Changing a Culture!

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS July 28, 2014 #499 Up next…Changing a Culture!

After further review…Many people resist change and would rather stay in their comfort zone – that’s the “zone” where it’s the same-old-same-old, and dependably unchallenging. Some proclaim, “Well, we’ve been doing it this way for a long time now and it has worked okay for us”. The TunneySide says poppycock! Speaking to corporate, business, and education audiences, I encourage them to embrace change. It is an absolute truth that if you want to grow and get better at what you do, you must change. All growth requires change.

Being part of the National Football League for more than a half-century, I have witnessed many changes. Not only the size and speed of players, but coaching styles and types of play have changed dramatically. Yes, there are still 11 on each side of the ball and yes, it’s still a physical contact sport. However, when the Instant Replay system was instituted in 1986 (this season will be its 28th), many resisted. In fact, the system was proposed some eight years earlier but was rejected. And when it began, it was on a one-year trail basis. It’s there now for keeps.

Changing a culture takes time and commitment. The NFL officiating department may arrive at some changes slowly, but the commitment to excellence is there. As a contributing member of that department for this 2014 season, I am witnessing a positive attitude of the part of its 121 on-field officials. The NFL hires only the best college officials, but then begins to train each one to do the tasks before them better. Thus the expression: “Making the best better”. When fans watch their favorite T*E*A*M, they expect only the best; and that’s what the officials want –                             to be the best third team on the field!

NFL officials are well-versed in the philosophy of excellence, but there is also a physical aspect to officiating. “Lightning Fast”, is a conditioning program that requires officials to be in top physical shape in order to keep up with today’s players. That’s not to say that officials were not in-shape before, but Lighting Fast emphasizes flexibility and movement that puts the official in the correct position for every play.

The protection of players is more important than ever before, with a greater responsibility placed on officials. Rules have been changed to ensure that everything is being done to provide the best game possible in today’s environment.

Will you embrace change with an attitude of getting better at what you do?

To contact Jim go to or email

Jim’s latest book “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports” is available here.

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