, Don’t Quit”
    2. “Give Your Very Best, Your Very Best, Your Very Best”
    3. “Keep Going, Give Everything You’ve Got”
    4. “It’s All Heart from Here”
    5. “Negotiate With Your Body (Self) Even When It Hurts”
    6. “Listen To Your Coach”
    7. “Look Up, You’re in the End Zone”

  • Life Lessons From The Death Crawl
    1.  Commit to giving your very best.  I mean your absolutely very best.
    2.  Have a coach that can help you push yourself beyond your previous capabilities.
    3.  A Goal could be limiting.  Go as far as you absolutely can.  It will be well passed your perception of your maximum and leave your would be goal in the dust.
    4.  Keep complete focus on what you are doing without looking at any distractions including how far you have come or how far you have yet to go.
    5.  Embrace that idea that when you are doing your very best, others are learning from you and will upgrade their game.


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