A Committee of One Gets Things Done

After quarterback Eli Manning called a players-only team meeting following the Giants collapse against the Eagles, Sam Farmer wrote a column appearing in the Chicago Tribune on the effectiveness of such meetings.  The conclusion was pretty much “not very”.  The while thing reminded me of the old quote from Robert Copeland:  “To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman provided a similar assessment:

“To me, they’re not very productive, especially when you give too many people a platform to speak.”

Former Oakland Raider Tim Brown also agreed:

“Once we had one guy stand up who was barely a special-teams player, and he decided he wanted to talk in a meeting.  He just went on and on and on. Finally, people had to talk over him just to get him to shut up.”

As an academic I spend a lot of time in committee meetings.  They can be productive in that they do keep people informed of what’s going on.  But I’ve never seen a group of 3 or more people actually make a decision in such a meeting in my life.  Usually if anything gets done there’s one person leading the group who has the vision and conveys that with the opportunity to tune the plan from there.  If that’s what Manning did this week, I applaud him.  But more likely that kind of leadership has to come from the coaching staff.

The real bottom line was provided by former Redskin quarterback Joe Theismann:

“To be honest with you, the way that Eli has turned the ball over this year, a private meeting might have been more effective than a team meeting.  This is one of those meetings where you walk in the bathroom, you look in the mirror, and you start to talk to that guy.”

If everyone did that, the Giants would be a better team.  And the world would be a much better place.

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