Saturday, November 9, 2013

How to Build a Unified Team (From the View of the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers)

(updated on 11.09.13 @ 5:55 pm)

We presumed that you have heard about the rookie hazing incident in the Miami Dolphins locker room.  However, It is not an isolated incident especially in the camps of the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland Raiders.  While some players referred to it as a bonding process, one NY Giants player indirectly described it as a part of the maturing process to becoming a professional football player. 

There are always a few minor pranks and rituals, but the players in professional football teams like the Philadelphia Eagles,  the New England Patriots and the San Francisco Forty Niners do not pursue the avenue of the extreme. 

In the NFL, the playoff contending teams are always focused on winning not waste their time on unproductive practices.

The Bill Walsh's Solution
Bill Walsh. the late architect of the West Coast Offense system, has always believed that it is important to focus the rookies on learning and mastering the specifics of "the pro game".

" ... The late Bill Walsh banished rookie hazing when he first started coaching the team in 1979. He wanted rookies contributing right away and didn’t want them bogged down with thinking about anything more than football.
It was just one of many innovations emanating from Walsh. Over the last 25 years, I never heard of any rookie hazing, which, of course, doesn’t mean there wasn’t any. But from afar, it just never seemed to be a part of the culture. There have been pranksters like former guard Kevin Gogan, who used to disrupt the offensive line meetings constantly.
Gogan’s aimed many of his pranks at Tim Hanshaw, who got his share of ribbing and an old-fashioned spit wad to the back of the head from Gogan, who once graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the NFL’s dirtiest player. But Gogan was not a racist, and when his former offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick was dying of cancer, Gogan made amends to him.
Ask around the 49ers’ locker room and the only requirement for rookies seems to be to provide cans of chew and to bring Jamba juice on Friday’s.
Tackle Joe Staley said rookies used to pay for some dinners, but the tab was never ridiculous. Over the years, rookies would lug the pads and helmets of veterans.
“We don’t even do that any more,” Staley said. “Players should never embarrass people for their own bravado.”
At least from the outside looking in, the spirit of Bill Walsh on hazing seems to live on within the 49ers’ locker room.  ... "  - 
The Sun Bin's View on 
Organizational Unification
"An army that is able to overcome great adversity  is able to unite the people's minds. - paraphrased from  Sun Bin's Military Methods, 22 

Whenever a team or an organization is able to overcome obstacles, the principals begin to understand that there is a grander cause that is greater then themselves.

Final Thoughts
Regardless of some people's view, we believed that that practice of hazing is not good for any organization. History has shown that a consistency of team victories is the most effective approach to unify a team,

We will talk more about the other approaches to unifying a team in a future post.

Side notes

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