The National Football League (NFL) draft for 2014 recently finished. 3 days, 8 rounds and a total of 256 prospects/new rookies for 32 teams in the league. In my opinion, the NFL draft is the second most popular sport only to the NFL itself. With hockey and basketball playoffs in full swing and dozens of baseball games a week, the NFL draft coverage is multiples more than any other sport covered.
The NFL has made its draft an entirely additional sport to keep itself relevant in the time between the Super Bowl and when mini camps and training camps open. Hundreds of sportscasters, journalists and media organizations have made followed suit providing non-stop coverage of who they think is going to be drafted first, who will go in the first round and who will be the 10th, 100th or 200th pick and Why.
Millions who follow the NFL and perhaps, more importantly, millions who play fantasy football are locked in for weeks before and after the draft to see who is going to provide the most value to not only their real team but again, more importantly, their fantasy team.
The NFL rents out Radio City Music Hall for days and makes a show out of it. For 3 days and 2 primetime slots. Hundreds of hours of highlight reels are queued up for discussion following the moments when “The Pick Is In” and the selection is announced. The first night there are 32 teams all with a “Number 1” jersey for their respective selections and photographers and videographers to capture the announcement, call, walk on the stage or player and family reactions.
Why is this important? Obviously because teams try to select the best talent available and develop those players for specific roles. Like any company, they try to recruit and retain the best talent, only in this case, with rare exception (i.e. Eli Manning) the team picks the player rather than the player picking the team. Underperforming teams from the prior year pick early, when the most talent is available on “the board” and playoff contenders pick later in the first round. Then all those trades that included draft picks allow teams to have multiple picks generally in later rounds.
But does it all really matter? To a degree it does. The real art is finding a diamond in the rough in the fifth or sixth round you can sign cheap(er) and who one day is allowed to sign his name with “HOF” for Hall of Fame after his playing days. The first round picks are supposed to be the cream of the crop. Some turn out that way, some don’t. There are many variables, just as with joining any team, company or organization and the risk of injury or permanent disability that limits their playing time.
Really, it doesn’t matter much what teams pick who first IF there is a solid general manager (GM), coach and quarterback (QB) with the team already.
The value proposition for success in the NFL is very simple – good GM, coach, QB. That is it. Then you build around the vision, the “scheme” and put solid players around the QB. The rest becomes the thing of NFL Films and NFL lore.
If my calculations are accurante, since 1967 there have been a total of 10 teams to have appeared in 5 or more Super Bowls and 8 teams to have won 3 or more of those games. There are synonymous with success in their sport – Steelers, Cowboys, Patriots, Broncos, 49ers, Packers, Giants, Raiders and Redskins.
Another 12 teams have 1 or no Super Bowl appearances, more than half losing their sole trip to the game.
The point is what did the Steelers, Cowboys, Patriots, 49ers, Packers and others mentioned all have in common when they were at the top consistently – good GM, coach and QB. At least good if not great. A tight front office with the people on the field, namely the head coach and the QB. Granted there were probably some lean years before they found success to draft high enough with good scouts to find talent for their system.
Without looking though I bet there are teams who have won multiple Super Bowls with fewer Hall of Famers than teams who have never won the Super Bowl or the numbers are close.
It takes more than great individual players. It takes management, leadership and someone who can lead a team down the field and put points on the board or in your fantasy scoreboard for bragging rights for a week.
Unfortunately, the value proposition for success in healthcare is not so simple with essentially 3 people who will determine the team’s success or failure.
There are more moving pieces in a hospital, healthcare network or system than 22 men playing kill the carrier over a piece of pigskin. Yards are hard to come by but opportunities in healthcare are even more challenging even with the right management, leadership and talent.
More on this in a future post on what lessons can be learned from the NFL for healthcare.