How to build a championship team

Every NFL team wants to win the Super Bowl. Every NFL team wants to make the Playoffs every year. It means more team revenue in equipment bought by fans (i.e., shirts, hats and jerseys), and keeping fans and media happy.

But, how do you build a team into that type of organization that year after year will win 10 games or more and be more competitive? If you want to build a Super Bowl contender, I know a way and have a plan and will share my ideas and plan of how to be successful.

STEP ONE: Get control of your Management Team; select all the right people from top to bottom and build a good team. To accomplish this you will need:

1. A top of the line General Manager who is experienced in many NFL areas:

• One who knows how the NFL Cap System works in detail.

• One who can evaluate player talent and selects a team of assistants who are successful in this area. This includes knowing how good your current players will be productive before each player needs to be replaced barring injuries. What players do we need to get through the draft and free agency? With Coaches' input, determine where to find these players and not over-spend?

• One who is successful in working closely with player agents and has a respectful relationship with them in order to get players signed in all areas including draft choices, current players and free agents.

• One who will complete the player deals in a timely manner keeping within the team's new Money Cap Plan at all times. When player contracts are completed you will then have the players you need each year that will produce a winning product on the field. Your team must be able to re-sign your current players before their current contracts expire and must have a Management Team that will be able to accomplish this successfully.

A quality GM and a professional Cap person that work closely together is essential to having a winning football team. It is important that at the end of each year, 20% of your cap money is still available to re-sign your players and also sign quality free agents and have money left under the cap to pay all rookies drafted without having to cut players from your current roster.

2. A fantastic Cap expert who knows every phase of the current Cap System including how in future years each bonus money package will affect all player salaries and assure quality players in all positions with money still available in the Cap Fund to add additional players to your roster. His ability to correctly calculate each year's payroll and allow Cap room for future player additions is essential in producing a winning team on the field.

3. A great coaching staff lead by a Head Coach that makes the right decisions on and off the field with all players and who deals well with the Press in a polite and friendly manner.

If you have not been in the Playoffs for three years, you need to start over from the top and decide where the problems exist that is creating losing seasons on the field. If you have been in the Playoffs two out of the last three years and have haven't been in the Super Bowl lately (last five years), you need to evaluate where your team is, where you want to be in the next three years, and make changes in your management team if necessary. If you are not winning and competing, you must make changes in your management team immediately.

You will also need:

• A scouting organization that is great at evaluating all college players in all rounds and can select players who will start in the NFL for your team in three years or less, not just be special team players.

• A Front Office Staff consisting of a quality Public Relations Department with quality Staff Assistants in all areas of your football operations including working in the GM, Scouting and Cap departments. All elements must work together to produce a quality organization.

Now that all that is in place, your Management Team needs to design a pay scale that will produce a payroll that will keep player personnel in place with quality talent that are not overpaid and fit into the cap allowances you have set each year. These payroll amounts must be based on a percentage system for each player group and unit that equally flows and stays within your guidelines to produce quality players and back-ups that perform on the field each year. This pay scale must be tough and correct, and management must stick with it.

The first step after selecting your Management Team is to place all player positions into a scale that you stick with forever and never exceed pay percentages that you've set. At first you will have previous players that are overpaid and do not fit into your new set of rules. But, as soon as it is possible, and without taking a large cap hit, trade or release the overpaid, previously selected veteran NFL players on your team, replacing them with younger players or veterans who you will pay less for and may be less talented at first, until you have the correct players in every pay scale category in place. This, of course, then becomes an ever-changing rotation of proven players at the right price in all future years.

Now set all of your players and units into a percentage that is within your guidelines for all future player signings, including drafted college players, free agents and current veteran players.

Take each unit, which will be broken down into three groups: offensive players, defensive players, and special teams. Assign a percentage of Cap money from your new scale, whatever the yearly limit is you set, by percentages, not dollar amounts (percentages will establish a dollar amount for each group). Remember, the Cap money amounts allowed for each team will change from year to year because of the labor agreement, but your percentage should not.

Here is an example of how a team may want to set up their new pay scale plan:

A. Special Teams Unit – 25% of your total Cap money (this includes bonuses paid to each player rotated over length of contract and current year's salary):

• Kickers – 8% of Cap scale

• Speed Players – 12% of Cap scale

• Rest of Special Teams – 5% of Cap scale

B. Offensive Players (all positions) – 35%

• Quarterbacks – 12% of Cap

• Pass Receivers (includes all TE's and all other Receivers) – 9% of Cap

• Offensive Line – 7% of Cap

• Running Backs – 7% of Cap

C. Defensive Unit – 40% of Cap

• Speed Rushers/Sack Specialists – 18% of Cap

• Other Defensive Internal Linemen – 8% of Cap

• Linebackers – 7% of Cap

• Cover Corners – 5% of Cap

• Safeties – 2% of Cap

Here is the general example of how the numbers might work:

If the Cap total money for the year is $110 million, then first take 15-20% off of your yearly cap money and do not spend this amount for any reason. This is needed so that you have a balance to carry over the following year. In this example, that would be 22 million dollars left in your year-end budget.

The rest of the $110 million now can be spent on all players. Since we have allowed 5% for defensive backs in our scale, these cover corners will be allowed salaries and cap hit money in that year to be a total of $4,450,000.00. I don't think at this time I should go into how the cap money is figured along with salary, but I just wanted to show a dollar amount that would be allotted.

The main point here is if you set a percentage of value that your team places on each unit and each position and stick with it, then you will have equal value in your players' worth to your team. The key here is for management to establish the net worth for each position and to their overall team and never exceed that percentage.

For example, if a franchise quarterback is really important and you have one or can draft one, then you may want to set a higher percentage of your overall value to that position. But, if your Quarterback is only an average NFL player, percentage spent or allowance will be less and you can up another position's allowance.

If for any reason you do not have a franchise quarterback, your can adjust your percentages later if one becomes available in the draft or free agency. You can then re-adjust your pay scale percentages to different player positions, but always stay within the numbers you set and allow a 15-20% balance of cap money funds at the end of each year.

The reason most teams in the NFL are not in the Super Bowl or Playoffs is not for the reasons stated above. They make bad decisions in coaches hired, players signed as free agents, and players drafted. A bad management team is the reason for failure in the NFL! All management personnel must be good, quality and experienced in the NFL and work as a team to produce a winning team year in and year out.

This plan is very simple, and it is very similar to what most successful NFL teams are now doing.


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