The approaching NFL conference championship weekend provides an opportunity to look at some of the personnel and business decisions that each organization made to help them get there. One in particular has a local flavor and that is the Baltimore Ravens decision to make a trade for Anquan Boldin, in 2010 the Ravens gave up a third and fourth round draft pick for AQ and the two organizations have been on very different paths ever since. Since that trade the Baltimore Ravens have posted a regular season record of 34 wins and 14 losses while the Arizona Cardinals have experienced 18 wins versus 30 losses. While wide receivers are an important part of a league where the passing game is the only one that matters, I’m not suggesting that AQ is the primary reason for the winning ways of the Ravens. What I am saying is that Anquan Boldin is a much better decision maker than the all pro wide receiver/human being Larry “Loyal” Fitzgerald.
While with the Arizona Cardinals from 2008-2010 Boldin made it clear that he wanted a contract extension and the Cardinals made it clear that the money AQ was expecting was not going to come from them. Boldin made it known publicly that the Ravens would be a team that he would be interested in, he felt that he would be a good fit there because their physical style of play matched his, another way of saying he found the culture of the organization attractive. Boldin pursued an employer that he knew would appreciate his skill set, had established leadership (Ray Lewis), and a bright future (Joe Flacco).
The brain mapping of Loveable Larry’s decision making can only lead you to a few places. The first, he looked at the QB and offensive line situation and totally misdiagnosed the talent level of his fellow employees. This I find difficult to believe based on two facts; he has played football all his life and as they say game recognizes game aka a good player knows when he sees another good player. Also Larry’s dad has been a sportswriter for years, covering Super Bowls along the way; he comes from a football family. Larry knows football! The other theory is that Family Friendly Fitzy accurately assessed the talent level and decided the cash was more important than winning. There have been hints of sympathy for the pass catcher, but it has to be noted he signed that deal after Kurt Warner retired. As a football expert Loveable Larry knew that before he ever gets a chance to catch a pass no less than six other employees must do their job; how could he look at the five offensive lineman and QB talent pool and decide he could win with that? He signed an eight year deal when there was no way he could be sure that Kevin Kolb was going to be the answer, no established leadership other than himself and it has been rumored that Larry is more of a leader by example not a get in your face guy.
I wonder if his University of Phoenix communications degree had a course in business analysis, if so I think Loveable Larry is due a refund. He choose an organization without an established winning culture, no leadership, and based on recent personnel decisions (Ryan Lindley) does not appreciate his skill set. Larry choose to sleep with dogs with his eyes wide open, following a season with just four touchdown receptions and a three year span where he loses almost twice as much as he wins; Fitzy has the fleas to show for it.