One of my favorite parts of the former ESPN TV show His & Hers was the Doin’ Too Much countdown. Michael Smith and Jemele Hill would show multiple examples of athletes and entertainers going too far in an effort to stand out. It’s very easy — and often hilarious — to see someone else go to absurd lengths while trying to shine. It’s also very easy to fall into the same trap yourself.
If the Doin’ Too Much countdown were still around, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters would be on it. Peters made a big mistake while getting burned by Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas on a 72-yard touchdown grab on Sunday. Peters motioned to numerous teammates — linebacker Cory Littleton and defensive backs Nickel Robey-Coleman and Lamarcus Joyner — before the play began in an effort to get them into position. The next thing you know, Thomas was celebrating in the end zone with a flip phone because Peters didn’t take care of his own responsibility.
Troy Aikman was the color commentator on the FOX broadcast. Aikman described the play by saying, “Well, you see Marcus Peters — he’s not even ready. He’s trying to communicate. Michael Thomas just simply runs right by him.” Yep, that’s about right. The touchdown gave the Saints a 45-35 lead with 3:52 remaining, which ended up being the final score of the game. Peters allowed Thomas to zoom right by mostly because he was focused on his teammates doing their job instead of doing his own.
Do your job. Where have I heard that before? Oh, that’s right, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick believes in that philosophy so much that he practically has each member of his team get the phrase tattooed on their body. I wouldn’t be surprised if Belichick has an elaborate “Do Your Job” back mural of his own. You can roll your eyes at the phrase because you dislike the Patriots, but you can’t knock the impact it has had on their success.
The Patriots beat the Packers by two touchdowns on Sunday night. No Gronk. No Sony Michel. No big deal. They’ve won 12+ games over an NFL-record eight straight seasons for a reason — each individual simply does their job. It’s no coincidence that the Patriots continue to stockpile achievements. The football gods don’t sprinkle magical pixie dust onto the Pats before the season. New England has a formula. The job requirement is to avoid doing more than you’re required.
I started thinking about the Patriots formula for success as it relates to sports radio. If you have a role on a radio show and attempt to do the work of the people around you, your own responsibilities are more likely to be uncompleted. You are at greater risk of basically pulling a Marcus Peters and falling short yourself. I never thought about the “do your job” philosophy beyond this point until now.
If you try to take care of someone else’s responsibility, it will look like you don’t trust the people around you to get the job done themselves. Imagine two people that work as mechanics. If Matt says, “Hey, Phil. Don’t worry about that car with the broken headlight.” If that is Phil’s responsibility to fix, Matt is giving the impression that he doesn’t trust Phil to get the job done. That might not be the case. Maybe Matt just wants the problem fixed a certain way, but Phil will think, “What’s up with that? Why would that [cuss word] [cuss word] [cuss word] think I can’t fix the headlight too? [cuss word]”
Sports are all about trust. A sports radio show is all about trust. Relationships are all about trust. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. Most people like to have things done a certain way, but it’s silly to prioritize having things done exactly how you want them, over showing others that you trust them to follow through. Trust is empowering. It enables a group to mesh together and perform as a unit.
Did you see what happened to the Maryland football team on Saturday? They got trounced by Michigan State 24-3. Sparty has had a disappointing season with three losses, but they were able to smoke Maryland by three touchdowns. The drama leading up to the game that Maryland experienced definitely played a major role in the outcome, but that wasn’t their main issue.
DJ Durkin was initially reinstated as Maryland head football coach on Tuesday following the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair in June. There were also allegations that included mistreatment of players. When Durkin held a team meeting to announce his reinstatement, multiple players walked out. Maryland reversed course and decided to fire Durkin on Wednesday due to public backlash.
Sure, the Maryland football team wasn’t highly focused on the game. There were a ton of distractions throughout the week. However, many teams have survived huge distractions by being on the same page. The minute Maryland’s locker room became split between Durkin supporters and detractors is the minute the team became a disjointed collection of individuals. You can’t win a team game if players are moving in opposite directions. Sports radio shows can’t reach their full potential when the staff isn’t on the same page either. You have to work together, not separately.
It’s funny to me that many fans and media members are incredibly critical of Carmelo Anthony’s play, yet they’ll turn around and do similar things within their own occupation. Melo, now with the Houston Rockets, has long been criticized for being a one-on-one player instead of a team guy. I’ve seen many people within sports radio buildings do the exact same thing. Instead of setting up a co-worker with an easy alley oop pass, they’ll look to score in isolation by doing everything themselves.
The way you win in sports is the same way you win in sports radio — do your job while setting up your teammates for success. Don’t make the same mistake Rams cornerback Marcus Peters made against the Saints by focusing on everyone else’s responsibility while overlooking your own. Do your job and show that you trust the people around you to do theirs. Do you think the Patriots would be successful if Tom Brady turned to his teammates in the huddle and said, “I don’t trust you”? Not so much. Your sports radio building will encounter the same problems if you send the same message.