Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Most Excellent Raptor

For some reason I have something to say about the Superb Owl every year, even though I'm pretty sure my 2 1/2 readers aren't foobaw fans. This year the Patriots are making their third consecutive appearance, which I believe has only a single precedent. They would be going for their third consecutive win if not for Bill Belichick's incomprehensible decision to bench Malcolm Butler last year, which certainly cost them the game. The dour hooded one has never explained it, but at least it proves he must care about something other than winning.

Given the vast attention and resources paid to sportsball, we might as well try to extract something of value from it. The only real value I can see is that it offers examples of how and how not to be successful. That the Patriots have had such success year after year in a league that maintains a strict salary cap has to be instructive. As every Pats fan knows, apart from whatever superior coaching genius may be going into game planning and play calling, the key to their success is getting the most out of players nobody else wanted. Tom Brady was a sixth round draft pick. Throughout his 17 year career the Patriots have made a regular practice out of signing players other teams have dumped, and getting big performances out of them.

Sometimes this has meant taking players with behavioral problems, and that hasn't always worked out for them. Viz. receiver Josh Gordon, who they lost mid-season this year due to an alcoholism relapse. Then there is Aaron Hernandez, of whom we shall not speak. Well okay, we'll speak of him. They drafted him while everybody else was steering clear due to documented behavioral and psychological problems. Then he turned out to be a serial killer. Okay, you win a few, you lose a few. Nevertheless, most of the time they've been able to get the guys to straighten up and accept the extremely rigid discipline required to stay on the field. The coaches are very good at understanding athletes' abilities and limitations, and putting them in the right role to succeed.

So maybe there is a lesson there for the real world. Hiring and personnel management are the key to any successful enterprise. That means understanding your employees, giving them the right job, and giving them what they need to do well. On the other hand the Patriots coaches are ruthless. They are more than willing to dump players who they think are going to decline in the next year. They have very little if any downward loyalty. Enterprises shouldn't only be about winning.

Update: Well, nobody expected that. The Spanish Inquisition might as well have parachuted onto the field. Every NFL pundit's gob is well and truly smacked. Typical predictions for the final score were 34-31. But what people forget is that defense is half of the game. Playing defense counts as playing football. I thought it was fine.

1 comment:

mojrim said...

Is that the rank above or below "Exalted Eagle?"