Are you ready for some football????
OK, so nobody ever accused Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones of being a lean thinker… but did there's either a “product development” problem (with the product being the new Cowboys Stadium) or a great PDCA opportunity – if they will take advantage of it.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the giant HD scoreboard for the stadium. It's the world's largest screen, but the most interesting feature is that it hangs OVER the field, much the way a scoreboard at a hockey or basketball game would.
The obvious question would be this — well what about punts? Wouldn't 4th down punts possibly hit the bottom of the scoreboard? How high does it have to be?
That question was asked a hundred times during the construction and Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones always denied it would be a problem. He pointed to analysis of how high punts normally went in an NFL game and that there was margin where punts would NOT hit the scoreboard. No problem, insisted Jones.
So what happened during the very FIRST pre-season game? Doink…. see the video.
Jones, in a very classic traditional management approach, did what else? He blamed the PUNTER! No need to look at the system (or look in the mirror) when you can blame somebody else!
Trapasso's punt was ruled a dead ball when it hit the structure, which is 90 feet above the field. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who's been outspoken in his pride for the stadium, said he doesn't anticipate making changes to the video board.
“That's not the point,” Jones said of the possibility of raising the board, via the Dallas Morning News. “How high is high if somebody just wants to sit there and kick straight up?”
Does that pride prevent Jones from being willing to admit he made a mistake? Or might have made a mistake? Cowboys coach Wade Phillips was also convinced that the Titans were “trying” to hit the scoreboard.
The Cowboys' punter doesn't think there is a problem — is this a legitimate difference of opinion? Or, as in many workplaces, does McBriar live in a culture of fear where he'd better not disagree with the boss? Jones is General Manager — making player decisions — in addition to being owner and amateur stadium designer.
Cowboys punter Mat McBriar told the DMN he doesn't anticipate connecting with the scoreboard this season.
“I don't think I'll really get near it,” McBriar said. “If I do, it's a miskick.”
Yep boss, that's a great scoreboard, no problem, great idea boss.
It doesn't seem like there is much of a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle going on here. At what point will the NFL step in and insist that the scoreboard not block punts every game? ESPN reported that the NFL's “competition committee” will meet urgently this week to discuss the issue. If the Cowboys refuse to fix the problem themselves, they'll probably get a solution forced upon them.
League rules say the minimum height is 85 feet and the Cowboys have it set at 90 feet. So it “meets spec” but is it high enough? Seems like it is not.
News reports said that Jones and Cowboys used ONE punter (McBriar, their punter) to gauge how high somebody could kick. His testing showed he could kick 100 feet high, so it sounds like a bad design AND a refusal to think PDCA. It's amazing how stubborn some people can be when they are convinced a design is “right,” it seems. As this article says:
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones helped set the height at 90 feet above the field – 5 feet above the league minimum – even though tests using the team's punter, Mat McBriar, showed he could clear 100 feet. The reasoning behind cutting it close was that during the tests, McBriar was trying to boot it that high, but a regular punt has a lower arc and is usually kicked toward a sideline, not right down the middle.
“I'm not worried about it,” Jones said. “I'm very comfortable that our height on our scoreboard is OK.”
Is Jones a stubborn buffoon or would adjusting the height be an overreaction to a single data point? I guess maybe that's why these pre-season games are like a prototype of sorts? Adjusting the height would add cost, apparently…
The board has to go up to fit the stage for a U2 concert on Oct. 12. The Cowboys could leave it at that new height or they could use that opportunity to put in a system that would let them raise and lower it whenever they want. However, that would add to the price tag of a stadium that's already nearly double its originally projected cost of $650 million.
Do you see dynamics like this in your workplace? What do you think will happen in this case?
Or maybe this is all a brilliant publicity stunt?
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