Suspension of Sean Payton “symptom of the cause” – Lack of Leadership

There have been three rather HUGE stories reverberate across the NFL this past week.  First, the monumental Free Agent signing of former Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning to the Denver Broncos.  Second, the subsequent trade, then no trade, then trade again of Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow to the New York Jets.  Then last, but certainly not least, the aftershock of “Bountygate” that resulted in the suspensions/fines of New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, GM Mickey Loomis, former Defensive Coordinator Greg Williams and Asst Head Coach Joe Vitt.

The Football Educator took the liberty to do the “dirty work” for you and Googled up all 3 stories as of Thursday, March 22, 2012.

  • The Manning signing has 223,000,000 stories online.
  • The Tebow trade has 79,800,000 stories online.
  • The NFL suspends Sean Payton has 547,000 stories online.

They will ALWAYS come

It’s abundantly clear what matters most to football fans.  The League can lockout its players and threaten NO FOOTBALL over the course of an entire summer and they will come.  NFL ticket prices can rise between 4-6% during one of the most desperate economic downturns in recent memory and they will come.  It can impose TV blackouts in cities that don’t sell enough of those tickets and they will still come or watch in any way, shape, form or fashion.

It’s all about the GAME and its PLAYERS.  “Just win Baby!”  Long term stability and excellence aren’t at the forefront of what is defined as a successful organization.  It’s more about “What have done for me lately?”

Placing past emphasis

So the money builds and the pressure mounts to push up the number in the lefthand column of the W-L record, and some in charge will do WHATEVER they feel necessary to maintain their status quo.   There’s an underlying feeling of US (coaches, front office & players) vs. THEM (fans, media, League Office)  that drives an “ends justify the means” approach to business.

TFE has written about the need for leadership at the coaching and front office levels of both professional and collegiate football since it started back in August of 2011.  Here are just a few;

  • College Football Recruiting Violations – Collegiate Sports’ Skeletons in the Closet Revealed
  • The culture of coaching in the wake of scandal
  • At what cost for “first place” sports?
  • NFL team searching for a head coach? – “Don’t buy the binder!”
  • Frankenstein, coaching and professional football front office management

Just the tip of the iceberg

Yet as we continued our Google search it was all too easy to dig up the following;

  • New England Patriot’s Head Coach Bill Belichick’s fine for illegally videotaping his opponents.
  • Belichick’s protégé and then Denver Broncos Head Coach Josh McDaniels doing the same thing.
  • Former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Mike Tice scalping Super Bowl tickets.
  • New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan swearing/cursing at fans as he walked off the field.
  • Head Coaches Jim Schwartz (DET) & Jim Harbaugh (SF) on the field post game altercation.
  • Former Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress public comments towards NFL officials.
  • Former Detroit Lions President Matt Millen disregarding the “Rooney Rule”.
  • New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum and former Head Coach Eric Mangini covering up then QB Brett Favre’s injured arm.
  • New York Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi blatantly tripping an opponent along the sideline.

Need we go on?  Probably not, but the sad fact is that we could.  This isn’t the first time that this particular regime in New Orleans has been investigated by the NFL for questionable conduct, though those details and any resulting actions were never made public (it appears they now have).  The unfortunate part of that particular story is a long time employee, former security director Geoffrey Santini, ended up losing his job for doing the RIGHT thing.

All of us should “do the right thing”

Look, I understand that the competition is fierce in the National Football League.  A 16 year career with the Denver Broncos can attest to that.  My own PINK SLIP came after doing what I felt was morally and ethically right in the face of the way we had run business for many years.  That ultimately cost me my job as well.

The Commissioner acted properly in his response to the situation in New Orleans.  But until the fans flip the Google Search Engines upside down, some individual ownerships will continue to turn a “blind eye” to what ails coaching and front office management in today’s NFL - A fundamental lack of LEADERSHIP.

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