The Rules For Winning in the NFL

(Ultimatenyg note: This is a reprint of July 4, 2007’s post. Rule 6 was violated so badly (causing a loss in this past year’s playoffs) that we had to create a 6a addendum just for the offender! The last word (rule) has never been more true, eh Tom Brady?!!)

In the spirit of Independence Day, we declare these truths to be self-evident, that not all coaches and general managers are created equal… THE RULES FOR WINNING IN THE NFL! Please comment, detract, add your own. These rules can be amended (doubtful, but possible!) by your feedback.

1) Do not draft a “versatile” player in Round 1 of the draft. “Dominant” should be there, not versatile.
2) Left Tackle is a rare commodity. A good Left Tackle is better than a great ______ (fill in almost any other position).
3) WRs are a dime a dozen. Do not waste resources here; pick one up when you are close to the prize. They are always available.
4) “Linebackers, I collect’em.” – Bill Parcells.
5) Pitchouts do not work in the red zone.
6) Repeat after me, Do not go for the 2 pt. conversion until there are 6 minutes left in the game. If there are more than 8 minutes left in the game, it is a 99% certainty that it was the wrong decision.
6a) The Mike Tomlin Rule- The only thing worse than violating Rule 6 is violating Rule 6 AFTER a penalty makes it a 7 yd (or 12! or 17 yard) attempt.
7) The Devon Hester Rule- If there is a special teams player in the end zone on a FG attempt, it is probably a good idea to fake the kick.
8) Do the unpredictable. Once you are predictable you are dead.
9) Trading down in the draft is good.
10) Investing all of your resources in one player is (now, more than ever in the era of free agency) a mistake. Eli Manning, Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams… the teams that do the best are usually giving the pick and getting multiple players.
11) “Read and react” is for losers. Set the tone, dictate terms of engagement, let others copy your SB blueprint. By the time you copy someone else’s, the league has figured out how to adjust, so you are wasting your time.
12) Defensive Coordinators make better head coaches and increase your chances for a SB championship.
13) Let the clock wind down to 3 seconds and kick your FG. I have never seen a team muff the (3rd down) attempt and kick on 4th down with the extra time that you left on the clock. I HAVE seen plenty of teams kick the FG and give the other team the oppty/win when they got their hands on the ball again. (ie Dallas Mon Night 2003)
14) The 2 week layover for the SB makes for a lousy game which improves the chances for the favorite.
15) Special teams are always underrated.
16) The only thing the prevent defense prevents you from doing is winning.
17) The only thing the prevent offense prevents you from doing is winning.
17a) The Kenny Holmes Rule- the only thing worse than the prevent offense is the prevent offense when your defense is exhausted/impaired by injury.
18) Players are told to play for 60 minutes. Yet who benches the head coach when he only coaches for 50?
19) The Fassel Rule of Prevent: It is always the coach’s fault when a large lead is blown/the game is lost.
20) The Fassel Rule of December: Practice in December w/o pads- your players will appreciate it and win many more games for you with their fresh legs.
21) The Bill Walsh “Quality Win” (winning by 11+ points) is a necessary objective at all times because it enables you to win MORE games that are more hotly contested.
22) After 1st and Goal from the 1-2 yard line, if you fail to score a TD on your first three tries, kick the FG on 4th down.
23) The Carl Banks Rule- You cannot simply turn it on and turn it off in the NFL. Play every game and maintain/improve on your high level of play.
24) Second round draft picks are the best value in the draft. No sizzle, all steak.
25) # of headcases <= strong head coaches. (If you have a strong head coach you can have up to 1 head case in the locker room. If you have a weak head coach you cannot have any. A strong head coach with 2 or more head cases means a locker room infestation and problems.)
26) Defense wins championships.

2 Responses to “The Rules For Winning in the NFL”

  1. Bass Says:

    As we all know, there can be some (albeit rare) exceptions to every rule. As demonstrated by the amazing run by the G-men this past season, some exceptions were:Rule #8–Tom Coughlin was pretty predictable in the Super Bowl (and in the playoffs as a whole–Andy F. mentions that after the Dallas playoff game). However, that is Coughlin’s m.o. A lot of people were saying going into the Super Bowl that the Giants offense would need to play the game of their lives to win. However, the offense didn’t really get it going until the fourth quarter (with the exception of a nice opening drive, but that settled for a field goal anyway). However, the defense played lights out, so that hugely contributed to the win without a huge offensive output for most of the game.#10–Eli has a “free pass for life”. I suppose you could say the same for Ernie Accorsi, although it doesn’t really matter as he no longer is employed by the Giants. Even Gary Myers, after the Super Bowl win, said something along the lines that the wisdom of the deal that brought Eli to the Giants can no longer be questioned.#14–I said this to myself before the Super Bowl, but I didn’t see a lot of this written elsewhere (though I’m sure others mentioned it). I strongly feel that the two week lay over was a big advantage for the Giants. Not that it really “hurt” the Patriots directly. However, with the extra playoff game (the wild card game) and all the road travel, the extra week off must have been very helpful to the Giants from a rest and relaxation perspective. This allowed them to be as fresh as possible for the Super Bowl and turn it on in the 4th quarter!#21–The G-men did not have a lot of wins like this, especially in the second half of the season. If you are generous, you could say the Tampa Bay playoff game sort of meets this criteria (but it really doesn’t). Maybe (in the best case scenario) if Shockey comes back and is a good teammate, they can get some wins like this. (But I won’t hold my breath too long about that.Happy 4th of July! Thank you for your blog, Andy F.!

  2. Andy F. Says:

    Great comments. I have been planning/writing some followup on these rules in the wake of the SB XLII run and look forward to discussing these ‘exceptions’ in future posts.

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