Open Letter to Matt Leinart, Arizona Cardinals

Open Letter to Matt Leinart, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals

Matt Leinart, there may be hope for you yet if you would just call the new Urgent Care Coaching Hotline being launched by Sande Roberts, Sister #1, of The Sisters: Real Life Skills Workshops. It’s clear you need help NOW whether you stay with the Cardinals or go to another team.

Using one of our many assessment process tools, Three Choices, let’s take a look at what an initial session between Matt and Sande, might look like, with a lot of help and great appreciation for the coverage and quotes from Matt carried in the Arizona Republic by Paola Boivin and Kent Somers.

In Three Choices, Choice One is where everything is working smoothly and you can’t wait to get to the stadium each day. In Choice Two, you have a pretty strong sense that things aren’t going the way you envisioned them but you’re not sure you can put your finger on what’s wrong. In Choice Three, the situation is broken and may be beyond repair. The Choices offer some thought provoking ways to look at you and your team from several perspectives.

Matt: The Coach keeps saying it’s about picking the best team and not about whether you like somebody or not. I don’t get it.

Sande: OK Matt, let’s look at our Three Choices and evaluate the Choice your situation is in.

Are you getting what you want from your team, which is being named the starting quarterback?

Is what needs to be done, what you want to be doing all day? This includes endless practice even if you’re the only one out there before anyone else arrives and after everyone else leaves? And what were you practicing in the off season?

Is your team getting what it needs from you? What’s your commitment level to the organization?

OK Matt, it doesn’t look like you’re in Choice One with the Cardinals, because in One you’re on board with yourself and your team. Everything feels right and even difficulties are approached with confidence and enthusiasm. In Choice One there wouldn’t be any public whining.

Matt: How can I be on board with the team when the coach won’t let me play?

Sande: Hang on Matt, let’s take a look at where you are in the other two choices. In Choice Two, you’re looking at just not being the right fit. From Coach Whisenhunt’s comments, it’s sounding like this is where he’s seeing you. I know it’s personal for you, however from the team’s perspective it’s about the right chemistry on the field. A team takes on a personality of it’s own and you’re either a natural match or you need to make some changes.

Matt: Well why don’t they make the changes? I’ve already proved what I can do. I don’t know what else I can do. It must be personal. Why don’t they let me play more?

Sande: This is the really hard part about Choice Two. Everything feels like you’re paddling upstream against the current. It’s difficult and not enjoyable at all. More and more obstacles seem to appear out of nowhere. In reality you’re looking like you’re straddling the fence with one foot in and one foot out of your commitment to your position and the team.

Matt: I don’t get that. If they want the best 11 guys on the field, then I’ve proven I should be there with my performance. I’ve outplayed the competition in training camp and the preseason. I want an explanation and I haven’t been given one.

Sande: I have real concerns here Matt. Challenging the coach in public sounds a lot like Choice Three. You end up sounding like you’re the victim, and all your problems are everyone else’s fault. Choice Three is being on the brink of forcing others to either bypass you or remove you as long as you refuse to accept responsibility for failing to use your strengths. This is often where the ability to help is taken out of the hands of those who have been trying or willing to help. When Coach Whisenhunt says he has an open door policy, he probably means that if you have an issue, talk to him before you talk to the public. It’s a big leap from here to being on board, but it can happen with a commitment to seek assistance in working on it.

Matt: Well, it’s like I told the reporters, I’ve done all I can at this point and I can’t worry about anything I can’t control. I’ll just keep grinding and keep working.

Sande: Matt, I really want you to experience success. I’m going to wrap this up with a little story. Many years ago Sister #2, Wende Wylie (yes we’re really sisters, no we’re not Nuns), was on her way to a wonderful career in the Fire Service. During her training to become a firefighter she was getting started as a volunteer with a department in a small coastal community in Northern California.

At a gathering, Keith, a full time paid firefighter in the department, was verbally challenging Wende about his concern that she was strong enough for the physical challenges of the job. Keith, with all his 6’, 220 pounds of bravado stated, “When you can carry me up that flight of stairs I will believe you can save me and I’ll accept you as a firefighter.” Wende, 5’5 and more than 70 pounds lighter, walked up to Keith, maneuvered him onto her shoulder, carried him up the 14 step flight of stairs, and unceremoniously dumped him at the top. “Keith, she said, “I can save you. The question is, will I?

Matt, the “I can, but will I?” question is important when we think about how people treat each other and the confidence they have in each other. Just as the need for Wende to prove her capabilities were realistic, the need for you to continue to prove yours to your coach and the team are realistic too. Please exit the whining zone and put your talent where your mouth is.


For more information on The Sisters, or the Urgent Care Coaching Hotline, contact Sande Roberts at or 480-748-5527. Visit The Sisters website: The Sisters are consultants, strategists and trainers specializing in relationship and communication dynamics.

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