I get the pleasure of editing the group talent management blog "Fistful of Talent". Check it out if you haven't already, and be sure to check later this week when Josh Letourneau waxes poetic about the cultural train-wreck that is the Dallas Cowboys. Good stuff.
Josh's thoughts about the Cowboys got me thinking about some of the cancers who have rolled through the NFL recently, and how removing those cancers has immensely benefited the teams with the guts to do it.
Let's take a look at a few of the teams, what talent obstacles they overcame when challenged by those who didn't give a flip about the team, but only cared about themselves, and how it came out:
Tennessee Titans - Sure, they got bounced out of the playoffs by the Baltimore Ravens, but let's look at the program. Jeff Fisher is the most stable coach in an unstable league for coaches, and the Titans just said no to the walking rap sheet that is Pacman Jones. Additionally, when young phenom Vince Young started wigging out earlier this year, they sent him home, then kept him on the bench and handed the keys to veteran journeyman Kerry Collins. Result - 13-3 record. Good guys win.
Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles had the misfortune of picking up Terrell Owens when it was still thought that his skill at dismantling quarterbacks and dividing locker rooms was the exception rather than the rule. Smart guy, but a big mouth with divisive DNA. Locker room poison. The Eagles said no, and didn't blink when he ended up in Dallas, a divisional rival. They wanted him gone that bad. Result - things have calmed down, and the Eagles beat the Giants in the Meadowlands on Sunday and are on the verge of becoming one of those "win 3 road games and go to the Superbowl" teams. TO - they'll send you a postcard. Oh yeah - the Eagles drilled the Cowboys by 40 points in the season finale to make the playoffs and knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs. Result - Good guys win.
New York Giants - They wanted to run their head coach, Tom Coughlin, out a few years ago when he made players do things like wear helmets on the sidelines at practice and be on time (the nerve!). The Giants' ownership didn't take the bait, and they ended up winning the Super Bowl in January of 2008 with Coughlin at the helm. This year, the Giants suspended knucklehead Plaxico Burress for not showing up for practice, then suspended him without hesitation again when he shot himself in a nightclub. The Giants still secured home field advantage for the playoffs, although it didn't help much when Phili came in and took their lunch money. Result- Super Bowl ring for keeping Coughlin, stability for sitting Burress down. Good guys win.
Dallas Cowboys - See Josh Letourneau's post later this week. Nothing else to say. The Cowboys broke out the checkbook and signed Owens and Pacman Jones and thought that individual talent, regardless of the warts and issues, would equate into a championship. It rarely does. Result - A team with a heavy payroll, multiple tumors in the locker room and a bunch of sour faces when they don't get the ball enough on Sunday. Also - a team without enough wins to make the playoffs.
Let's hear it for the organizations, both in sports and in the business world, who refuse to let the talented knuckleheads run the show.