If you read our weekly Friday Wrap, which comes out this evening, you know we had a Zoom professional development session Wednesday with former NFL PR man Fitz Ollison, who’s run the media side for the Saints, Dolphins, Lions and Broncos as well as the Alliance of American Football during its brief run.
Fitz was brilliant, and he spoke to a handful of college directors and scouts about the value of having a good director of communications that you can really rely on as GM. I wish we could have had him on for a full week of hour-long sessions, but that would have been selfish. Instead, here are a few gems from the two hours he spent with us this week:
- “National (media personalities) are really popular. They have 100,000 Twitter followers, they show up on TV and on Instagram, they are high-profile and get paid a lot of money, and owners listen to these guys. At owners meetings, they bring in national guys and owners like to talk to them. Most owners get their info from owners, and vice versa. (Game) broadcasters benefit (scouts and executives) the most. They understand the game and they know who’s good and bad. They will usually get consulted during the head coach and GM searches.”
- “PR has been a throwaway in the past. It’s not anymore. It’s becoming a vitally important aspect because everything you say and do and every interaction is going to be recorded or reported. You’re a celebrity when you become a personnel guy.”
- “You want a grenade-jumper, someone who is loyal to you. You gotta have a guy you can trust who can tell you when you screwed up. . . A lot of owners, I’ve been in rooms where the owner said, ‘I like my (PR) guy. You’ll learn to like him.’ But if he doesn’t have your back, 100 percent, something could get through. . . If there’s a guy who can help you in terms of media and PR, being on your staff, a loyal guy, get him any way you can.”
- “A lot of people don’t understand the mentality of a billionaire. They don’t deal in the everyday nuances that we deal in. They don’t deal in wants and needs. NFL owners deal in ‘give me’s and ‘get me’s. ‘Give me this’ and ‘get me that.’ And they don’t care. In the grand scheme, for 95 percent of them, they made their money not by being a nice guy. These guys are ruthless businessmen.”
- “When you’re on the road, look at the news of the day and how you would answer the questions that pertain to that. I always feel it’s a disservice that, the moment you become GM, they want to throw you in front of the media. You have to practice it. How would you handle it? Always use the opportunity for other people’s news to benefit your own news. Whatever you do, just be reminded that in this day and age, it lasts forever.”
We’ll talk more about Fitz’s work with us in today’s Friday Wrap. Make sure to register for it if you haven’t already.