Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The culture of winning

I'm by no means an expert in the psychology of sport.  But I've done some research into the topic, and heard a few speakers on the topic.

The patterns are that you don't want to lose too often, and you want to make sure that some of your decisions are sound and building on a promise.

At times - in life and in sport - one bad decision begets another, until there's a pattern and a spiral of sorts.

With the Dolphins, you can go back to the decision to "go for broke" late in Shula's career.  The net result was a not-so-great team.  That was followed by hiring JJ, and forcing out the Don.  And that was followed by JJ's passion not being there, but him staying around for one more year - if he could hire Dave as his successor.  Dave was a heck of a nice guy, but couldn't lead the team and quit on them. 

Players loved Bates, but he was let go, and Nicky was brought in - his heart wasn't in it either.  He was all about ego and money, and he had to be convinced to come here.  Then, he leaves the team and there are no serious repercussions.  The next coach (Cam) is part of an exhaustive search.  But the guy brings in some odd things - a little negative energy when he tells players its okay to fail among them.

He gets fired, and next up is the Parcells regime.  Clearly that was a dumb decision from day one, and his people didn't do much to correct the culture either.  And then Parcells left, and there were no repercussions, either.  And there was a bundling of looking for another coach, followed by there being no motivation, and finally the firing of Tony. 

And in a week or two, there will be changes.  Will they be big?  Will they be small?  Who knows?

What I can tell you is that its time for Mr. Ross to stop being Cap'n Izzy Firepants.  He needs to step up and change the culture.  I'll tell you what - if I were the owner I'd try and exorcise the demons of the past.  Go ahead and clean house, and bring together football and business.  Let the fans and media know they're welcome.  Let them video, live blog, tweet, whatever they want.  Let them feel like its not a closed door.  Get rid of all the team-sponsored broadcasts that are unlistenable and unwatchable.  Let the media and fans do it instead - talk about "fair and balanced"

Then, hire someone to coach this team and purge the players who have a connection to the not-too-distant past.  But invite them to be a part of the alumni group. 

Change the logo, maybe update the team colors.  Work a deal with the expiring Sun-Life to embrace the past - maybe call it Miami Dolphins Sun-Life Stadium. 

Its time, in a word, to try and embrace the culture of winning, rather than a culture of "meh"
Like This Article ? :