The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

Nelly Knows Best


The Answer Lies in Country Grammar

When I am faced with life's most difficult questions, like "why do some of the biggest spenders in the NFL do so poorly in the playoffs," I turn to respected thought leaders who really put things in perspective. Yes, I'm thinking of rap artist Nelly.

"Must be the Money."

Money is part of the equation in the road to the Lombardi Trophy. But so are several other key factors.

"18 wit an attitude or 19 kinda snotty actin' real rude..."

Players matter and a championship team has a solid foundation of experienced veterans, talented rookies, selfless role players and a solid long term option at quarterback. The teams you see most-often in the playoffs are built around an offense that wins games and a defense that wins championships. Over the last six years, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and New England haven't had to worry much about their quarterback positions so, come draft day and contract negotiations, they can concentrate on locking in other starters. All three teams have made wise choices on draft day and sound trades throughout the year. Some teams like the Cleveland Brown's are notorious for not getting value out of their #1 draft picks.

"The sky's is the limit and them haters can't get past that. Oh why do I live this way?"

Sadly, many owners think a championship is one big signing away so they spend big on a coach, GM or a marquee player, or gamble on a head case that they think they can turn around. By the time the player or coach is fired or gets a better offer, they've lost millions. Many Redskins fans groan when they think back to Deion Sanders' Burgundy and Gold suit that he wore for the cameras as he signed Dan Snyder's contract before the 2000 season. That suit can be found on ebay now under the "worn once" category.

"Most said that I was a failure. Come on boo, gimme a kiss"
"Wade Phillips??" Give me a break.

Owners partner with the wrong coaches all the time and change horses on little more than a whim. Many could take a page out of the Rooney book. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three coaches in nearly 40 years and the city has six Super Bowl titles to show for it. Sometimes owners get impatient. After the Oakland Raiders won their second straight AFC West title, Al Davis let head coach John Gruden go the Tampa Bay Bucs (after Tony Dungy was fired) for boatload of money and future draft pics. The next year Gruden, the University of Dayton's favorite son right after Chuck Knoll, took the Bucs team that Dungy built and defeated Raiders in the Super Bowl. Dungy went on to success with Indianapolis.

"Oh why must I feel this way?"

Ultimately, money is a key factor in playoffs success but like many business, success is a combination of things: managing your salary cap, making smart acquisitions, and securing a solid man at the top (a head coach) and a long-term option at your most important position (quarterback).

I wouldn't expect relief anytime soon for long suffering fans who have to watch other teams enjoy success in January and February. NFL glory starts with the owners, most of whom have the same "immediate gratification" gene that the folks in the stands possess. Until owners adopt the example of the Patriots, Colts and Steelers, don't expect things to change.

By Jason Maloni  |  July 3, 2009; 11:29 AM ET  | Category:  Cleveland Browns , Dallas Cowboys , Tony Dungy , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Win, Earn or Both? | Next: Wasted Money Is Funny, But Not When It's Ours

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