|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 8
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
INITIATIVE + INTENTNESS = INNOVATION (George Halas)
The National Football League has thirty two teams and a net worth of 80 billion dollars. One of those teams, The Chicago Bears, is currently valued at 2.85 billion dollars. The National Football and The Chicago Bears exist largely to the efforts of one man: George Halas.
George Halas was one of the founders of the National Football (NFL). The NFL was started at a meeting in 1920, held in an auto show room Canton, Ohio. The league was originally called the American Professional Football Conference (APFC).
Fourteen teams met and Halas represented the Decatur Staleys. The Staleys were the company-sponsored football team of the A. E. Staley Company, a starch manufacturer in Decatur, Illinois, where Halas worked as a sales representative and was the player-coach of the football team.
After suffering financial losses despite a 10-1-2 record, company founder and namesake Augustus E. Staley turned over control of the team to Halas in 1921. Halas moved the team to Chicago. Halas was the team's coach, a player (wide receiver on offense, defensive end on defense), handled ticket sales and the business of running the club.
In 1922, the American Professional Football Conference (APFC) accepted Halas's recommendation and changed their name to the National Football League. The Chicago Bears are one of only two of the original fourteen teams still in existence. Halas was intent.
George Halas coached the Chicago Bears for 40 seasons and won six NFL Titles (an all-time record). He owned the team for 63 years and had an additional two NFL titles as an owner.
Halas combined his intentness with initiative and was one of the great innovators in the history of modern sports. Halas was the first coach to hold daily practice sessions, to analyze film of opponents to find weaknesses and means of attack, and place assistant coaches in the press box during games.
In the late 1930s, Halas perfected the T-formation system with a man in motion to create a revolutionary style of play which drove the Bears to an astonishing 73-0 victory over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game—still the most lopsided margin of victory in NFL history. The T formation then became the standard for the rest of the NFL teams.
He was the first owner to place tarp on the field, publish a club newspaper, and to broadcast games by radio. He also offered to share his team's considerable television income with teams in smaller cities, firmly believing that what was good for the league would ultimately benefit his own team.
As a Coach and Owner, he insisted on absolute integrity and honesty in management, believing that a handshake was sufficient to finalize a deal; few, if any, intermediaries were necessary. The Bears have been owned by his eldest child, Virginia Halas McCaskey, since his death in 1983. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located on George Halas Drive.
George Halas, the son of Czech-Bohemian immigrants, had a simple recipe for success: initiative combined with intentness supported by integrity.
What's your recipe?
Yours in Coaching,
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
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