Philadelphia Eagles Copy All Blacks: May Sell Black Jerseys, But Will It Build Culture?

Please Share.

Graham Henry.PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia Eagles are wearing all black today against the New York Giants. They’ve worn black jerseys before, but this will be the first time they’ve gone all black. This follows a meeting between Eagles’ management and former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry. Henry knows about leading a team in all black – a uniform that can be unsettling to opponents.

But the thing about the All Blacks’ jersey, though, is that it isn’t the color which garners respect… It is the men who wear it and how they play while wearing it. They aren’t the better side on every match day, but their organization and planning and culture are the best.

Screen shot 2014-10-12 at 9.04.24 AM
Eagles Copy All Blacks

The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the best. But if Graham Henry’s visit shows that Chip Kelly wants to be the best, that is a good sign for Philly fans. Much more important than the color of the jersey is an attitude that puts results ahead of everything else.

On the All Blacks website there are videos of players in the gym using iPads to measure how explosively the perform individual reps. That’s not earth-shattering but it is an indication the All Blacks staff is not content with the status quo.

Graham Henry pulled the All Blacks out of half the Super Rugby competition in 2007 for a conditioning window. The idea was to have the players healthy and stronger. It was relatively innovative. It didn’t work. The All Blacks lost in the quarter finals.Allblacks_haka_1932

It seems unlikely that any NFL coach will be able to push the culture of his team too far without revolt from the players, GM, owner or even the fans. Henry, or any coach of the All Blacks, can push things because there are so few organizations that can be considered similar. The culture goes well beyond the jersey. Henry was able to dictate to other New Zealand coaches when players could play. Then, when the result was poor, he was still signed to a contract extension. That isn’t going to happen in American football.

With the All Blacks stepping onto the NFL’s ground in a few weeks, there seems no reason to think that the information sharing between the two sports will slow down.  However, given the gaps in attitudes and cultures, all information shared requires some serious translation.

That’s it for now. Feel free to comment below, please look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@:RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Jaime Loyd, DJ Eberle, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter, Jake Frechette and Declan Yeats, respectively.

About Jake Frechette 125 Articles
Jake Frechette lives outside of Philly, where he is engrossed enough in rugby that he sometimes forgets that when he talks about the Eagles, most people assume he means the NFL flock. He once played both tight head and inside center in the same game, which shows that he is strong, handsome and has nice hair. One of the things he finds most enjoyable in the rugby world is that Andrew Hore is a Hooker and he can't wait until his sons are old enough to giggle at that one with him.