ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Less than seven years ago, Heath Farwell was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as a special teams captain with the Seattle Seahawks. Now he gets ready to face his former team for the first time as a coach.
“I’m excited to see all those guys, I’ve got good friends still on that staff, still on that team that I played right next to so I’m excited to see those guys pregame, postgame, it will be really cool to see them. It’s always fun to play against your buddies and you hope you play well against them but at the end of the day we’re all friends and long-time friends with a lot of those guys,” Farwell said on a zoom call with News 4 Sports.
“I’m so grateful for all my time in Seattle, all the people there in that building so I’m just excited to see them and hopefully they feel the same way.”
Farwell is in his second season as the Bills special teams coordinator. He not only played for the Seahawks and won a Super Bowl in Seattle but also got his NFL coaching start after his playing career was over. He spent two seasons (2016 and 2017) with the Seahawks first as the team’s coaching assistant then took over as an assistant special teams coach.
“It’s funny because a lot of the stuff I do here is straight from that program there in Seattle starting with coach Carroll and his positive attitude and to bring energy every day to practice and to games and to make it fun for the guys so I try to do a lot of that same stuff,” Farwell said.
He especially credits Seahawks special teams coordinator, Brian Schneider for everything he taught him.
“He was an unbelievable mentor as a player and then obviously working under him. Everything he did, the players loved him there and he had their backs, he had my back as a player and then of course as coach under him. So a dear, dear friend of mine and one of my good buddies. I hope they turn on the tape and say there’s a lot of that stuff, I see where they got it from,” Farwell explained.
The Bills (6-2) host the Seahawks (6-1) on Sunday in what should be a high-scoring game with how explosive these two offenses can be.
“It’s a great program, I’ve got a lot of respect for what they do out there. You know I tell our guys here is they’re gonna play extremely hard, they’re gonna strain every single play and I hope they say the same thing about our group and I think that will show up,” Farwell said.
And since it wasn’t too long ago Farwell was playing for Seattle, he’s still very familiar with this team especially since some of the players he played with are still there.
“We had some great players there, great players, great guys again some of my good buddies, guys I looked to a ton. Bobby Wagner was there, he was a young player, K.J. Wright, Russell was there so I’ve got a lot of good friends on that team you know that’s currently still playing there,” Farwell said.
Farwell helped lead the Seahawks to the franchise’s first ever Super Bowl win during the 2013 season as Seattle beat the Broncos 43-8 on February 2nd, 2014.
“We had some big-time games and so much fun doing them you know playing those games. The Super Bowl week we spent some great times together. The week leading of just hanging together and spending quality time together and then obviously the game specifically and leading into the parade,” Farwell reflected.
“Those are some of my fondest memories of going on those tanks down the streets of Seattle with your best buddies and I had my oldest son, he was about a year old and he was a young kid up there. It got so cold I remember we had to take him inside the tank that shows how young he was so it’s some of my best memories being out there with the Seahawks.”
Making the transition to coaching, Farwell says he learned a lot about sustaining success and consistency in this league from Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll.
“It didn’t matter if we lost two in a row or we won two in a row, everything was exactly the same. He spoke to us the same on Monday morning, on Tuesday the way he talked to the coaches, the players and then on to the next week. Every week was a championship week. Even on the best teams I’ve been on there is a stretch or two where you’re going ‘we’re not playing quite as good’ but it never shakes with him. It’s just that positive approach every single week, it’s exactly the same every single week is a championship week. It’s just consistency all the time,” Farwell said.
Obviously, winning a Super Bowl is going to be at the top of Farwell’s list of memories but there’s always some funny, underrated moments in any season.
“Some of my fondest memories were probably ‘turnover Thursday’ when Luke Willson would wear his short shorts, I’m sure he’s still wearing them out there. He had the coaches doing it, I think that was one of the funnier things I saw at a practice. That’s a fun memory and he did it out there as a player and at one point he gave me a pair when I was coaching him so I think that’s one of my favorite guys on that team over the years,” Farwell laughed.
Now he gets ready to face his former team for the first time as a coach when the Bills host the Seahawks on Sunday.