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Thread: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

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    Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Exclusive interview: What's on Kroenke's mind?

    BY BRYAN BURWELL, Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist
    Published: Jan 3, 2012 8:30

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    It's hard to know the exact moment when Stan Kroenke began to envision how much different things would be once he took control of the St. Louis Rams. Maybe it's been quietly percolating in his imagination since the day he bought a minority share of this storied NFL franchise nearly two decades ago.

    But on Monday morning, 17 months after he assumed official majority control of the Rams, Kroenke emphatically seized symbolic control of the helm with a rather powerful move. This was not a tweak, this was a seismic total renovation, firing both general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo before immediately going about the significant task of reshaping the Rams into his own very specific image.

    And what image is that?

    "Well, the simple answer is we have to find a way to get this team back to where it wins," he said in an exclusive interview with the Post-Dispatch.

    Over the course of 18 minutes on the phone, here's what I learned about Kroenke and where he's going with his plans to turn this franchise around: First of all, he has not been sitting idly by as the Rams went from a team of promise in 2010 to a team of disappointment in 2011. He was gathering facts all along the way but didn't make up his mind absolutely until he woke up Monday morning.

    And he hated the losing more than you did.

    "If anyone thinks I enjoy this when we don't win, they would be wrong," he said. "It's been painful. You can quote George Patton, (who) said, 'Gloom does not win wars.'"

    Kroenke is fascinated with the wisdom of famous people. He quoted Patton, Albert Einstein and his famous in-law, the late Sam Walton, throughout the interview. But the man he seems to be most intrigued with is one of those surprising and illuminating tidbits into the mind of Stan Kroenke.

    He is an ardent devotee of Bill Belichick and the way Darth Patriot has crafted New England into the NFL's signature championship organization. And if you want to know what the Kroenke Way is going to look like at Rams Park, you'd be wise to go read a wonderful book by former Boston Globe columnist Michael Holley called "War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team."

    Kroenke referenced the book repeatedly Monday afternoon.

    "When you read the book, it describes a wonderful (business culture)," Kroenke said. "I felt very comfortable when I read the book when (Holley) talked about a guy like Belichick. He had a plan. (The Patriots) have a way of operating up there that wasn't dissimilar to the way we run the (Denver Nuggets). At the end of the day, everyone knew Belichick was kind of The Guy, but the owner still had his input."

    What did Kroenke glean from studying Belichick and the Patriots?

    First and foremost, someone must hold final authority and be the undisputed man everyone knows is in charge of things. In the new Rams Way, Kroenke promises there will be no gray areas, no uncertainties about accountability, no vagueness about who is setting the overall organizational tone or the philosophy of how everything will be done around here.

    "We will have someone who is in charge of personnel, and they will be clearly in charge of personnel and they will be responsible," Kroenke said. "And hopefully they will be very bright. And they may be young or they may be seasoned, and we already have several people in mind.

    "The (head) coach? We'd like the coach to coach."

    What does that mean? If you follow the Patriots' model, it means a lot more than the coach being the coach. If the head coach is a veteran with a proven track record €” and Kroenke thinks he is the one most qualified to set the tone for how the organization will be run €” he will be given that authority. But he won't be dominating the war room, pretending to be a personnel expert.

    He will do a lot of what Belichick does, which is to lay out in very specific terms the sort of players he believes will help him win, give his personnel people those very clear criteria, then hold them accountable to find them. And if they don't come up with future Pro Bowlers and immediate impact players, they will be fired and someone else will be hired to do a better job.

    And when Kroenke has hired both men and determined who is going to be in charge, the rest of the new organization had better understand that only one guy will be steering the ship and everyone else will be manning the oars.

    "When you look at that book," said Kroenke, "those guys all work so well together. That's what I'm into. I like guys who work the way it's described in that book. Belichick is clearly The Guy, but there's no one afraid to challenge (his) viewpoint. They have a culture where there isn't a lot of ego. They try to come to the best solutions all the time. In the sports world, there tends to be a lot of ego."

    Kroenke believes the greatest detriment to any professional sports organization €” or for that matter any business in general €” is when you have too many people who are more concerned with getting credit, placing blame or failing to recognize the value in contrary opinions. That is an ego-driven culture that can wreck franchises.

    "Now I'll quote (Wal-Mart founder) Sam Walton," he said. " 'Ego is the worst thing in business. It leads you to make bad decisions.' "

    This was a rare glimpse into the mind of the typically private businessman, who used this uncommon public opportunity to lay out how he hopes to fix whatever ails his franchise, which has not had a winning season since 2003. As a man whose family owns NBA, NHL and professional soccer franchises on two continents, Kroenke is no neophyte when it comes to diagnosing those troubles or how to fix them.

    When asked point blank what's wrong with the Rams, Kroenke didn't hedge:

    "What's wrong with the franchise is we're not winning," he said. "If we were winning, we'd all be happy. So what it comes down to is the product on the field, and there are a lot of ways to go at it. ... When we acquired the Nuggets, we were abysmal. I would say they were certainly pretty bad. (But) I think we've brought them along (the Nuggets have not had a losing season since 2002, while reaching the playoffs eight consecutive seasons), and the way we did that was we concentrated on the personnel. We got a head coach (George Karl) we could trust and had the intelligence and energy and the track record, quite frankly. He'd proven he could do it. So once we got all that in place, we got a lot better.

