Next to finding a franchise quarterback, searching for an elite general manager feels just as difficult. Teams routinely fail in landing the most pivotal piece of the NFL front office. You can also tell which teams place a deep, profound search into finding the person to upgrade their player talent base.
The Seamless Fit
When the Bills hired Brandon Beane from the Carolina Panthers in 2017, people paid little attention. In all honesty, many considered Buffalo a cold, snowy outpost that no one wanted to play in. Yet, Beane took early advantage to build the team into a winner. He hired a coach that aligns with his vision, assimilating draft picks into his organizational vision. The Buffalo Bills, under Beane and McDermott, crafted a culture of winning and competition.
A Solo Act That Works
Granted, Bill Belichick worked with Scott Pioli and Nick Caserio among others. Yet, at the end of the day, Belichick enjoyed the final say. This focused pursuit earned six Super Bowls and no one can argue with the results. Bill Belichick runs the New England Patriots, full stop. Very few modern coaches possess unchecked power. When they do, it’s rare to see success. Speak of unchecking power.
A Solo Act That Doesn’t Work
If you look at Jon Gruden’s second stint with the Raiders, you’d have to be honest. The team, under Gruden’s control, struggled to gain any traction. First, Gruden signed a slew of failed free agents that did nothing to bolster the team’s chances to win. Next, the Raiders, gifted with five first-round draft picks, hit on just one. The surest sign of organizational failure when the fourth overall pick shouldn’t see their fifth-year option picked up. Many in the fanbase wrongfully claim the Gruden/Mayock braintrust is a partnership. Wrong.
Jon Gruden runs the Raiders and Mike Mayock, from his own mouth, said the same thing. Gruden isn’t Belichick. He hasn’t earned that level of control. Three years, a sub-500 record. The Raiders, specifically Mark Davis, placed the franchise in a rough spot. Their coach answers to no one. He traded a franchise pass rusher, that he’s never successfully replaced. He supports an average quarterback that needs everything to break right for success.
The GM/Coach relationship can make or break a franchise. Control doesn’t necessarily equate to victories. The NFL, or at least of their teams will learn this.