You see it far too often in sports from the NBA to MLB to the NHL to the NFL and any other professional sports organization. A team does the unthinkable and wins a championship and then the next season their team is so unrecognizable that you can’t even fathom them having a chance to win again. This concept of management has always bothered me and I just don’t get it.
I look at this from the perspective of a fan, because I’m not calling the shots for any of these teams. Yet, I would think it is easy to understand the motto “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.” That statement is common sense, but a general manager or owner have the impression that they have to “make the team better” by making pointless changes.
The Dallas Mavericks surprise run to the 2011 NBA Championship was led by their defense. Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson was the main factors of their run to the title. Then they had key role players like J. J. Barea and Peja Stojakovic played a part in it as well. Championship teams over the course of history have star players and great defense, period. The Mavericks came into the 2012 season thinking they were above the facts, mostly due to their owner Mark Cuban, and changed the look of their team.
The Green Bay Packers went through the same situation this season after winning the Super Bowl the prior season. The loss of Cullen Jenkins and Atari Bigby, mixed with the aging of future Hall of Fame CB Charles Woodson showed the vulnerability of their defense. The team still went 15-1, but when it mattered the most the defense could not help them. Had the team went out and re-signed a force like Jenkins, I easily could have seen them repeat as Super Bowl champions.
As a person in control of a franchise, the mindset should always be to keep the core players in place, while maintaining the chemistry and defense. This is how you win championships at a high rate, just ask the New England Patriots and San Antonio Spurs of the past decade. Look at the teams who have won at a high level on a consistent basis and you see the model to go by. The Mavericks are a prime example of what not to do after winning a championship.