business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

There is a wonderful piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning about how the Jacksonville Jaguars have started using a new technique when wooing NFL free agents - they are talking to players’ wives.

This apparently is something new for the NFL. (And maybe for a lot of employers.) Free agents usually fly into town by themselves, or with their agents, and engage in conversations with ownership and coaching staffs. Deals are made, contracts are signed, and if wives are consulted, they are not part of the process.

According to the story, “Shahid Khan, the Jaguars' new owner, who made his fortune in auto parts manufacturing, said he had the idea because he tries to meet all of the spouses of his employees. He said he has retreats in which his employees are encouraged to bring their spouses. Khan figured some of the things needed to be a solid player - like staying after practice or putting in extra work - require a stable home environment. The team's new coach, Mike Mularkey, spoke with Smith about the importance of a good family life during his interview process and just like that, a new NFL personnel theory was born.”

The wives cited in the Journal story say they’ve been pleasantly surprised by the attention - and they agree (not surprisingly) that a stable home life can lead to better on-field performance.

Now, the Journal does make another legitimate point: “The obvious and unanswered question is whether married athletes really perform better on the field. History is, of course, littered with successful athletes who were spectacularly unsuccessful husbands. And some of them are, or were, among the greatest athletes to play their respective sports.”

But I do think that the larger point is a good one - that we all are made better by our spouses. (Not just wives. I like to think that most husbands make their wives better, too. Just not in my house.) And maybe this is something to which smart companies ought to pay more attention.

Good stuff, and Eye-Opening.
KC's View: