Friday, August 4, 2017

Great Thoughts from the Greatest of the NFL

We've published a book called Pillars of the NFL by Patrick McCaskey that covers the football lives of the top 10 coaches in NFL history. A study on the great men of the NFL is a worthwhile exercise. And the book is very interesting. These men were very different and yet they were all winners. The book is large, but it briefly covers each coach. It also includes illustrations by Bill Potter and some great historical photos.

Great ideas came and continue to come from NFL thought leaders. Here are five personal principles (paraphrased in some cases) culled from NFL legends that coaches/trainers should help instill in their “players.” These are general principles that should be of interest to people in every walk of life.
Illustration, Copyright Bill Potter

1. “Never go to bed a loser”—George “Papa Bear” Halas

George Halas's Chicago Bears became a premier sports enterprise and this little principle was his way to promote great effort every day.  Halas was a man’s man and he could be blunt. I like this quote because I am sure it comes honestly. I can’t see a speechwriter coming up with this one.

2. Treat everyone with kindness, but never let anyone mistake kindness for weakness—Art Rooney, Sr.

Rooney was a boxer, baseball player, and a sports promoter whose family continues to play a leading role in professional sports ownership along with many philanthropic causes. This reflects the reality and sometimes when people work with very successful men, they ask for things—not necessarily trying to take advantage of them, but just in course of business or even for charity. This was a saying for Rooney and his family to follow.

3. Love and respect all, but fear no one—Wellington Mara

Wellington Mara owned the New York Giants football team and he was one of the most advanced thinking owners. Mara also spent a lot of time on league business. Like George Halas, he was one of the men responsible for seeing the NFL survive as well as his team. Coming from New York, Mara had a lot of critics and at times he had to be very tough. He had to be fearless.

4. You don’t necessarily have to like your players, but as a leader you must love them—Vince Lombardi

School-teacher Lombardi was a legendary motivator who focused on basics and preparation. He was the toughest football coach of his time. His players were ready to hang him from the rafters in Green Bay, but then they started to win. The players learned that as tough as Lombardi could be, his purpose was to make them as good as they could be.  And he was accomplishing it.

5. Focus on your job—focus on what you do and do it right—Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick runs the tightest of organizations. He can often be heard in key situations telling a player, “just do your job.” Belichick has had some great results from players in his very special system. He can cut things down at times to very defined roles.  Some people don’t last in Belichick’s system, but other excel because they learn what is expected of them. And that makes all the difference in the world. 

Principles are often short and sweet, but have a deeper meaning for people as they consider their implications. 

Copyright Sporting Chance Press