I recently read Bill Polian’s book “The Game Plan” and got to thinking: What makes a good organization and how can that info help us handicappers? The main thing I got from the book was leadership and how running a football organization isn’t all that different from running a corporation. Both need an idea to promote and a vision of what it will look like when it’s finished. Henry Ford’s idea was building a car that the everyday man could afford, and the vision was car lots across the country filled with his cars to sell. For a football team, the idea is the scheme they want to run and the vision is bringing in the right personnel that can turn that scheme into wins. Leadership is nothing more than having the ability to get someone to follow you. The results could be good or not so good.
First, you need people who know football. That means scouts that can recognize talent. The tough question is do you get players who fit the scheme only or the top talent that you can adjust the scheme and maximize their skills? The best teams choose the latter, as there isn’t enough elite talent to go around. Creative schemes have been created to combat the talent game. Think temp offenses. Next is filling your organization with character guys. I think this gets overlooked. We’ve all heard the phrase “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Guys who have bad character will never get going. Sure they look great when things go well, but when they aren’t, they disappear or crumble like a deck of cards. Finally, winning organizations trust their coaches to do their job. No micromanaging.
Here is the order of importance I place on positions. Note with college football, teams can recruit multiple players for these key positions where in the NFL, resources are more limited.
1. Franchise QB
2. Pass rushers
3. Point of attack (OL and DL)
4. Defensive backs
5. Running backs, wide receivers, and Inside LB’s
6. Special Teams
It’s impossible to be elite in every area in the NFL. But the good organizations create a blueprint and have the ability to identify talent to meet their needs