Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shaw on Stage for an Encore of Old Mistakes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shaw on Stage for an Encore of Old Mistakes

Article excerpt

Mike Keenan doomed himself with the Blues by being too naughty.

Rich Brooks doomed himself with the Rams by being too nice, waiting until halftime of his career finale to rip into his slackers.

As for Rams owner Georgia Frontiere and trusty henchman John Shaw, they're just doomed. There's a reason no National Football League team in this decade has a worse record than the Rams. All a PSL holder needs to know is in Shaw's plan to fire Brooks, he keeps general manager Steve Ortmayer on ice, hires a new coach and lets him help choose the new GM or maybe do that job, too. Shaw is skilled in two areas: Making money and losing football games. Frontiere is skilled in one area: Listening to Shaw. Here's how professional executives might right a capsized football company: Find a model competitor. See how it runs. Shamelessly steal its ideas. Mold and modify as needed. Today's model is Green Bay. After two decades of failure, the Pack is back because president Bob Harlan put competence over ego. Harlan, an ex-publicist for the baseball Cardinals, spent two decades in the Pack's business office. He knew that watching games on Sunday in a suite did not make him a football expert. His radical plan was to hire a football man as general manager to run the football part of the show. Harlan wanted his GM to evaluate, hire and fire the coach. The coach would run the team and advise the GM of any needs. The GM would acquire players within the president's payroll limits. The president would pay bills, make business plans and leave football decisions to his experts. Harlan began by hiring Ron Wolf as GM. Wolf evaluated coach Lindy Infante, fired him and hired Mike Holmgren as coach. Holmgren installed his system and got the players to play it. The Packers now have a common mission, a clear purpose at every level and home-field advantage in the playoffs. Contrast that with the Rams, losers every year since 1989. Brooks, fired halfway through a four-year contract, said Monday: "I was given an indication early on this year that I certainly would have at least through the end of next year to do this. …

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