Blog & Tackle: Leverage and the art of the ‘prom date’ …

January 17, 2008 | Chris Pika

Job searches are conducted all over the country — thousands of them, in fact, every day in complete anonymity. The Baltimore Ravens are searching for a new employee, not in marketing or in ticket sales, but for the very public position of head coach.

Because the position is public and is one of the “faces” of the organization to the outside world, the search is being conducted in public — or as public as it can be without sitting in Steve Bischotti’s office with him and his candidate of choice during the interview.

The job searches we all have gone through in our lives follow the same predictable path – resume sent, phone calls made, interview, offer, two-weeks notice and first day on the new job — if we’re lucky … rejection letter if we’re not.

Most of us haven’t had three different organizations bidding for our services, flying around to interview with national media trailing around and commenting on our every move. What do Jason Garrett, John Harbaugh, Rex Ryan, etc., have that the rest of us don’t? Leverage …

The NFL is first and foremost an ego business at its core. There is a lot of money and power associated with the game’s key players on and off the field. In the case of the current Ravens search (as well as the ones in Atlanta and Washington and maybe Indianapolis and Seattle) is that the job candidate holds all of the leverage over the potential employers.

Let’s put it in terms we all can relate to from our younger years: The teams looking for coaches all come off as the proverbial 18-year-old virgin on prom night who scored the hot cheerleader to go with him to the dance.

Wine them, dine them, show them the facility, meet the VPs, hint at the power and show them the money. Then, produce the contract and get the coach’s agent in the room. Then there is just one little detail left — the coach’s signature — and the balloons and confetti are released from the ceiling.

But, the date with the cheerleader comes with a price. You are always looking over your shoulder at others who are checking her out and trying to keep her from talking to new strangers eager to have the same chance you have.

Regardless of how much you planned it out, she decides to string you and one other eager guy along until she goes back to her old boyfriend, who has whispered promises in her ear the whole time she was shopping around.

So it’s back to the drawing board for the Ravens as they look for a new prom date to come along. The corsage is still in the fridge, the limo is on standby and the photographer is waiting to take the cheesy-years-from-now pictures of the new couple on their way to the big dance.