Indianapolis Colts GM Chris Ballard knows that his team needs to improve. QB Andrew Luck was supposed to usher in a second wave of winning after Peyton Manning left. While Luck is undoubtedly talented, the team has not even reached the Super Bowl since drafting him, much less won it. The closest they got was the AFC title game, which turned out to be a 45-7 blowout loss to the Patriots.
To get things going in the right direction, as reported by ESPN’s Mike Wells, Ballard is reading a book called “The Cubs Way.” It focuses on the Chicago Cubs, losers for 108 years, and the job that GM Theo Epstein did in guiding them to a World Series win in 2016. The Colts have won a title far more recently, beating the Bears in 2007. But, with roughly a decade since that win, Ballard would like to learn a little bit about Epstein’s success.
Of the book and Epstein’s tactics, Ballard said:
“Theo — baseball was getting flat in terms of the analytics and the edge that they were getting from the numbers — so he kind of took a different approach with character. We want high-character guys that love football, that will hold each other accountable, that will be good teammates. It stuck out like a beacon light….Look at the teams that win in this league. It’s culture. Culture wins. It absolutely wins. Football is the greatest team sport. It really is because guys want to have individual success, but they can’t have individual success without their teammates. They can’t do it. Not in this sport. It’s too hard.”
He did acknowledge that it wouldn’t happen overnight, though, saying:
“It takes time to build a team…Do we have work in front of us? Yes, we do. But it takes time. And the biggest thing that I want to make sure that we’re emphasizing is that competition and they have to earn it. It doesn’t matter where you come from and how we build it or where, from first-round pick to undrafted free agent to street free agent, guy that was cut at the 53-[man roster], future signing.”