Monday, January 4, 2010

The triumvirate of leadership and the case for Tim Tebow

I am not a particularly strong fan of Colin Cowherd. I find him to be a high-nasal, adenoidal, narcisict who sticks his tongue up Belichik's ass far too often. With that said, the man said something truly insightful the other day which we should all take to heart.

The NFL is a sports league in which all teams should go 8-8. More than 40 years ago, Commissioner Pete Rozelle installed his parity principles which can be summarized as follows:
  1. All profits shall be shared on an equal basis
  2. There shall be a salary cap and a salary floor so that no team can massively outspend another.
  3. The worst teams shall draft first, the best shall draft last.
  4. The worst teams claim first on wavier wires, the best claim last.
  5. An attempt shall be made to soften the schedules of weaker teams, and toughen the schedules of stronger teams.

These are the Parity Principles that govern the league. The logical outcome of these rules is that all teams should go 8-8. However, the truth is just a little bit different. The Colts are the best team in the league at 14-2, and I think we all know they could have been 16-0 this season. The Rams were the worst team in 2009, going 1-15. I think we were lucky to beat Detroit. This is not parity, is it? It sure doesn't look like it from the bottom. Probably doesn't look like parity at the summit either.

Worse, we know that there are a collection of Football teams that always seem to win. We also know that there is a collection of teams that always seem to lose. No need to name who they are, or start controversies about it. Why is this the case? Colin says that leadership in three posts makes all the difference in the world:
  1. The General Manager
  2. The Head Coach
  3. The Quarterback
Those are your three most critical management positions. This is the triumvirate of leadership that makes all the difference in the world. If you are not stocked with championship leader-men at these three positions, you can forget about winning the Super Bowl. The 49ers turned around decades of loosing when they combined Eddie DeBartolo Jr, Bill Walsh, and Joe Montana. The Colts turned around decades of loosing when they combined Bill Polian, Jim Mora Sr, and Peyton Manning. The Cardinals turned around decades of loosing when they combined Ron Minegar, Ken Whisenhunt and Kurt Warner. If you look around the league, every class-act is solid in these three positions.

So how about the Rams? Both William Joseph Peter Francis "Billy" Devaney, and Steven Julio Spagnuolo are relatively new. Devany took charge of the ship in 2008. We had a disaster, finishing second worst in the league. Spagnuolo joined last year. The disaster got worse. We are the worst team in the league. However, there are mitigating circumstances. I know the disaster we are wallowing in is primarily the consequence of a terrible head-coaching move we made in hiring Scott Linehan. The triumvirate of leadership broke horribly at this link, and we are still trying to put it back together. There is also another problem with our leadership chain: We have no quarterback. Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller just didn't get it done at all. They fail particularly in the area of leadership and confidence.

I am not ready to issue a judgment on Devany. I am still hoping he can be great GM. I believe Spagnuolo is a great leader. I fault him only for selecting Pat Shurmer as our offensive coordinator. That is his only bad move so far.

Although you may be surprised to hear this, I give Coach Spags a B+ for this season. He did amazing things with our defense and special teams. I believe he is a great leader of men. Beyond the way the Rams defense responded to him, look at how poorly the Giants did without him. The Giants are missing him something fierce. Also witness the number of Giant players who have said they would love to play for coach Spags again.

Our offense sunk the ship. The Rams 2009 offense ranks among the worst that have ever been seen in professional football. That is truly pathetic for a team that once boasted the Greatest Show on Turf. OC Pat Shurmer may implicate our lack of talent, especially at WR, and we would be hard-pressed to make a case against this fact. We did suffer from a pure lack of talent on offense. We do need lots and lots of new talent. They need to be a hell of a lot better than what we have now. As I have said before, there should be only 4 survivors from our 2009 offense still starting in 2010. They should be:
  1. Steven Jackson
  2. Donnie Avery
  3. Jason Brown
  4. Jason Smith
The most critical replacement must be at the QB position, and here we must focus on great leadership. You cannot draft a QB as you would any other position. The emphasis on tangibles and mechanics is way overblown. You should interview your QB prospect as you would a candidate for an upper-middle management post. The quarterback is the manager/leader on the field. You must evaluate him as such. This is where Tim Tebow comes into view. In 2010 draft, there is no QB like Tim Tebow when it comes to drive, leadership, and the will to win. As I have said before, I have never seen more fight, I have never seen less quit, I have never seen more drive, I have never seen better leadership in a college kid. I love both Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. I do not believe they match Tim Tebow on these critical character points.

I am more confident now than ever that if we draft Tim Tebow, he will change the whole franchise forever. He may get off to a rough start, just as Peyton Manning did, but he will be one of the great ones. With him in place, our triumvirate of leadership will be in place: Devany, Spagnuolo, Tebow.