Engineering the composition of a squad in professional team sports has become one of the most crucial aspects of successful team management. Salary caps, player retention, injury and aging athletes are amongst the issues managers face when assembling a competitive team. In modern day sport, most teams are only afforded a small window of opportunity every decade to get things exactly right, so it’s of the utmost importance for teams to optimize this window in order to realize ultimate glory.
Let’s take two teams and analyze how their different approaches to this matter have contributed to their varying success.
Sydney Swans: The Swans won a premiership in 2006, then rebuilt their team and won the premiership again in 2012. With a new coach and only a handful of players who played in both championship teams, this was a remarkable effort, which almost all experts had thought was impossible.
Dallas Cowboys: The last 10 years have been forgettable for the football team they call “America’s team”. They keep spending loads of money on a sinking ship, thinking they are only one or two purchases away from winning a Super Bowl. After a disastrous year in 2012, they will hopefully sweep the floor, starting with their head coach and quarterback, and begin building a new team with the aim of being a serious contender later in the decade.
These two stories make it quite clear that after a period of success a professional sporting team should bring in young players and rebuild their team from the ground up, rather than simply aiming to replace key players. It seems necessary for a team to get worse before they get better.