In the salary-cap era of football, which was meant to promote parity by forcing each team to spend the same amount of money, the Patriots have been an anomaly, building a dynasty that has won four Super Bowls in 14 seasons and 11 division championships in 12 years.
What’s the key to the team’s success? It’s simple: Bill Belichick’s scouting and recruiting system.
Year after year, the Patriots often forgo high-priced free agents for undrafted free agents and role players from other teams that step right into their system and perform at a high level. Take, for instance, Malcolm Butler, an undrafted free agent who became a Super Bowl hero. Akeem Ayers is another example, going from a reserve role player for the Titans to a valuable four down player for the Patriots after a mid-season trade.
While Belichick will certainly be selected as a Hall of Fame coach, his effectiveness as a talent evaluator may be undervalued. The same scouting and recruiting methods the coach has used over the years can also be used in the business world to build and sustain high-performance teams.
In fact, a study from the Association for Psychological Science found that too many high-performing players on one team actually inhibits the capacity for teamwork. Without teamwork, the result is weaker overall performances. In other words, you want players more interested in winning the Super Bowl than winning MVP.
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