New York Yankees
What is it that the 1991-1998 Chicago Bulls, 1993-1996 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-current Golden State Warriors, 2011-current Arizona Rattlers and the New York Yankees have in common besides championships? They created a culture that breeds championships by rewarding not only performance on the playing surface, but also made it rewarding to be a part of that franchise as a whole.
“We have to have a commonality and purpose. We have to understand that each of us is dependent on the success of the others in the organization to reach the goals we’re trying to accomplish. It’s never an easy thing.” -Rick Welts, President and COO of the Golden State Warriors speaking about the importance of off court culture.
See the Warriors built a culture of accountability, oftentimes we see in pop culture and maybe on our own sports teams how just one players ego can completely destroy any hopes of a championship. Yes, in sports we reward the most valuable players, but if you really think about what TRULY makes those players valuable, a lot of times you realize that they are not selfish and they focus on building up their teammates to their level of play. Notice the difference between the 2015 and 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, they tanked in the 2015 finals following the famous “i’m the best player in the world” speech from Lebron. Then the following year, they began to realize everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, in turn causing them to perform the greatest comeback in NBA finals history.
Sports are not numbers games, one can not predict the champion based off of numbers and averages. Why? That is because sports are played by humans, not robots. Numbers show the past results, but not the future. Humans are able to adapt and change based on their given situations. One example of this, is a team that was run completely based off of numbers, did not win a championship. People may have seen the movie called, Moneyball. The film is about the 2002 Oakland A’s, a team that needed a way to start filling seats and rebuild after losing a few of their star players. So they turn to analytics which wins them the division. However, the team that actually ended up winning the world series that year? The Anaheim Angels. A team that did not rely 100 percent off of pure numbers and who truly understood that there was a human element to the game.
So, what sort of things are needed to actually create championship culture?
Jeff Janssen, owner of the Janssen Sports Leadership Foundation and someone who also has a Masters in sport psychology, studied all of the historic championship franchises in all sports found six components.
- Credible Leaders
- This does not only apply to coaches, it applies to everyone who holds a leadership role in an organization. From managers to the CEO, there needs to be someone who can move on and take credit when there is a mistake. It is terrible to have a leader that tries to push on failures to everyone but themselves. Bad leaders, create losing seasons.
- Clear and Compelling Vision
- Yes, every teams ultimate goal is to win a championship. This component is more about buying into a vision, for a case study, please look into the 2016 Chicago Cubs.
- Core Values
- There is an old song that talks about, “If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Even in sports this rings true, in order to create culture, there must be non negotiable values.
- Standards of Behavior
- Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski stated, “A major part of becoming a team is the establishment and collective acceptance of your standards, based on your team’s makeup and centered on your unique goal. Once a group of individuals formulates and agrees to their standards, they become united, single-minded in purpose.”
- Aligned Systems
- Jeff Janssen writes, “Championship Cultures create several specific systems for selection, enculturation, execution, evaluation, recognition, correction, and succession. All of these various systems are developed, tweaked, and perfected over time to promote and support the Vision, Values, and Standards of your program on a daily basis. By developing and aligning your systems, you build a sustainable, self-perpetuating, virtuous cycle that ensures you get, develop, and keep the right kind of people and practices within your culture.”
- Committed and Unified Team Members
- This one should be self-explanatory, if someone does not buy into the vision? They will not perform to their full potential.
These six traits can be seen through any championship organization. Is it important to have good players? Yes, but numbers do not tell the whole story, and sometimes players who are terrible in the club house, can kill championship hopes without even playing one down.
No, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke.
On Wednesday, the San Diego Chargers made a signing that went largely unnoticed in the Chargers community, not to mention on a national level. The Bolts signed 6-foot-3, 225-pound quarterback Bryn Renner to their roster. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
I can almost hear the ‘Who is Bryn Renner?’ chorus from here…
Bryn Renner was a two-sport standout upon entering college at the University of North Carolina. Renner worked out for the New York Yankees during his freshman year before turning his focus solely to football. He became the starting quarterback for UNC in his sophomore season in 2011. In his three years as a starting quarterback, he became the third-leading passer in UNC history.
