Best Practices Of Leadership From Top NFL Leaders Part 1

Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback: A fully caffeinated guide to everything you need to know about the NFL

This past Father’s Day, I received as a gift Sports Illustrated Peter King’s book Monday Morning Quarterback.  Like many NFL fans, Peter is my favorite football writer and his weekly online column by the same name is my must read of each week.

It had a few too many personal chapters for my taste though they are extraordinarily written.  My two favorite chapters however focused on the subject of football.  Three-Quarterback Monte (chapter 1) details the 2004 NFL Draft and New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi’s handling of the three top QB prospects – Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger.  My second favorite is the final chapter of the book entitled MapQuest which features a series of behind-the-scenes stories from around the country.

The following are leadership quotes and principles I gleaned from that chapter.

  1. Priorities – “I decided (to resign) in October but I didn’t want to become a lame-duck commissioner.  It’s just a matter of wanting to enjoy my free time.  I asked myself, ‘Is that all there is to life – work, die and never experience retirement?’” – Former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle in his resignation speech.
  2. We Are Stewards, Not Owners – “We’re all part-timers in this game.  When we’re done, the game will spit us out, and it’ll be bigger than ever.” – Bill Parcells.  Pastors, this is a sobering quote.  Hopefully, we will not be “spit out” by our churches.  However, those same churches will go on without us either way.
  3. Creativity – “Now you know why we do it this way.  Now we won’t waste a draft pick.” – Dallas Cowboy head coach Jimmy Johnson after Asst Coach Butch Davis went the extra mile and found a Tennessee Vol Asst Coach after hours at his home to get information that led them to not draft prospect Mike Jones.  The team this staff was in the process of assembling ultimately won three Super Bowls.
  4. One Day, One Play At A Time – “There is only one way to play a game like this.  One play at a time.  Anything other than that, and you’ll think, ‘It’s impossible to come back from a deficit like this.’ So that’s all I did.” – Buffalo Bills QB Frank Reich after engineering a 41-38 win over the Houston Oilers after trailing 35-3.
  5. Options – “I don’t live for history.  I live for the moment.  If I go to another team…we’ll be the best team, and we’ll win that third Super Bowl.  If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be right here (Florida Keys).  And either way I’ll be happier than ever.” – Jimmy Johnson shortly after being released by Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.  Interesting note – Jones coached again with the Miami Dolphins but never won another Super Bowl.  Also, he is now happier than ever living in South Florida. For more thoughts on Options, go to
  6. Practice and Preparation – “I believe in coaching and teaching, kids have to find their own way.  Kids win.  Coaches don’t.  I’m not positive about this stat, but in the 10 NCAA Championship games coach by John Wooden, he called a timeout only once late in a game.  His wizardry was during the week.  Then he let his kids play.” – Drew Bledsoe’s father Mac

Priorities, Stewardship, Creativity, One Play at a Time, Options, Practice, and Preparation – these are key success links from some of the NFL’s greatest leaders.  Do a self-assessment.  Which ones are you not doing well on?

Also, If you’re not reading Peter King or watching him on Football In America on Sunday nights on NBC you should.  Tomorrow I will be posting the remaining six leadership principles.


About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

4 Responses to “Best Practices Of Leadership From Top NFL Leaders Part 1”

  1. qadvocate RT @BrianKDodd: Best Practices Of Leadership From Top NFL Leaders Part 1 :

  2. Thanks for the post re: Monday Night QB…I also have a passion for reading, sports and leadership and this book fits the mold perfectly 🙂

    • Lindsay,

      Thanks for the reply. I am finishing up Part 2 tonight and it will post tomorrow at 8 AM EST. Also, if you enjoy Peter King’s work, check out Increasing Capacity in the Categories section. I wrote an 11 part piece on an article he did on Peyton Manning.

      Thanks again,


  1. Tweets that mention Best Practices Of Leadership From Top NFL Leaders Part 1 « Brian Dodd On Leadership -- - 07/06/2010

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