    "So how do we fix (the Rams)?" he said. "You get players. They play better. You win and we're all happy."
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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Ok. sounds great. Exactly the sort of mentality/vision that i was looking for. This is a major crossroad for the organization. No longer allowed will be anything less then winning football. Now, time to bring it to life, Stan.
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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    This is an awesome read... I just came across another book he's quoted to in liking... Patriot Way: The Road to a Modern NFL Dynasty

    Sounds like he wants to hirer Fisher or a veteran coach and hirer a young bright GM.... This is music to my ears I wanted to her he had a plan with organization changes... this is a copy cat league no better team to copy IMO.

    if the head coach is a veteran with a proven track record €” and Kroenke thinks he is the one most qualified to set the tone for how the organization will be run €” he will be given that authority. But he won't be dominating the war room, pretending to be a personnel expert.
    Coach comes first and the GM is second....

    He will do a lot of what Belichick does, which is to lay out in very specific terms the sort of players he believes will help him win, give his personnel people those very clear criteria, then hold them accountable to find them. And if they don't come up with future Pro Bowlers and immediate impact players, they will be fired and someone else will be hired to do a better job.
    The Pats remind me of the whiners of the 80's... it always seems they are stock piling draft picks and using the draft like a trip to the grocery store filling specific needs. Move up move back in the draft always seems to look like they own that day.

    I'm feeling much better after reading this... lets get Fisher and then ad a young stud GM...
    Last edited by Rambos; -01-03-2012 at 01:16 PM.

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    When asked point blank what's wrong with the Rams, Kroenke didn't hedge:

    "What's wrong with the franchise is we're not winning," he said.
    See, thats what I am talking about, right there.

    Go Dem Rams WOOT!


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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Definitely encouraging to hear Stan saying these things. He comes across as a guy passionate about winning and tortured from the losing that has taken place. In an article yesterday which relayed the firings of Spags and Devaney, Kroenke was quoted as saying that "He wasn't in this (Rams ownership) to be mediocre; he was in it to win". Can't ask for much more from your owner.

    Now go out there and get the best possible people to turn this thing around.

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    **My next comment is NOT meant to be a "Debbie Downer" moment.**

    It is extremely refreshing to hear these comments from Mr. Kroenke (it's a message I've been waiting to hear for over 20 years). However, with all due respect, talk is cheap, and it is a task easier said, than done. This is coming from one who has worked in organizational development (public, publicly held, and family businesses) for more than 20 years. I'm not saying it can't be done. It's just going to take a HUGE effort, and it's very likely there will bill some major bumps along the way. Changing a company culture is never a task for the faint of heart. God speed Mr Kroenke. I'll be rooting for you.
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    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    As much as I hate them, modeling yourself after the Pats and Kraft is certainly not a bad way to go. It also very much supports my theory that we will be getting an experienced and successful HC and will be going for a talented personnel evaluator but not an established GM. He'll be young and upcoming much like Pioli or the guy in Atlanta now were coming from the Pats.

    Stan didn't buy the team to lose, either games or money, and I believe him that he's committed to the St. Louis area much more so than Kahn is in Jacksonville. He will take the fair, and somewhat steady support from the fans in a baseball town and he will do whatever he can to make a winning, greatly supported franchise in the Lou. The Nuggets were a mess, I hope we see a similar turnaround here.
    I believe!

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    When is the last time we heard a Rams' owner talk in these terms? A clear, precise, organized vision is exactly what I wanted to hear. Now he has to back it up and make it happen.
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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    When is the last time we heard a Rams' owner talk in these terms? A clear, precise, organized vision is exactly what I wanted to hear. Now he has to back it up and make it happen.
    Mr Rosenbloom passed away in 1978..........
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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by macrammer View Post
    Mr Rosenbloom passed away in 1978..........
    It's been a while.

    Exactly what I was thinking mac.

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Rosenbloom would vomit in his casket if he saw what's happened to the Rams.
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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by r8rh8rmike View Post
    It's been a while.

    Exactly what I was thinking mac.
    too long Mike....too long. Dare I get excited over the prospects of an owner that will not stand for losing!

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth View Post
    **My next comment is NOT meant to be a "Debbie Downer" moment.**

    It is extremely refreshing to hear these comments from Mr. Kroenke (it's a message I've been waiting to hear for over 20 years). However, with all due respect, talk is cheap, and it is a task easier said, than done. This is coming from one who has worked in organizational development (public, publicly held, and family businesses) for more than 20 years. I'm not saying it can't be done. It's just going to take a HUGE effort, and it's very likely there will bill some major bumps along the way. Changing a company culture is never a task for the faint of heart. God speed Mr Kroenke. I'll be rooting for you.
    My feelings exactly. Ive heard this kind of talk before, on many a occasion. It happens nearly every year in the NFL, when someone gets canned. So I think you will be forgiven, if you feel bored at worst, or optimistic at best, with an eye to the future. Its up to are new owner now, to back up his words. If he does, I will probably feel a bit different.??
    Last edited by GROUND DOG 39; -01-04-2012 at 06:27 PM.

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Ramsfan1 View Post
    Rosenbloom would vomit in his casket if he saw what's happened to the Rams.
    Of course, he probably should've thought of that BEFORE he left the team to the blond bimbo.
    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!!

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    Re: Interview with Kroenke. Intereating stuff.

    Quote Originally Posted by Truth View Post
    Of course, he probably should've thought of that BEFORE he left the team to the blond bimbo.
    My understanding is that there is a 50% widows exemption from inheritance tax in California, which is why Carroll left the majority of ownership to Georgia. I believe his son Steve only inherited about 5% of the team from his father despite the fact he grew up on football and had a couple of front office jobs with the Colts and the Rams. Georgia nonetheless promptly fired him shortly after ownership transferred. The rest is history.

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