Over the course of my career as Director of College Scouting and General Manager for the Denver Broncos, I’d take a couple days after the end of each NFL Draft to reflect back upon the process that led us to selecting the players that we did. I wanted to know if we had efficiently and effectively collected all the necessary data available on each and every prospect. I wanted to ensure that our scouting reports had been meticulously filed with the proper amount of information that was reflective of the final evaluation presented by the scouts. I wanted to make certain that we had done our due diligence to collect the hidden facts about a player’s character and medical history. I wanted to review the way in which the Personnel Department presented this information in the various formats applicable; written reports, video highlights, and digitized analysis. I wanted to feel comfortable with the degree of accuracy that our scouts and coaches were giving us as it pertained to their final grades.
Though I was usually excited about the new group of players added to our team, I wanted to make sure that we weren’t blindly following along with a process that we had executed the year before, and the year before that, and the year before that. I wanted to make sure that I was hearing what was being said, not only in the debate over the course of the weeks and months that led up to the draft, but also what was being articulated by the scouts on paper. I wanted to make sure that I was conveying the mission of the Personnel/Scouting Department in a manner that was putting forth the absolute best product in the Denver War Room.
It would have been easier to pack up the boxes and put away the files. Much easier to just turn my back and move on to the next one. Loyalty to my scouts, our staff, the team could’ve just swept over the mistakes that were made, the reports that were forgotten, information that was inaccurate. Having been a Bronco for 16 years should’ve given me the right to just maintain the status quo. In Denver the fans kept coming back anyway, seemingly regardless of how the job was done on their behalf. I worked in a results minded town where W’s and L’s trumped everything in between. How you went about doing your job had little to do with what the final outcome would be, at least to those not looking, listening, or speaking up about it.
Or does it?
For the better part of my career in Dove Valley there was only one way to approach the job, THE BRONCO WAY. It was a culture of commitment to doing things right and in the right manner. How you went about doing your duties and representing the team was just as important as what you were doing. I released a few members of our staff, not necessarily because they weren’t getting the job done, but more importantly because the way in which they went about it wasn’t reflective of who we were…THE BRONCO WAY.
It wasn’t until those that I reported to no longer saw this as a priority that the team began to unravel. The end began to justify the means. “Who we were” was no longer more important than “what we could do.” Players that weren’t indicative of what the team had stood for in the past were brought in because they were bigger, stronger, faster. Coaches without the credentials were hired in favor of more qualified candidates. Staff without an ounce of reputation in the industry quietly began to influence and tear down THE BRONCO WAY. And all the while the deaf, dumb, and blind demanded more W’s and less L’s.
Who you “BE” is more important than what you “DO” and it will ultimately determine the winners from the losers. As fans and followers of professional football, we should ALL take this time to conduct our own inventory and post Draft review. How does your favorite hometown team go about its business? How do the players, coaches, and staff represent you on and off the field? Are corners being cut? Does the media turn its back? Do the masses just “keep coming”?
An organization isn’t a living/breathing entity. It can’t love or hate you in return. It has no conscience, no understanding of right from wrong. It can’t do things to “piss you off” any more than it can to “make you elated”. Nope, an organization is nothing more than the sum of its collective parts, and that starts with individuals that make up the TEAM; coaches, players, front office, support staff. There is a RIGHT WAY of both being and doing.
You get to choose who you root for, and I’m finding myself pulling more and more for individuals over the overall sum of the parts. Deaf, dumb, and blind loyalty gives allegiance to those undeserving of it.