The Foundation of My NFL Philosophy

Every offseason when I begin applying to teams, I send over a “packet” of information that contains a multitude of different elements. Part of it is the positional breakdowns that I’ve already posted here for everyone to see. It also includes a little research, some core principles I believe the best organizations possess, and some fundamental philosophies that successful teams abide by.

Instead of sharing the entire packet with you, I’ve decided to share bits and pieces of it separately so that we can discuss each piece as we go along in the hopes that this is will help to evolve my perspective and beliefs. I will never stop learning about the game we love.

The first page of the document I send over is simply an introduction of myself and my experiences, sort of like a cover letter. Below, this is what you’ll find directly after that. This is the foundation of my philosophy on how to begin building the perfect NFL organization. My intention was to keep it to one page so that even the busiest executive wouldn’t be deterred from reading the entire piece.

As a General Manager, here is how I would begin building the foundation of my team.

Foundation

The best way to build a successful franchise is to invest in the coaching staff and personnel department. This is opposed to making the players the primary investment or focus. This is the most easily recognized fact in the NFL, but it is also the most overlooked.

The Head Coach and Coordinators have as significant of an impact on the outcome of a game as any player on the field. Many coaches have taken average teams to championships, but there has never been a good roster that has taken an average coaching staff to any sort of success.

By investing more time, focus, and money into the search, hiring, and retaining of the General Manager, Head Coach, Coordinators, Position Coaches, Personnel Directors, and Scouts, a team builds a more efficient franchise. A roster filled with talented players that have team-friendly contracts is a direct result of having a good General Manager, Personnel department, and Coaches.

The return on investment is exponential. Investing in people who evaluate talent accurately and then negotiate efficient contracts will immediately pay dividends through money saved by avoiding bad signings and even worse contracts.

Going a step further, investing in good Coaches is the best way to ensure that the maximum amount of production is extracted from each player. Every year there are coaches that seem to always take an average player and make him special. If the team is filled with coaches in this mold, then the organization is getting the best out of every player, and each player’s abilities are being used to their maximum potential. Having anything other than the best coaches is a waste of a player’s talent and a team’s resources.

Roster spots are valuable commodities and should be treated as such. The value of each roster spot, in terms of both talent and finances, should be used in the most effective way possible. The best way to do this is to find the best people to determine who best fits that position and will negotiate the lowest possible cost.

There is a domino effect to this strategy. This investment will lead to a better roster with better contracts. With a better allocation of funds to players, there will be less cap space tied up through dead contracts. With more “real” cap space to use, a team has more freedom in terms of re-signing its own players or in offering attractive contracts to free agents. This will all lead to the most valuable commodity in the NFL: WINS.

Winning is everything. It drives revenue, exposure, and public opinion up while driving criticism and negativity down. I’ll say it one more time…

The most effective, efficient, and impactful way to build an NFL organization that will achieve sustained success is to invest in the Coaches and Personnel staff first. These positions should be scouted and evaluated as meticulously as players are evaluated. By doing so, a franchise is putting itself in a better position to sustain success.

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