"Nobody ever built a statue to a committee."
The internet tells me now-scorned political strategist Roger Stone once said that, and even though Get Me Roger Stone is one of my all-time favorite Netflix documentaries, I cannot confirm.
Whatever the case, I wholeheartedly believe the quote. Greatness never comes out of groupthink. Greatness, speaking generally, comes out of the mind of one great, focused person.
It's why one person always ended up doing all the work in high school group projects.
It's why Bill Belichick's disciples never succeed in the NFL. The Patriots aren't a committee, they're a product of Belichick's genius.
It's why Bill Gates isn't just the pioneer of modern technology, he's also funding seven of the most promising COVID-19 vaccines with his own money.
And unless the Gates Foundation finds that vaccine, like, yesterday, NFL teams will be forced to draft remotely, with individual personnel seperated from one another. That means this year Steve Keim gets to ditch the committee, in search of his Belichick moment.
Kliff Kingsbury even said so today:
“Honestly, having talked with (Keim), I think he’s kind of welcoming the solitude of it all. That’s a big day and there’s a lot of voices that can get in your head and a lot of clutter that can go on if you’re not careful. I know he’s excited to kind of have the process streamlined.”
He's so right. During a time that offers so much to fret over, we should rejoice at the single-mindedness Steve Keim will enjoy as he navigates through the six selections Arizona has throughout this year's NFL draft.
First I'll address skeptics, who are undoubtedly rattling off names like Bucannon, Nkemdiche, Reddick and Rosen as reasons Keim shouldn't have access to the nuclear launcher. Touché. But even throughout those years of whiffs, there was always a slight tinge of whodunit, wasn't there? Could've been Keim, but it could've been Bruce Arians, who always had a heavy hand organizationally. Could've been Keim, or it could've been owner Michael Bidwill, who has inordinate involvement in pre draft interviews and such. With so many people involved in such a secretive process, we only get to read the tea leaves about what really happened. With the right media relationships, NFL executives can artfully twist the narrative.
Not this year. Kliff Kingsbury said it. This one, more than ever, is on Steve Keim. It's put up or shut up time. The haters will have their chance at vindication, and so will the hated.
But, what if there's more to the aforementioned "tinge of whodunit"? What if the sheer number of voices in the war room is something Steve Keim really has struggled with? There's a reason most NFL power brokers yearn for the unadulterated power Belichick has obtained. It means he can execute his vision precisely. Steve Keim has more mouths to feed. The Cardinals basically have two head coaches: Kingsbury for offense, Joseph for defense. They both have their opinions. There's the concerned owner, who's grown up in this organization and takes pride in his involvement. And then, of course, there are the scouts, who put their blood, sweat and tears into evaluating that potential second-string cornerback out of Northern Arizona. All in the same room, with no Zoom-meeting lag time between their arguments and Keim's face.
Not this time.
This may be the closest Keim gets - since taking over in 2013 - to having complete autonomy. Or, more cynically, complete accountability.
They don't build statues for committees, and they don't fire committees either.