Coach Dave Daubenmire
May 16, 2013
I continue to be amazed at how easily folks are spun. It is as if there has been a death of reason, logic, and common sense. Folks don’t even know how to think anymore because they are so used to being told WHAT to think.
Let me try and clear the fog for you. I will let you draw your own conclusions. Because I have spent my entire life involved in athletics, with over 30 years as a coach, I think I bring some “gravitas” to the topic.
Sean Payton is the Head Football Coach of the New Orleans Saints. In 2009 he coached his team to the pinnacle of professional football when they captured the coveted Super Bowl KLIV trophy.
Trust me; all NFL coaches know what they are doing. To even be named a Head Coach in the NFL requires sterling leadership abilities.. Not every coach wins the Super Bowl, but every coach knows how to coach.
The legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes wrote an authoritative work on the science of coaching and he whittled coaching down to one simple phrase, “You Win With People.”
Sean Payton and every other NFL coach understands that. A successful team is a group of individuals striving together to reach a common goal. The Head Coach hires a group of men, assistant coaches, and instructs them on the overall goal of the team. A great coach coaches his coaches to coach the players.
In fact, the best coaches are often the ones who learn best how to delegate. The simplest way to win is to teach your coaches to emulate the Head Coach. Real leadership is nothing more than replicating oneself.
I knew our team would be successful if I could miss practice and no one noticed. Our assistants, trained by me, would be able to conduct practice as if I were there. If the boss has to be at every meeting, then he hasn’t done a good job of replicating himself.
Sean Payton missed the entire 2012 NFL season because he was suspended by the NFL for a scandal in which he was charged with having a “bounty list” on opposing players in which the players would be financially rewarded for “taking out” members of the opposing team.
This is against the rules. Without going into the details, Payton was suspended for permitting the “atmosphere” in which such a bounty system would be acceptable. Although several of his assistants were involved in the bounty program, it was Payton who was given the heaviest punishment because he was the Head Coach.
In other words, it was the Head Coach who ultimately was held accountable for the actions of his coaches and players.
The average football team has 45 players, and nearly two dozen “assistants” who implement the strategies that the Head Coach oversees. Each position has a coach…line coach, backfield, receivers, running backs, quarterback…and the Head Coach hires two lieutenants called “coordinators.”
The offensive co-coordinator is in charge of the offense and delegates the responsibilities of each position to the “position” coach. There is also a “defensive” coordinator who does the same thing for the defensive unit.
In addition, each team has a “special teams” coordinator who is in charge of the kicking game…punt, kickoff, field goals, returns…etc.
Sean Payton, the Head Coach oversees the game plan, but it is his assistants that carry it out.
During the game, the Head Coach makes very few decisions because the “coordinators” are calling all of the plays. However, Coach Payton wears a set of headphones and he is aware of every call that is made, and certainly maintains “veto” power over every move.
Please understand, although he doesn’t make the call, EVERY call goes through him. There are no “rogue” coaches on his staff and none would dare to do anything without his approval. That is the way a successful team operates.
There is an old adage in coaching…”take the blame, and share the credit.” That is why, after a game, you will hear the great coaches crediting the coaches and the players for their great execution of the game plan. Accountability without responsibility is a team-killer. No one likes to be blamed for failure.
But when the great coach loses, he takes the responsibility. He doesn’t blame the QB or the referees; he lays the blame in his own lap. “I didn’t have the team prepared…I got out coached…we have to do a better job of preparing our team.”
The team shares the loss, but the coach takes the blame. Ultimately, it is the Head Coach that gets fired, not the players. He is the one in charge and he is responsible for the overall performance of the team.
Pay attention to the post-game interviews and you will see this dynamic at work.
Now once they get behind closed doors it is not unusual for the fur to fly as the Head Coach dresses down his assistants and the players for their poor performance. Folks are put on notice that under-performance and mistakes will not be tolerated. Go hard or go home!!
Can you even imagine the upheaval that would occur in the media if in the press conference after the game the Head Coach told the reporters that he really didn’t know what his assistants were going to do? Would the fans accept a coach who, after a big mistake said, “Well, that wasn’t really my call. I’m not sure who called for that fake punt, but we will do an investigation to find out exactly what happened. By the way, what difference does it make who called the play.”
The organization would never get away with blaming the previous coach…or complaining that the organization had just become too large and no one could really manage it…or, better yet, blamed the performance on some films of a high school game the players had watched.
What if one of the players died because he was forced to play without the proper football equipment, even though there was sufficient equipment in the locker room for him to wear if only someone had gone in and got it for him.
That stuff just would not flush. No way would a city put up with that type of performance from their coach.
Any coach who had a faulty game plan, assistants who did their own thing without the approval of the Head Coach, or failed to wear the head phones so he could better communicate with his assistant coaches would not survive the season.
Our government has a Head Coach, a cabal of assistant coaches, and a group of players who are supposed to follow orders.
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton permitted a bounty to be put upon the other team’s players and it cost him his job. America’s Head Coach permitted a bounty to be put upon his own players and then blamed the assistant coaches when four of his players came up dead.
His actions are incompetent, negligent, or treasonous and blaming his assistant coaches will not change the result.
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is a unique concept... You may share it with others, but your portion
is not diminished. You may delegate it, but it is still with you...
If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance or passing
the blame can shift the burden to someone else. Unless you can point
your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong,
then you have never had anyone really responsible.” —Admiral
“You win with People.” Unfortunately the converse is true as well…”You lose with People.”
Elton John sang. ”Don’t shoot me I am only the piano player.” Perhaps we should substitute “organ grinder” for piano player. “What? Me worry?”
Why do we accept behavior from America’s Coach that we would never accept from a football coach?
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