In 34 games at UNC, Renner went 668-1005 for 8,221 yards with 65 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. He completed his career with a 66% completion percentage and quarterback rating of 151.
A shoulder injury against N.C. State derailed his senior season after seven games. Subsequently, Renner went undrafted and signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent. Renner was cut by Denver at the end of the preseason.
He would rebound by signing with the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League in October 2014. Renner would win an ArenaBowl championship ring with the Rattlers that season, blowing out the Cleveland Gladiators, 72-32.
In January 2015, Renner was signed by the Baltimore Ravens, only to be released at the beginning of the regular season. Two days before Christmas, he was signed to the practice squad of the Tennessee Titans.
Now, Renner reunites with former Rattlers teammate and current Chargers guard Michael Huey in America’s Finest City. Hopefully his stay will be a long and fruitful one.
The Greg One
The good news is, to paraphrase the New York Yankees play-by-play announcer…
The Chargers WIN! The-e-e-e-e-e Char-Gers WINNNNN!!
The bad news is they’re still living single in the basement of the AFC West. With the Denver Broncos still winning games despite starting unproven quarterback Brock Osweiler in the place of the injured Peyton Manning. The AFC West and the playoffs are out of reach for the San Diego Chargers. The team is playing for pride and for their jobs at this point. If the road win against Jacksonville is any indication, they will continue to play hard with hopefully different results. The Chargers were one week shy of not winning a game in two months. That’s enough to damage the strongest psyche.
The question is, how is your fanhood these days, Boltfam?
Possibly the one thing worse than a team going on a prolonged losing streak is being a diehard fan of the team on the prolonged losing streak. At the end of the day, those guys still go home to their families, their mansions and multi-million dollar bank accounts. We, the fans, go home to our flats, apartments, homes, run-down cars and enough bills to choke all the bugs hidden inside the walls.
There’s been enough scuttlebutt surrounding the season as a whole with the stadium situation, relocation rumors, contract disputes and a season to forget, to top it all off. I’ve personally talked to many fans who have decided to tie their allegiance to another team. Others have become fed up and wish the Bolts would lose out in order to gain a top draft pick in hopes of getting better next season. Others, like myself, stay all-in win or lose, hoping that win streak begins this week.
No one is wrong.
We all have a point of no return. Some have reached it, some have not. A good metaphor would be the movie Titanic. In the movie, the band kept playing as the ship went down. For those who don’t know, the Titanic was a multi-ton luxury cruise ship that was the first of its kind that hit an iceberg and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage.
This season, the Chargers are the Titanic. We the fans are symbolized by the ballroom full of people enjoying the band and socializing. The ship (the season) is sinking. The question is, do you abandon ship and look for the nearest life raft, or make like the band and go down with the ship?
Again, there is no wrong answer.
This season could drive any Chargers’ loyalist to drink, heavily. There are no easy wins when you’re a Bolts fan. There are no games where the outcome is favorably foretold by halftime. We must sweat through every minute of every game, waiting for those final moments when Philip Rivers can take a knee and run out the clock. Our sanity is tested week in and week out. San Diego has one of the most talented rosters in the league, yet this season they can’t seem to get out of their own way. Injuries, bad officiating, questionable playcalling and talent decisions have all contributed to undermining a promising season.
Personally, I’ve been invested in the Chargers since age seven, and this isn’t the first losing season I’ve endured. It is far from it. But, it does seem like the worst losing season, because as you get older, each season takes on more meaning. If you’re a young fan, now may be the time to grab a life raft and jump overboard before too many years of your life have been invested, eventually making turning back impossible.
I’m in the band. Always have been, always will be. Probably singing lead. Where do you find yourselves these days, Boltfam? Band or life raft?
The Greg One