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The 5 Qualities that Create a Championship Football Team
Photo of Brian Halligan

A championship football team is like a well oiled machine. Every player, every coach and every play must all be synchronized for maximum effect. If there is a letdown at any position, forget about it. The called play can fold up and there will either be no-gain or a loss.

Of course, with any other team sport, luck also plays into it. But luck cannot be manufactured, it's like flipping a coin, and it can never be taken for granted. Championship football teams don't relay on luck, they rely on performance, and although there will always be intangibles, like home field advantage, weather conditions and illness that may keep a star player off the field, championship football teams are always able to rise above any of those, and win games.

  • A Competent Quarterback -- The quarterback is the brains of the offense, and without them, nothing is going to work. Of course, having a quarterback with a killer arm is a plus, but the reality is that it's vitally important for the q-back to be a leader while having a mind for the game. They need to get the play in, make sure the ball is where it needs to be, for a run or pass, and essentially be the coach on the field. If you have a quarterback with all of these attributes, you are on your way. If not, find somebody else to run the offense, because no team in football history has ever won a championship with a sub-par quarterback.
  • Talent -- This is the hardest quality of them all, because if you don't have the talent, you aren't going to the championship game, and it's as simple as that. Defensive guys that can't fill holes or can't keep up with receivers are going to let a lot of points go up on the board for the opposing team. Conversely, if you have slow running backs, receivers that can't get open, or a line that lets everyone through, your offense isn't going to score many points, and you are going to be in for a long season.
  • Desire -- Championship caliber teams not only have a competent quarterback and good talent, they also have the desire to reach for excellence. This isn't about winning, it's about doing the best that you can do every time you are on the field on every play. If that desire is present, the winning will come, and so will the championships.
  • Putting in the time -- You can have all-stars at every position, but if they don't have the desire and aren't willing to put in the time to learn, they aren't going anywhere. The same goes for coaches as well as players, because time well spent is time well earned. It takes time to learn plays, so that they become second nature, and it takes time to jell as a team. All of these attributes are necessary for any championship football team.
  • The Head Coach -- When all is said and done, the buck stops here. If the head coach does not have an eye for a quarterback, if they can't see the innate talent, if they lack the desire to succeed, and if they aren't willing to put in the time, nothing else is going to matter. The head coach must be a motivator, a mentor, a father figure and a mother figure when needed. They need to be able to express what they want in basic terms, and then make sure it is getting done. Most importantly, they need to care. If they don't give care about the team, no one else is going to either, players or other coaches.

Championship teams are rare occurrences in football. Of the thousands of schools out there with football teams, only one becomes a national champion. There is only one Superbowl winner per year, and in little league and high school football, only one team in a division is crowned champion.

It takes a special set of athletes, a special type of desire, a work ethic that is second to none and a coaching staff that would rather devote their time and energy to the team above and beyond anything else. Even then, with intangibles, there is never any guarantee that any team, with these 5 named attributes, will be championship quality. But if a team thinks like champions, works like champions, and is coached and acts like champions, they will be champions, even if they finish in last place.

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