Jul 29

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Today's guest post is by Greg Schmalz, President, Schmalz Communications

National Football League training camps open this week and six weeks from tomorrow 
(Thursday,  Sept. 9) Minnesota and the Saints square off in New Orleans in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game won by the eventual Super Bowl champion Black & Gold.

All eyes will be on Minnesota as there are a lot of questions surrounding the Vikings. Will running back Adrian Peterson hold out in a contract dispute? Will veteran quarterback Brett Favre return for yet another season?

Methinks that Peterson will report to training camp and Favre will play once again. He hasn’t ruled it out to this point and I doubt he would leave the team hanging. Then, again, it’s Brett Favre. He could show up in camp in late August and still be ready for the regular season opener.

The oppressive heat will once again be a major concern during training camps. It was nine years ago that Minnesota All-Pro offensive tackle Korey Stringer collapsed on the field and subsequently died from complications brought on by heat stroke. Athletic trainers will be tasked with keeping players and all personnel properly hydrated.

Then, of course, you have the RepMan’s beloved New York Jets. Despite finishing 9-7 during the regular season, the Jets showed some spark in the playoffs with road wins at Cincinnati and San Diego before losing to Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game.

A new coach and a new quarterback helped the Jets make some strides last season. Rex Ryan built an aggressive defense and limited rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez’ passing attempts. Rather conservative, but it worked.

What’s on the horizon for 2010? A new stadium that the Jets will again share with the Giants. But they’ll face a tougher schedule this season and they will have to open up the passing game that ranked next to last a year ago if they are going to be successful.

May want to enjoy it while you can, RepMan, because there’s a better than even chance that the players will strike next season as they struggle to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The issues between the players union and the owners aren’t about money. It’s all about greed.

Feb 08

Knowing when to say when

February 8 - 28-time-management Not too long ago, we pitched a piece of business in which the founding CEO was still actively engaged. We waited patiently for his arrival and, then, boom, the conference door swung wide open.

In limped a wizened, elderly gent who looked to be in a great deal of physical distress. He hopped into the room, lowered his failing body onto a chair and pulled himself towards the table.

We began the discussion, but he quickly interrupted. First, he wanted to tell us what he was looking for. That was fine. But, then, he began to regale us with countless war stories from pre-Columbian America. His tales were interesting, but totally irrelevant to the topic at hand: getting his organization better known.

It got to the point where we were collectively biting tongues and pinching arms to keep from snickering. And that, for so many reasons, was sad.

It's sad to see anyone in any profession who doesn't know when to say when. Professional sports are full of these sad sacks, including:

– Willie Mays, circa 1973
– Joe Namath, circa 1977
– Joe Louis, Roberto Duran, Muhammad Ali and countless boxers.
– Herschel Walker (Greg Schmalz tells me the erstwhile Heisman Trophy winner of three decades past is now an Ultimate Fighter. That's sad and scary)
– Brett Favre, circa now (Just check out the Hyundai Super Bowl commercial)

Politics seems to attract a fair share of octogenarian blowhards who don't know when to say when. That said, Congress seems replete with blowhards of all ages.

So, why do some people not know when to say when? And, why do others know exactly when to step aside? Greta Garbo, Sandy Koufax and Barry Sanders come to mind. Each quit while still at the very peak of her or his game.

As we were leaving the new business meeting described above, I pulled our team aside and said, 'Guys, I'd like one of you to put a bullet in me if I ever hobble into a meeting and start telling war stories from the 17th century.'

I'm not sure what my image and reputation will be when I finally do step down. But, I don't want to make it any worse than it will be by sticking around too long. I'd like to think I'll know when to say when.