[Editor's Note: I've written on this site that I believe leadership is important to the success of a team. Brady's Revenge has an opinion that appears to be in direct opposition of mine. However, I do believe this to be a well written and well thought out post.]
I need to get something off of my chest and it begins with the concept of team leadership. The Patriots lack of wining the past couple years has primarily be pinpointed on lack of team leadership. Well, if that is the case then one could assume that a former Patriots leader would have a substantial impact on his new team. Let's begin with Mike Vrabel and his affect on the Chiefs. In 2008, before Vrabel arrived the Chief's defense was ranked 29th with a record of 2-14. After Vrabel joined the team, the Chiefs posted a 4-12 record but still had the 29th ranked defense. Mike's contribution... 2 sacks. Take a bow Mike, your leadership was as contagious as liver flavored lip stick. Please come back to the Patriots, we miss your production.
How about Willie McGinest and his three year stint in Cleveland? In 2006, Wille boasted a whopping 4 sacks, dropped to 3 sacks in 2007 and finally an insignificant single sack in 2008. Their record in those 3 years: 4-12, 10-6, and 4-12. Last time I looked, there was no leadership in Cleveland in 2009 and despite adversity (AKA Mangini) they pulled together to win their last four games. Now while Wille may have been a leader for the Pats, we wouldn't have won games without his countless defensive stops throughout the years. Thanks for the goal-line stop of Edge in Indy and, but it was your play and not your leadership that helped out the Patriots.
Lastly, let's turn our attention to Richard Seymour and his 4 sacks in 14 games with the Raiders this year? Did the Raiders defense, which was ranked 23rd in the league, come together and play better because he was there? Last year's defense was ranked 24th, so I guess I should stand up and applaud for poor old Richard Seymour and his President like leadership for improving the defense. Thanks for the 2011 1st round draft choice, and good luck elsewhere with your leadership role.
Seriously, how many leaders does a team need to be successful? Where is the formula that translates leadership into victories? You would think that Brady and Faulk for the offense and Wilfork and Warren for the defense would suffice. I have an idea; let's stop quoting ex Patriot players about the leadership factor. It's overrated. Leadership is defined as, "a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent". Would this not be the coach and would this not pertain to every team in the league? I understand the concept of having a veteran presence on the team to influence and help the younger players' understand what the coach is expecting from them. But don't all NFL teams have this problem? Are we not going a little too far in blaming the Patriots woes on lack of leadership? At some point a team has to move on from its inner core of players, and dare I say the word "rebuild" a newer version of oneself. The bottom line is that players need to perform to the level that the organization and the coach expect from them, as well as the coach to its players. Leadership is important on any team but at the end of the day it is how you perform on the field that translates into wins.