The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Win, and He's In

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The disciplinarians of the NFL can still have success -- if this weren't the case, Tom Coughlin wouldn't be sporting a Super Bowl ring -- but a few things need to be laid out very clearly at the start. First, that coach must have absolute, unassailable credibility. When Bill Parcells "invades" a new organization, the players there know that the required mindset is with a goal in mind -- to win, and win quickly. Those who do not buy in will be gone. Singletary would seem to have an advantage here because nobody can question his credibility. Not as a Hall of Fame player, nor as a supreme motivator.

The most important factor for any coach looking to change the culture of a franchise is a certain level of personnel control. If you're constantly butting heads with your diva receiver, and the front office won't back you up when you want to enforce whatever needs enforcing, you might as well forget it. This is the unfinished part of the equation; we don't know how much control Singletary might have over the ability of players to play at any given time, though the fact that he kicked his starting tight end off the field is a pretty good clue that he will not bend.

In the end, there's only one way to get your team to buy in long-term to what Singletary is trying to accomplish. You have to win. That's why Parcells has always had players lining up to play for him despite the fact that they know what they're in for. That's why Vince Lombardi is seen as a great genius, and not as a one-dimensional martinet. Some players are beyond hope when it comes to the team concept, but many of the most mercurial among them will dial it down and play along if they know that winning is not only the end goal, but an obvious byproduct, of a coach's philosophy.

I think that Singletary is in a very good position to make this work. He can back up everything he says with the way he's lived his life, and his elevation to his current position seems to be a statement from the front office that a more forceful game plan is needed. Still, everyone involved understands -- without wins, these words and actions don't mean very much.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 28, 2008; 9:39 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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