All successful businesses need strong and competent leadership. A professional football team is no different, needing a knowledgeable and savvy personnel executive with NFL experience. If the Philadelphia Eagles are to win a Super Bowl, Howie Roseman needs to be unseated and replaced with a legitimate football guy.
Roseman’s example demonstrates that the NFL game is much different than fantasy football. Thinking you know the game from afar, and having first-hand knowledge of the game and its players are two very different things. A quick look at the franchises with recent success in the league proves the theory.
There is no more successful organization in the NFL over the last decade plus than the New England Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick calls all the shots on the field, as well as making player personnel decisions. Belichick has been coaching in the NFL in some capacity since 1975.
Last season, the Baltimore Ravens were Super Bowl champs. In their brief history, the Ravens have made the playoffs nine times since 2000, with two Super Bowl victories. Ozzie Newsome, their GM since 2002, is an NFL Hall of Fame tight end and has been an NFL executive since 1991.
The Denver Broncos, widely regarded as the NFL’s premiere team this year, are run by Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway. Elway is a Hall Of Fame NFL quarterback who has been a professional football owner and executive since 2002.
Last year’s Super Bowl runner-up, the San Francisco 49ers, are run by general manager Trent Baalke, 2011’s NFL executive of the year. He started his career as a New York Jets scout in 1998, and has been a college scouting coordinator for the Washington Redskins.
The 4-0 New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl champs in 2010, are run by Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. Loomis, a nearly 30 year veteran of the NFL, has been with the Saints for 14 years, 12 as their GM.
The Green Bay Packers, run by GM Ted Thompson, have been one of the NFL’s most successful franchises the last 20 years, winning their most recent Super Bowl in 2011. A perennial league powerhouse, Thompson helps continue the legacy by bringing 20-plus years of NFL scouting and personnel experience in addition to his 10 years as an NFL linebacker.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, who have won 2 Super Bowls in the last 12 seasons, are run by Director of Football Operations and GM Kevin Colbert. He has been in that position since 2000, and prior to, that spent 16 years in professional football scouting.
Finally, the 4-0 Seattle Seahawks are run by GM John Schneider, who has previously been a front office executive with the Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and the Packers. He started as a Packer scout in 1993.
Roseman is nothing more than a fan of the game, much like anyone else who participates in a fantasy draft each season. He never played or coached a single down of football at any level. A licensed lawyer, he accepted a job as an unpaid intern with the Eagles in 2000 to work on salary cap issues. He held various administrative titles with the Eagles, commonly known as former team president Joe Banner’s lackey until 2008.
Learning the business from Banner, who knows nothing about player personnel, works against Roseman. Although being given the title of GM in 2010, he has been very public that moves made by the Eagles the last two seasons were the first that he had full (or almost full when Andy Reid was still in Philly last year) control over. Roseman has also admitted recently that he is the individual responsible for the miserable failure of a first round draft pick in Danny Watkins.
Roseman’s first two drafts have yet to yield a star player, with average contributions coming from Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks, Brandon Boykin, Bryce Brown, Nick Foles and Lane Johnson. Free agent signings of Demetrius Bell, Kenny Phillips, Connor Barwin, James Casey, Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Patrick Chung and Isaac Sopoaga have left an awful lot to be desired. In addition, Roseman had to sign off on the hiring of Billy Davis as the Birds’ defensive coordinator, an individual who failed miserably twice previously as coordinator in Arizona and San Francisco.
The bottom line is that for Chip Kelly, Roseman’s claim to fame hire thus far, to be successful in the NFL, he needs the right players. Roseman is not the right guy to get them for him. Until owner Jeffrey Lurie corrects his mistake at GM, a Super Bowl will remain a pipe dream.