With the 2011 season just 30 days away, tracking Sam Bradford’s performance as well as all of the quarterbacks in the NFL will be exciting. With all the stats within the game of football, there is one that is talked about, but never explained in great detail. With the quarterback position comes a different measureable statistical analysis. The obvious are completions/attempts followed by completion percentage. Attached with completions are yards, touchdowns, interceptions, and average pass length just to name a few.
The passer rating is the name or category for the analysis methodology used in evaluating the performance of the quarterback position in a logical format. This format is used for the NFL while the collegiate level of competition uses another. The CFL (Canadian Football League) has taken on the format used by the NFL.racing with excitement for what is ahead.
People from every walk of life come together wanting to see the big plays on special teams returns, the long passes for touchdowns, defenses flying around and their favorite players, not to mention the tailgate parties that take place in the parking lots at every NFL stadium prior to the games.
The preseason motivation varies from club to club and sometimes within an organization. Most, if not all NFL owners, are motivated by winning, not just money. Their motivation for owning a NFL franchise, bottom line, is that it is a business first. Many see it as a sports business, while others think it as pure entertainment.
All organizations are given a directive from ownership. The message is loud and clear and comes in different waves of organizational thunder or communication depending on the ownership group. I’m sure Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys manages his organization much differently than Al Davis’ Oakland Raiders, Jerry Richardson’s Carolina Panthers and Art Rooney’s Pittsburgh Steelers just to name a few.
I know for a fact that the organizational messages, goals and objectives are spelled out loud and clear. The first level of management consists of the head coach, president or COO (chief operating officer) and general manager. These men or women set the tone and carry out the directive of ownership. Keep in mind if you have to motivate professionals to do their job, they have hired the wrong people.
The structure is mandated from the NFL league office. Each team follows the same rules, roster limitations, number of practice sessions before preseason games begin, number of hours each day and even within a practice session. Teams will cut from the 90-man roster to 75 after the third preseason game, and then to the league mandatory team limit of 53 prior to the first regular-season game.
The preparation during this period will vary from team to team. In theory, all 32 teams want to win the Super Bowl each and every year and hoist the Lombardi Trophy high for all to see. But there can only be one winner. How a team prepares in the offseason is the root of a championship season. It starts with self-scouting (analyzing last season’s film, breaking down your own tendencies), scouting the upcoming opponent’s previous games to understand their situational philosophies (offense first down, second down, third down, etc.) looking to crack their code. And then comes the offseason workouts that are critical to player growth and development both physically and mentally.
When it comes to the preseason, each and every team has a different philosophy and agenda as they approach the four-game series that means absolutely nothing when it comes to the final standings, but yet several teams take it seriously (as they should). This four-week time period is called the “30-Day Stretch” to the season.
From a NFL personnel department’s point of view, they use this time frame as a means to evaluate their roster and the 31 others as well. Acquiring and stacking the best team with the deepest depth of football players that are athletic, tough, competitive, intelligent with ascending skill set, and a passion for the game is the key to success in building a championship foundation.
Coaches will and do take this time to establish a deep-rooted winning attitude and philosophy. From the first team meeting in camp to the final team meeting of the season, but more importantly all coaches want to keep their top-tier players healthy and injury free while still pushing them through their comfort zone and preparing the team for combat while developing that feverish pitch.
While other coaches want their team to remain healthy, their goal in the preseason is to win every game as if it is a regular-season contest. Establishing the taste of winning during the preseason in these coaches’ minds is the key to having a successful season. That train of thought has proven not to work. There are teams that go 4-0 that don’t make the playoffs and others that go 0-4 or even 2-2 that go on and win the Super Bowl. The speed of the game is different in the preseason than it is in the regular season, and if teams are good enough and there is some luck involved as well the playoffs are even more intense and played at a much faster pace.
When you factor in all of the above variables and conflicting agendas, it is amazing that several organizations are always in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy. It seems to be the same organizations that have heavy directives from ownership and first-level management that carry out those objectives in order to achieve the ultimate goal of winning.