By Ethan Weber ’20
Football is not a representation of a corporate structure, and here is why. But first, the rough definition of a corporation is in order:
A corporate structure begins with a board of trustees led by a singular chairman. This board then advises and guides the ultimate decision of the CEO, the person most qualified to make a decision that’s best for the company. After the CEO, corporations split into either different companies or branches that spread power down a chain ending at the general employees of the company. This spreading of power down the chain thins it, and gives almost no power to the general worker. This is key to understanding the relationship between football and corporate structures, because it is almost an opposite comparison to the relationships throughout a good football team.
A football team will have a coaching staff that can easily be compared to the board of trustees. But after this, the power to change the game lies solely on the field, thus this is where the focus shall lie. It is a common misconception that the quarterback is the sole leader of the team, and because the play is relayed through him, the rest of the team must look up to his guidance. The QB does have the power to change the play, but all other units have equal power as the QB; it is never a one way flow of power from top to bottom. For example, the offensive line works as a unit, often separately changing their part in the play on their own depending on the defensive line’s arrangement. There are many more examples like this one across the field.
The biggest difference in football from a corporation is the inability to “pass the buck” up or down a chain of command. The fault of a mistake must be taken with honor and integrity by the one man who made his own mistake, and no one else. The most potent part about that is this one small mistake can affect the entire game.
Modern media technology has also helped establish a fallacy of a singular leader, by highlighting the big-name players, or using the quarterback’s face to represent the entire team before a big game on TV. But strip it down to its bones. Take off the bright colors, flashing cameras, and crowds of fans. Press it down to the game itself and nothing more. Peel it back to every player’s roots. It’s an early Saturday morning on a muddy, rocky, grass field behind the local middle school, where only a few parents and friends watch, where the glow of a small scoreboard watches your every move, where goosebumps rise from the dead to meet icy morning mist, where you grit your teeth and suck it up and pull the ugly patch of grass from your facemask and spit out the sand and you stand back up and get back on the line and look your opponent right in the eye and tell yourself I will succeed. Then you look your teammate right in the eye and you say: I will succeed for you.
You do not do this in a corporation.