The Rules For Winning in the NFL, Part 1, v1.0

This NY Giants blog was started in November 2006, and on July 4th 2007, we published The Rules For Winning in the NFL. As many of you are aware, the blog migrated to different platforms along the way, and many years of posts were lost. At one point at the end of the first decade we were getting some of our posts reprinted in the NY Times “5th Down” online site. Thankfully the content from that site is still available, memorializing the “old” v1.0 rules. We will reprint them here to get a permanent record archived.

Tomorrow, for Independence Day, we will release The Rules For Winning in the NFL v2.0. Regular readers of the blog and Twitter will have some clues as to what (at least some of) it may look like. The NFL has changed in the past 14 years. The only constant is change. Some of ‘the Rules’ are no longer there. That does not mean they weren’t valid. They simply were rendered less impactful as the NFL evolved. Given how we have been espousing many of the ‘new’ (updated) Rules in recent years, this will be an opportunity to codify them. The Rules 2.0 will hopefully put more clarity into what is necessary today for NFL GMs to succeed.

The 2007 Rules For Winning in the NFL v1.0

1) Do not draft a “versatile” player in Round 1 of the draft. “Dominant” should be there, not versatile.
2) Left Tackle is a rare commodity. A good Left Tackle is better than a great ______ (fill in almost any other position).
3) WRs are a dime a dozen. Do not waste resources here; pick one up when you are close to the prize. They are always available.
4) “Linebackers, I collect’em.” — Bill Parcells.
5) Pitchouts do not work in the red zone.
6) Repeat after me, Do not go for the 2 pt. conversion until there are 6 minutes left in the game. If there are more than 8 minutes left in the game, it is a 99% certainty that it was the wrong decision.
6a) The Mike Tomlin Rule: The only thing worse than violating Rule 6 is violating Rule 6 AFTER a penalty makes it a 7 yd (or 12! or 17 yard) attempt.
7) The Devin Hester Rule: If there is a special teams player in the end zone on a FG attempt, it is probably a good idea to fake the kick.
8) Do the unpredictable. Once you are predictable you are dead.
9) Trading down in the draft is good.
10) Investing all of your resources in one player is (now, more than ever in the era of free agency) a mistake. Eli Manning, Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams… the teams that do the best are usually giving the pick and getting multiple players.
11) “Read and react” is for losers. Set the tone, dictate terms of engagement, let others copy your Super Bowl blueprint. By the time you copy someone else’s, the league has figured out how to adjust, so you are wasting your time.
12) Let the clock wind down to 3 seconds and kick your FG. I have never seen a team muff the (3rd down) attempt and kick on 4th down with the extra time that you left on the clock. I HAVE seen plenty of teams kick the FG and give the other team the opportunity to win when they got their hands on the ball again. (i.e. Dallas Monday Night 2003)
13) The two-week layover for the Super Bowl makes for a lousy game and improves the chances for the favorite.
14) Special teams are always underrated.
15) The only thing the prevent defense prevents you from doing is winning.
16) The only thing the prevent offense prevents you from doing is winning.
16a) The Kenny Holmes Rule: the only thing worse than the prevent offense is the prevent offense when your defense is exhausted/impaired by injury.
17) Players are told to play for 60 minutes. Yet who benches the head coach when he only coaches for 50?
18) The Fassel Rule of Prevent: It is always the coach’s fault when a large lead is blown/the game is lost.
19) The Fassel Rule of December: Practice in December without pads — your players will appreciate it and win many more games for you with their fresh legs.
20) The Bill Walsh “Quality Win” (winning by 11+ points) is a necessary objective at all times because it enables you to win MORE games that are more hotly contested.
21) After 1st and Goal from the 1-2 yard line, if you fail to score a TD on your first three tries, kick the FG on 4th down.
22) The Carl Banks Rule: You cannot simply turn it on and turn it off in the NFL. Play every game and maintain/improve on your high level of play.
23) Second-round draft picks are the best value in the draft. No sizzle, all steak.
24) # of headcases < = strong head coaches. (If you have a strong head coach, you can have up to 1 head case in the locker room. If you have a weak head coach, you cannot have any. A strong head coach with 2 head cases means a locker room infestation and problems.)
25) The Phil Simms Rule: You must stretch the field on offense. If you do not/cannot pass the ball >20 yards down field, LBers and safeties will choke off your offense.
26) Defense wins championships.

One thought on “The Rules For Winning in the NFL, Part 1, v1.0

  1. I remember the first time this was posted… Y’all have put in some serious time and work over the years. Much appreciated.


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