Project Management Success And The Top 10 NFL Players Of All Time

Mike Girdler

Project management success and my all-time top 10 NFL players, any connection? Check it out. #10 Deion Sanders – Even though he is the only …

Project management success and my all-time top 10 NFL players, any connection? Check it out.

Football and Project Management#10 Deion Sanders – Even though he is the only athlete to have played in a Super Bowl and the World Series, Deion is on this list because he redefined the position of cornerback. He is the original “shut down” cornerback and his skill and God given talent combined to force the opposing team to go anywhere but where Deion was.

#9-Tom Brady – This future hall of fame quarterback already has 3 Super Bowl rings. He’s on this list because of his poise, leadership, and his refusal to lose faith in his abilities, when initially, others did. He’s recognized as one of the greatest to play the position by his stats and rings, but his ability to adapt to his team’s personnel, and to pull the best out of his team mates is the real reason this player is on the list.

#8 – Lawrence Taylor – Taylor redefined the Linebacker position. Nine pro-bowls in nine years, MVP of the league, two Super Bowls. However, his renown is due to his approach to the game and the havoc he wreaked for the opposition. He changed the position from one of reacting to the play, to one where he was the aggressor and he would dictate the result on the field.

#7-Eric Dickerson – He burst on to the scene and made an immediate impression. All-Pro, Pro Bowl, Player of the Year, and Rookie of the year-and that was his first year. His career would continue to be successful, but why he is on the list is because of the fluidity of his running and his brute strength. He was a rare combination of size and speed that blew away his competition.

#6-Calvin Johnson – Megatron is on this list because, even though he has several more good years left in his NFL career, he is recognized as the best in the league today and there are those that believe when all is said and done, Calvin will be known as the greatest ever to play the position. His most telling stat, the most receiving yards in a single season-1,964.

#5-Jerry Rice – The GOAT (greatest player of all time) enjoys the accolades he has earned. Jerry is on the list for his ability to provide excitement like no other player, his ability to make the amazing plays, and his TD connections with Montana and Young. NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, 3 Super Bowls and virtually every NFL receiving record. Rice is all-everything.

#4-Dan Marino – I still can’t believe Marino was the last QB taken in the 1st round in “83, but oh well. He made up for it. He’s on the list because he basically owns almost every passing record in the NFL. He’s on the list because the NFL is a passing, QB driven league today because of what Marino did on Sundays for 17 years.

#3-Merlin Olsen – This guy is on the list not just because of his incredible pro-bowl play over his 15 year career, and not because he never missed a game in those 15 years: again, not a game missed in his 15 years.  No, he’s on the list for his character and his intellect. This is a man that earned his Masters in Economics while playing, and developed his own vision statement about how he wanted to conduct himself as a human being-incredible.

#2-John Elway – John is on the list for several reasons: 5 times to the Super Bowl, 2 Super Bowl wins, Super Bowl and league MVP. However the reason Elway is on my list is because he was a winner. He never quit. This man had 47 game winning fourth quarter drives. But, don’t the stats lull you. He was also sacked 516 times. He was not always blessed with the best teams but he never quit, and that is why he is on the list.

#1-Barry Sanders – “Electric” Every time Barry touched the ball, anything could happen. He was the most exciting player I have ever seen. He was the consummate professional. He worked hard to continually improve, and the best example of his contribution to a very poor Lions team was his 1997 season when he ran for 2,053 yards and caught for another 305 yards. He never ran for less than a 1,000 yards in any of his 10 season, was the MVP, rushing leader, and retired with the all-time rushing title, easily within his reach. He was, simply, the best ever to play his position.

So, what do you think of my list? Agree with my selections? Or are you asking yourself how my top 10 list of NFL players of all times relates to successful project management? Lets take a closer look at these players and what it to for them to make the list.

First off, all these athletes were able to work effectively with their respective teams to achieve greatness. They were able to effectively strategize and develop game plans. They executed with precision, and constantly monitored and controlled their own actions and those that were occurring on the field. These were individuals that applied lessons learned from other greats at their position, and they worked to continually improve.

At the end of the day, there is a very strong argument to be made that the skills needed to become one of the top 10 greatest NFL players of all-time are very similar to the skills needed to manage a project successfully. Do you agree? Can you see additional project management  skills that these players exhibit.

Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!

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Michael Girdler is a vice-president, CornerStone Dynamics Inc. His blogs focus on all things project management. Throughout Mike's career, he has invested deeply into projects involving sales, marketing, training and development, continuing education, and communications environments.

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