So lately, I’ve been reading a book by New York Times best-selling author Thomas Friedman entitled, “The World is Flat.” The basic premise of the book is that the playing field is becoming more level with every passing second and that those who are currently ahead must adjust to accommodate the forces of a flattening world. Skill development – often gained through tertiary education (beyond high school) – is one way of adjusting to these forces.
Another way to stay on top and not risk sinking to the depths is to guarantee lifetime employability. Now, I want to go into the technicalities that Friedman gets into because I don’t have 500 pages to write. (Even if I did, you wouldn’t read this.) The notion of lifetime employability versus lifetime employment is the change of culture utilized by IBM under new leadership amidst decreases in customer service and stock. Basically, do your job and your job well, not being just average, and continually adding to your skill set along the way. In this respect, the NFL mirrors the change of culture that took place at IBM.
This reminds of why the NFL franchises are so great: no guaranteed contracts. NFL franchises have had to adjust their strategies since the advent of free agency and the salary cap. (Nonetheless, the cap is ever-increasing and accommodating to big spending teams like the Redskins and Cowboys.)
As a result, dynasties are made not to exist on this difficult terrain and keen cost-control measures separate winners from losers. In turn, the NFL Draft is the second most important day of the year because the successful teams always build from this within. And I’m not talking about Day 1, but Day 2 of the draft and the rookie free agent signing period after the draft ends. There are 53 players on an NFL roster and many of them may not be selected on Day 1 unless your team has a permanent trading partnership with Joe Gibbs. Essentially, this means widening funds for scouting and personnel development.
Owners are also investing in preventive health measures to be proactive in the fight against increased cases of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureas (MRSA), a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and are usually manifested as skin infections (e.g. boils, pimples). In essence, the skill set is widening and it must continue to expand if the league and its 32 franchises wish to stay atop the sports landscape in America and potentially beyond.