The Emotional (analyzing the NFL beyond tactics/strategy)

I've done a poor job communicating why I like to emphasize the emotional aspect of teams and players when it comes to performance. I've had some good back and forth with several people, but I have been searching for something to clarify my position. I finally found it and I'll reference the information below.

I feel strongly about communicating the significance of the emotional aspect because whenever there is lots of analysis on tactics, strategy, and skill sets we begin to lose respect for the emotional side. While tactics, strategy, and skill are significant, they are less significant in outcomes than the emotional condition of a team or player. We tend to analyze tactics, strategy, and skill sets more because they are things we can observe and critique the observers of the NFL. However, as Seth Godin will point out below, these things are not the most important aspects of SUCCESS. I am grafting Godin's notion of "attitude & approach" as the foundation to what I have tried to argue is the "emotional" aspect of coaches, teams, and players.

The difference in a team's emotional state, both game to game and for the season, are things that separate playoff teams from mediocre teams, great teams from playoff teams, etc. The COACH and all most completely the Head Coach has the responsibility for this aspect of every team. Consequently, the Head Coach's emotional state is a significant factor on his team's performance......His attitude and his approach become the team's attitude and the team's approach. Singletary is hammering this home with is Norv Turner with SD (see my post HERE about SD's future). Sometimes players with significant personalities can take this on (Ray Lewis, P. Manning, and yes, J.Cutler). From game to game, because of the emotional side, any team can beat anyone on any given Sunday. The inverse is also true that teams that should lose in a given week (ie. Pittsburgh, NE, SD (I give Rivers credit for these victories)) find ways to win because of the attitude and approach of their players and their starts all most always with the coach though. 

I believe that McDaniel's approach and his attitude are what will determine our success this year. I think those aspects of his leadership are already coming through after just one game......physicality, resiliency, preparedness, fighting for respect.....certainly there are players that are demonstrating these traits as well. Hopefully, we will start to see more and more players exhibiting these traits and belief. For this reason, a new coach turns over a roster. The indians have to be willing to follow the chief to make success a possibility. We have far more pieces in place and a coach (of only 33) far more prepared than many people realize.

HERE is the link to Godin's blog and the stuff below is only just below the entry at the top of the page. I highly recommend reading Godin's blog.....this guy has phenomenal insight about the world today, ideas, leadership, people, etc. A well published author as well. Lombardi mentions him often.....I highly recommend reading Lombardi's notes, especially, Sunday at the Post HERE as well. Mucho props to nycbroncos for his work each morning because if it was not for HIM and MHR, I would never have found these great information resources.


The hierarchy of success

I think it looks like this:

  1. Attitude
  2. Approach
  3. Goals
  4. Strategy
  5. Tactics
  6. Execution

We spend all our time on execution. Use this word instead of that one. This web host. That color. This material or that frequency of mailing.

Big news: No one ever succeeded because of execution tactics learned from a Dummies book.

Tactics tell you what to execute. They're important, but dwarfed by strategy. Strategy determines which tactics might work.

But what's the point of a strategy if your goals aren't clear, or contradict?

Which leads the first two, the two we almost never hear about.

Approach determines how you look at the project (or your career). Do you read a lot of books? Ask a lot of questions? Use science and testing or go with your hunches? Are you imperious? A lifehacker? When was the last time you admitted an error and made a dramatic course correction? Most everyone has a style, and if you pick the wrong one, then all the strategy, tactics and execution in the world won't work nearly as well.

As far as I'm concerned, the most important of all, the top of the hierarchy is attitude. Why are you doing this at all? What's your bias in dealing with people and problems?

Some more questions:

  • How do you deal with failure?
  • When will you quit?
  • How do you treat competitors?
  • What personality are you looking for in the people you hire?
  • What's it like to work for you? Why? Is that a deliberate choice?
  • What sort of decisions do you make when no one is looking?

Sure, you can start at the bottom by focusing on execution and credentials. Reading a typical blog (or going to a typical school for 16 years), it seems like that's what you're supposed to do. What a waste.

Isn't it odd that these six questions are so important and yet we almost never talk or write about them?

If the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.



There are many ways to look at this and probably many good arguments against my application of this "hierarchy" to the game of football and coaching. I welcome your comments and, as always, I love to hear from different opinions. It is in discussion and disagreement that I learn both about my ideas and my ability to communicate them.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Mile High Report

You must be a member of Mile High Report to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mile High Report. You should read them.

Join Mile High Report

You must be a member of Mile High Report to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mile High Report. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.