RUSH: Now, I want to read some excerpts from this book. In the National Football League right now there are two teams that all the other teams want to be like. One team is the Pittsburgh Steelers; the other is the New England Patriots. Because they never, very rarely enter the free agent market — Patriots do sometimes, they’ll pick up some people everybody thinks are beyond the peak, beyond their prime, but somehow they end up — Corey Dillon is an example, Junior Seau, linebacker. But those two teams are the model franchises. The Kansas City Chiefs just hired Scott Pioli, who was the general manager of the Patriots, to come in and run the chiefs. The Hunt family loves Pioli. Pioli, by the way, is the son-in-law of Bill Parcells of the New York Giants, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and the Miami Dolphins. ‘In the Jabari Holloway case, Pioli says he should have trusted his instincts. The tight end from Notre Dame made him nervous as soon as Pioli found out why he was late for practice — chemistry class.’
Now, listen to this, moms. ”By your senior year, football had better be a priority if you’re going to be a NFL player,’ he says. ‘And I don’t care about chemistry labs. You know what? You can come back and get your grades. To me that explained that something larger was going on. That there were other things in life clearly more important than football. He could have done it some other way where it didn’t interfere with football. That bothered me.’ But he drafted him anyway with their second fourth-round pick of the spring of 2001. He didn’t last long. They drafted a tight end Daniel Graham in the first round of ’02, released Holloway, he signs on with the Houston Texans. ‘This is how a segment of the patriots program works. It’s driven by a concept that is rare not only in sports but in America society. The idea in a country full of social and entertainment options is that the obligations of the job and the devotion to and mastery of the job are an employee’s top priority. The Patriots are attempting to stack their roster with productive players who either think that way now or are on the cusp of a conversion. They don’t want to be paternalistic figures asking the players, ‘Did you put in extra film time?’ They want the players to do it without being asked.’
Now, as I read through this, remember that story from the top of the program today about these newly happy unemployed people, and think about whether you’d like to hire ’em once the time comes to start hiring back. Here’s more: ‘That is how a segment of the Patriots program works. It’s driven by a concept that’s rare not only in sports, but in American society. You do what you’re expected to do without being asked. Pioli says, ‘I’m looking at it from an employer standpoint. What else is this player going to have in his life that’s more important than football, other than the chemistry lab? I can’t always put my values on to people, but here’s what I know. My job is to find players for a head coach who wants football to be the most important thing in their worlds, and I believe in it.’ Pioli’s opinions, like Belichick’s, the coach, are so clear and blunt that there’s little, if any, room for misunderstandingings. In fact, it is written in the Patriots’ manual that all scouts must have a clear opinion on prospects. Neutrality or passive aggressiveness can get you fired. You actually get credit when you logically disagree with the boss. ‘I want ’em to know their opinion is important,’ says Pioli. ‘As a matter of fact it’s so important that part of the evaluation of you is going to be whether you have one.” Now, this is one of the greatest indictments and this is a book, by the way, about the Patriots called ‘Patriot Reign.’ I’m reading from chapter 9 called ‘Finding the Missing Pieces.’ And this is all about people and the most important thing in their life is the job, and the people who work there had better have opinions about things, no moderate squishy-squashiness, or you don’t last.