There's been a phenomenal series done by Bleacher Report's Will Tidey this week. Tidey got a chance to go inside of Liverpool FC, one of the top clubs in the English Premier League. His interviews with behind-the-scenes folks like nutritionists, medical staff and others gave real insight into the behind-the-scenes operations.
If you wonder what this has to do with the NFL, go read it. Ask yourself which of these things are done at your favorite NFL team, and the answer is likely to be "not much of it at all." In almost every area, from sales and marketing to sports science, American sports trend behind European sports.
Largely, this is because of something you often hear as a positive that is summed in one phrase: "next man up."
We hear this every week in the NFL, and while true, it's destructive. Sure, backups come in and win, but there's a reason those players were considered second-string when everyone was healthy.
Seeing players as expendable or replaceable rather than as investments is a structural construct of the attitude of owners and coaches towards their players. I often wonder about those players or coaches that say they treat each other like family. Do they stay in touch? How many players from a decade ago are still on the Christmas card list?
I hope all of you read the Inside Liverpool series, but I hope some people in the NFL do as well. It's a system that could be easily changed. Surprisingly, it's the Jacksonville Jaguars that have the best possible setup for this. Shahid Khan owns a club (Fulham) where he could siphon knowledge from, and he certainly has nothing to lose by thinking differently.
For now, there are lots of "next men" who will need to be up due to the injuries. Let's look around the league...