Good marriages make for good employees – even in the NFL
The Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League have instituted a new hiring practice when scouting potential players: it could be called, “meet the wife.”
According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, when the Jaguars interview a player these days, they also connect with his wife, if he’s married, in order to observe the quality of the player’s home life before offering him a contract.
Although it’s an unusual practice for the league, team officials are doing it because they recognize the connection between stable marriages and success in the workplace. Professional football players, like most men, benefit greatly from having a good wife – they tend to be more mature, responsible, and better at their jobs.
Key members of the Jaguars’ front office have come to this position from a variety of perspectives. The team’s new owner, Shahid Khan, is a successful businessman who’s always made it a practice to meet the spouses of his employees and involve them in company retreats. General manager Gene Smith adapted the idea from college football recruiting, where the player’s parents are typically involved, by simply switching the focus from the parents to the player’s wife. And new head coach Mike Mularkey brings a personal conviction about the importance of a good family life.
All of this should come as no surprise. From the beginning, God designed men and women for each other, to be in committed, loving, mutually beneficial marriage relationships. [Genesis 1:26-28; 2:21-24; Matthew 19:3-12] In fact, the only thing before the Fall that God said wasn’t good was for the man to be alone. [Genesis 2:18]
Of course, optimism over the Jaguars’ new marriage-friendly policy needs to be tempered with a bit of realistic caution. Even more than most professional sports, the NFL is big business and the pressure to win can be overwhelming. The corresponding temptation to sign talented but troubled players while overlooking their chaotic personal lives will be hard to resist.
Currently, Jacksonville has one of the least successful teams in the NFL. They’re starting from scratch and rebuilding with a new owner, a new coach, and a new hiring model that connects healthy marriages with success on the field. Here’s hoping they stick to their plan and start winning, thereby encouraging other teams – and other sports – to follow their example.