The cost of winning

I was watching the NFL games yesterday, and I noticed something disturbing–the mediocrity of the teams playing. The Cleveland/Buffalo game–putrid; Jacksonville is hideous; St. Louis is awful; and many other teams are just skirting by. But the Washington Redskins and my Dallas Cowboys are examples of something that bothers me.

Both team owners are rich beyond belief, and don’t hesitate to spend that money. (For the Cowboys, see exhibit A.) But for all that cash they dole out, their records–regular-season and post-season–show nothing more than mediocrity. Take the Cowboys. No playoff wins since 1996. Washington‘s record is just as bad. And I think I know the problem, and it’s not coaching. It’s ownership that believes they know more about football than established general managers. They hire coaches that good men, but weak and malleable–guys who won’t challenge their authority. The owners’ egos are larger than the team, and the teams wallow in subpar seasons.

Firing the coaches is a popular move, but a bandage. Firing the general managers would help, but not much. The real key is this–the owners have to give up control and understand they are in the way of their teams’ success. Check your ego at the stadium entrance and realize you don’t know as much about football as you think.

Having a huge ego and maintaining excessive control are different ways of saying hanging on too tightly. The only thing these guys should be hanging onto is the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Well, just the Cowboys…


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